Creative Grief

08 April 2024


Above: Paperback copies of my novel, The Way of the Wielder, on a wooden bookshelf next to a vase of Gerber daises.

April 8, 2024


The Way of the Wielder, book three: I’ve topped 100,000 words in this work in progress (WIP), and I’m relatively pleased with how it’s turning out. I anticipate completing part 2 of the story within the next week, which will bring me to about 2/3 of the way through the first draft.

Reminder: The Way of the Wielder is live!

In case you missed it, The Way of the Wielder is now available on Amazon!

If you want to learn more about the book before buying it, including a sneak peek at chapter one, check out my recent newsletter.

Also, if you are kind enough to give my book a read, please don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Thank you in advance for your support!

Creative Grief

On March 26, I published The Way of the Wielder. It was an exciting day! A smile was practically plastered on my face, and I didn’t hesitate telling everyone I talked to about it (even the helpful associate at the eye doctor’s office).

But beside that excitement was another strange phenomenon. One that, I’m told, many creatives experience at the end of a project. I felt it in the days leading up to the book’s release, and have felt it since. This phenomenon is known as “creative grief”.

What is Creative Grief?

At its simplest definition, grief is an emotional reaction to loss. While it is most often associated with death, grief can also be associated with a loss of identity or purpose.

Creatives—writers, artists, musicians, etc.—can spend months, even years, working on a project. We pour ourselves into it, exchanging our attention and energy for the sustenance that creative endeavor gives us.

But what happens when it’s complete? Psychologist Natasha Frome, who is quoted in an article titled, What do you do when a project ends? We explore creative grief and how to deal with it, says it best:

“In relation to a creative project, it can be a loss of identity or purpose when you’ve put a lot of energy into a project or piece of work. Once it’s gone from your life or it’s out in the world, you’ve lost control of it. You’ve lost connection to a part of yourself… This sense of loss can leave you feeling empty and with a void in your life.”

I spent three and a half years writing The Way of the Wielder. During that time, that story consumed a large part of my life. Other things vied for my attention—like my job (back when I was working in public relations) and the other stories I wrote—but The Way of the Wielder was always there, calling me back, demanding my focus. I poured my heart and soul into that story, so much so that it became a vital part of who I was. Writing it—bringing it to life, nurturing it, cherishing it—was my sole purpose. For three and a half years.

So, what happened once it was published?


Once March 26 arrived, I knew there was no going back. From then on, Jaslan and Jack would no longer belong to just me. They would meet new people (readers), and their story would be judged by the masses of this world that can—at times—be altogether too harsh. I told myself I was ready to let them go. A part of me was, but a deeper part of me wasn’t.

I felt lost. For three and a half years that story lived within me, or in the hard drive of my computer where only I could read it. But once it was out in the world, no longer in my control, my heart was empty. My soul ached. I missed Jaslan and Jack, more than I can explain. Maybe more than I should admit. It doesn’t matter that their story continues on, that part of their story is now “set in stone”. And while I didn’t expect to change anything else, the finality of that weighs heavily on my heart.

This heaviness is creative grief. I felt it in the days leading up to publishing, and I still feel it now—nearly two weeks later.

Moving On

Perhaps letting a fantasy story become so enmeshed with my identity was a bad idea. Then again, maybe it wasn’t. I wanted to write a story with heart; where emotions were vivid and tangible; with characters that were relatable and developed enough for readers to consider them friends. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I stayed on the sidelines.

If I truly wanted a story that touched the minds, hearts, and souls of readers, I would have to give parts of my mind, heart, and soul to do it. To reference my favorite anime, that’s the Law of Equivalent Exchange.

This creative grief will pass. Periods of grief always do. But everyone grieves in different ways, and at their own speed. There is no right path to accepting that something is gone—all we can do is travel along the path that works for us, and know that it will eventually come to an end.

In the meantime, I’ll be gentle with myself. I’ll allow myself to feel these emotions, and maybe learn from them. After all, there are more stories to write, and I have a lot of heart to give.


Thanks for reading! Until next time, be well, and stay creative.