Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Writing Tip: In Which I Escape...

from the slump I'm in.  

Call it the winter doldrums, middle age crisis, the endless repetition of life, the gatekeeper of children whose future teenage spirits pop up at a moment's notice, writers block, fear my protagonist won't figure out a way to persevere. It could be teenage angst, a bully, false friends, school troubles, screams of gossip that follow you down the halls.


It goes by many names and goes under different guises. Perhaps it's the well-meaning parent that suffocates us with good intentions, the friend who wants to keep you hostage, having everything and believing nothing, the mind changer, the time waster, the boyfriend who won't let go. Maybe it's your fear of going away to college, having nothing in the wealth of somethings, leaving your old life to start anew, being afraid to do the right thing, wanting desperately to fit in with a group who makes it clear there is no way you will ever be given entry, even if you were the last person on earth. 

Despair is clever and moves with the lithe maneuverings of an elite covert operation. It invades us, creeping in when we least expect it, isolating us until our wails melt away, holding us down by our limbs, submerging our heads in the comfort of misery, choking us with excuses 




and so what, 


And no matter how we struggle, despair is even stronger, and we sink even lower because no one hears us or sees us or believes us. 

Soon we are zombies living the life despair dug for us, created by others, validated by us.

Except some thread of an idea, a kindness from a friend, a taunt from an enemy, an unexpected call, a memory of an empowered you, the hope of faith whispers so you lean forward to hear it, loosening the ropes that bind you down, transforming into the very lifeline that will pull you out of the muckery that has become your life. 

Are you brave enough to grab on to it? And sweat to pull yourself, inch by inch, out of the the quicksand? Do you dare to survive, dare to dream for a future, live?

Hold on to the  confusion, the fear, the despair, the conflict, the possibilities, the belief, the faith, the dream. 

The conflict. Can you see it? Feel it? Hear it? Smell it? Taste it? 


Write it down.  Build it up, layer by layer. Your characters are going to love you for it.  


Beth Kephart said...

Excellent. We all need to see this, because we all do feel this way — the life is not fair, the I am nothing.

We're out here hoping you're okay, too, Vivian.

beckylevine said...

Beautiful. It's a miserable emotion, all the more so BECAUSE it's the very thing that stops us from getting out of it. But coming out of it is so important, because--often--it is INTERNAL and we need the things happening in the EXTERNAL to show us the other side. Hang in there. Hope it's getting better.

Nowheymama said...

Hello! I miss you!

Vivian said...

Aww. You guys totally rock. I'm amping up the conflict in the revised BIG scene and my protagonist is totally in my head. She's taking me to places I didn't know I could write about.

Calliope said...

Man, you nailed this one. Raw power.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I'm so glad you're back!

I'm glad your characters can benefit from your despair, but I'm so sorry you had to GO there...I hope the next weeks are better.

PJ Hoover said...

Getting to this place with characters is so hard, and man, I admire you for doing it! I can't wait to read the results.
Welcome back!

Jennifer said...

AMAZING post, Vivian. Truly. Thank you.

Barrie said...

Which all goes to prove that writing is not always fun!