4 Tips For Writing About Grief

Grief is a universal human experience. If you have or are currently grieving, whether you’ve said goodbye to a person, a relationship, a beloved pet, or a way of life, you’ll know grief can cause feelings of isolation and hopelessness. To process your emotions, consider a creative outlet. If you’re a poet, here are some tips to help you write through grief. 


Talk with others


Combat loneliness and fuel your writing by connecting with friends and family. If you’re grieving someone, talk with your loved ones about your emotions — these conversations can lead to creative inspiration. Shared memories once forgotten or the shared pain you’re experiencing, for example, can spark themes for a poem. 


Read collections that explore grief


One of the best ways to inspire your writing is to read, read, read. Create a list of a few poetry collections that explore grief. Since these collections are likely emotionally challenging to read, finish them at your own pace. Rushing through collections, despite their potentially shorter length, can be overwhelming. Take your time, and take notes — how do these collections explore the different facets of grief? How do these poets find the light at the end of the tunnel? What metaphors do they use to illustrate the complex experience of grieving? Reading others’ experiences and stories of how life gets better even when grieving can provide you with a sense of hope and perseverance. 


Create a grounding, joyful space to write in


Your environment can either inspire you or leave you creatively blocked and distracted. Because you’re writing about grief, counterbalance this daunting experience by writing in a grounded, joyful space. Whether you add a few calming design elements like plants, crystals, or candles, a piece of art, or a nostalgic item that brings up happy memories, with a little work, you can create a space where you’ll feel safe processing your grief through writing poetry. Also, since music can inspire a calming atmosphere, be sure to curate a playlist of your favorite grounding songs that you can stream. For additional inspiration, check out our guide on how to design an inspiring writing space


Find inspiration from writing prompts


If you want to write about your grief but are unsure where to start, find inspiration from writing prompts. Consider the following suggestions: 


  • If you’re reflecting on a previous season of grieving, write several poems about the stages of grief you experienced. 
  • Write about your gratitude for the individual or way of life you’re grieving.
  • In a poem, explore a specific memory or inside joke you both shared.
  • Anger, depression, and frustration often accompany grief—feel free to process all of your emotions through writing.
  • Let nature inspire your writing—what lessons does the natural world teach us about grief? Spend some time outdoors, taking note of how seasons change. 


As you write, remind yourself grieving is a dynamic process that looks different for everyone. Your grief-inspired writing, just like your grief experience, doesn’t need to sound or feel like another’s. For even more inspiration on processing your emotions through poetry, reference our blog on how to write poetry about mental health.


If you or a loved one is grieving these resources may help process your loss.