Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Double Vision

by Laura Mahal

I'll admit the writing has been difficult of late. It's summer. Hot one, isn't it? Hard to find the time. Why isn't year round school an option for those of us with children? Why?

There are days that my research really brings me down. Peopleand by that I mean kidsdie every day for having what my main character has: heart, soul, and confusion as to how much to share regarding their gender identity. Teen suicide is tragic, and I absolutely must take a stand.

American Psychological Association

Though the research takes me into dark places, I'm trying to preserve hope and light . . . To show others a way out.

We writers have got to exercise due diligence. We must respect our characters and the larger world they represent. There's a lot of pressure to write what is real, and to get it right, because there is no choice.

Sometimes, it's enough to bring on double vision. Words blur. Eyes blink. Tears come anyway, salty and insistent.

I'm sure many of us face the same questions daily. 

Why did I take up this profession? Why did I write this book, anyway?

There is only one answer. It had to be written.

"Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action!" — Desmond Tutu 

My novel is as done as it can be at this point. I have three requests from literary agencies and one from a publishing house. Why am I still hanging on to my manuscript? I'll go ahead and say it. An overabundance of caution. That baby bird isn't ready to fly! Another week in the nest can't hurt. 

I bought time by hiring a content editor and she was fabulous. She offered suggestions to take the story up a notch. That's what I'm working on now. Making this book great, so my words will resonate with readers. But part of me doesn't want the experience to end. 

One of my fellow Northern Colorado Writers likes to say, "This sh*t IS real!"

Yeah, it is. We must write, even when it is hard. Only then will our characters live.

I've seen this theme developing in recent The Writing Bug blog posts. It's on our minds. So I offer a few of my own coping strategies:

H2O is especially important in this heat.


Cups of tea, mugs of coffee, glasses of wine, or pints of beer, I realize that goes without saying for many of you. Just remember to drink water, too. It hydrates your brain. A wet brain is good. Don't let yours dry up.

No matter how noisy those 3 a.m. ideas might be.


Naps are underrated. Invest in mini brain-reboots. Snooze for a while, then wake up ready to finish that elusive scene. Dialogue is much easier to get right when one's mind is at ease.

Don't expect me to meow. It's too hot.


Pet a cat, or a dog, until purring / full tummy offering is achieved. You can purr, but keep your tummy to yourself. That's close to your solar plexus chakrathe center of your self-confidence and willpower. You'll need that willpower to get up and finish your book (whenever you are done rolling around on your back and purring, of course).

Ticklish! But don't stop!


Keep going. At the very moment you are struggling, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of fellow writers are also struggling . . . with writer's block, identity crises, marketing woes, or word bank deficits. More so, we are struggling with being humanhealth challenges, relationship worries, and existential as well as real-world concerns about the state of our nation.

Write on. We are all in this together.

Additional resources:

Remember to Hydrate!
Recharge by napping
Reasons you should pet a pet


Janetta Messmer said...

Thanks for sharing such a timely post. Helpful in so many ways. And, yes, we DO have to write. Blessings on you & your writing. PS: let your little bird go! :)

shenke said...

You are always so spot on with what I'm thinking in the moment- I was just describing my ritual in the morning with jasmine green tea to another writer and she has committed to trying something like this for her writing and she just reported that she got through an entire week and loves the process! So, cheers to drinking and persevering until you finally land where the books are written!

Laura Mahal said...

Hi, Janetta and Sheala. Thank you for your feedback and kind words. It is a truism that life can be hard. I take that back. Life WILL be hard. But we writers are given a unique privilege to ease the path for others, with our words as a light to guide the way. Or sometimes, as a meandering path that allows folks to run away for a while, to retreat into an alternate universe. Whatever we do, it is a privilege, but it can feel burdensome. Thanks for reaching out. It is good to "share the load." And, Janetta, I'm happy to report that I've sent my manuscript out into the world! It's a flying on stable wings :-)

April Moore said...

Beautifully said, Laura. Sometimes I think we forget (or don't even consider) the impact of our words. We often think our only job is to entertain, and for some, that may be true. However, I think we should not only recognize, but embrace the power we possess to influence, support, and inspire. It starts with speaking from the heart to an audience (or even one audience member) who needs to hear it. I can't wait to read your book, Laura!

Janetta Messmer said...

I'm so happy you've sent it on its way! Blessings!

Laura Mahal said...

Thanks, Janetta and April. I suppose I might overthink the impact of my work on others, but it's certainly a responsibility I take seriously. Somehow, I've never felt the need to have millions or even thousands of followers. I just want my writing to land in the hands of those readers who need it. It seems like the universe will one day align to make this so . . . I believe that.

I also know I'm the one who has to make this happen--the words won't magically print and bind themselves, nor appear on the shelves of indie bookstores without first passing through the hands of an agent or editor. I'm now at the stage of, "Hey, I've written a book." (Two, actually.) I've edited it, had beta readers, even a content review. So, why not start querying?

As one final step, I've submitted my manuscript to Pitch Wars (along with 3,132 other optimistic writers) and hope I might be paired with a mentor who is in the industry. I'm new to this gig, and could use the expert guidance. This is the benefit of belonging to a writing organization, right? We are here for one another. We're all part of the same community.

Thanks for having my back, friends! I've got yours as well. :-)

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