On May 22, 2011, my six-month-old son Camden died. The official cause was SIDS, but that’s just a doctor’s way of saying “We don’t know.” It was and always will be the most devastating and painful thing I’ve experienced. But, it was also 11 years ago. Before this year, I felt I’d dealt with my grief and trauma.
In January, I joined book inc’s Novel Incubator. My planned story idea was sexy yet generic and had nothing to do with my personal experiences. Yet, as I explored the emerging themes and developed my characters, something very unexpected happened. The experiences of my protagonist have a lot in common with my own struggles after my son’s tragic death. No matter how I tried to manipulate and package the plot, the story my heart needed to write came out on the page anyway.
My storyline, my characters, and my fellow Incubator classmates (who have become like family) gave me the courage to think deeply about my experiences and to be comfortable sharing the most vulnerable parts of me.
Often writing is painful and uncomfortable. We struggle to eke out a page and we want to quit. So why do we keep coming back? You know that experience when you read the perfect book at just the right time? That’s my reason why. I show up because one day, my book could be that perfect book that someone’s hurting heart needs to read. It’s been that and more already, for me.
A current Novel Incubator participant, Kayla is an HR Consultant by day and a writer by night (and early morning). She lives in Greenville, SC with her family.