When Life Gives You Lemons – Write About It

I was in Minnesota this weekend, for my grandma’s funeral.

She was 94, and died with my cousins, aunt, and uncle with her, loving her on her way out.

And although she had a good run, I am still brought low with grief.

So you know what I’ve been doing?

I’ve been writing my buns off.

You see, keeping a journal is how I metabolize my life.

Ever notice how stuff happens to you, and you need to kinda chew on it awhile, so that you can digest it?

Writing is a great way to do that.


Writing can be your anchor in this crazy world.

When life’s storms toss you around, you can fight back by picking up a pen and a blank book and telling yourself a story about it.

It doesn’t really matter what you write.

What matters is that you get the words out of you.

They don’t even need to be the right words.

Because if you show up and stick with it, the right words will show up for you.

Those of you who love writing as much as me know what I’m talking about.

If you don’t think of yourself as a ‘writer’ or don’t feel totally comfortable expressing yourself in writing, hear me when I say that there’s a remedy for that.

Show up, sit down, and write.

Spend time writing, and things will start to shift.


I gave the eulogy at my grandma’s funeral.

It wasn’t perfect, but I know how to take what I’m feeling and put it into words.

You know how I got good at that?

I practiced by writing to myself.

A lot of it wasn’t very good.

Doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you show up and make room in your week to ask yourself, “What’s my take on what’s going on? What can I take from that and use to make my life even better?”


What I’m advocating here isn’t ‘writing for the public’ – although it could turn into that.

What I’m proposing is that you start simple, with low stakes and lots of room to do it wrong.

Sidebar: there is no wrong when it comes to writing to yourself.


One of the side effects of writing to yourself is that you find better words to express yourself with other people. You break away from the ‘regular’ way of saying things… and begin to develop your own way of saying things – clear, unique to you, and from that deep still point in your own core.

You can find that spot when you write to yourself.

Or, more accurately: that spot reveals herself to you when you write to yourself.

Yoo-hoo! She winks and waves. I’m over here!


If you’ve had a writing practice in the past, and it’s weaseled away from you, is now the time to begin again?

If your life feels limp or you aren’t sure which way to go next, have you considered mining your experience so far for nuggets and clues on the scavenger hunt that is being alive?

If you think of yourself as a terrible writer, is this the day when you get curious about whether that is a made up story… and set out to see if you can make up a different, more useful one?

Onward and upward.

Stella Orange teaches her clients how to effectively market their business by telling a better story in their marketing— the story of the hero answering the call to more. A professional copywriter whose writing has generated millions of dollars in sales, Stella knows that the story we tell in our marketing matters a whole lot, because on a fundamental level, it shapes how people think about themselves and what’s even possible for them. Three times a month, Stella hosts a 90-minute Shut Up And Write session via videoconference for members of her Write Club community. She is based in Buffalo, New York, where she lives with her husband, the Philosopher, and their dog, Chachi. Get a copy of Stella’s position paper The New Marketing: How to Create Clients Without Feeling Gross, Icky or Manipulative at www.stellaorange.com/newmarketing.

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