Writing Tip: Take The Plunge

Swim season finally started over here yesterday, and my eldest was not too thrilled about it. And quite frankly, I had a hard time showing my enthusiasm for this. I know. Bad mom. But we’re talking three nights of practice a week, 1 1/2 hours long. 1 1/2 hours in a stuffy, humid indoor pool with a four-year-old and six-year-old who want to be anywhere but there.

But this time commitment really translates into 2 1/2 hours for one night of swim practice when you factor in the commute time and changing time. And this doesn’t count the three plus hour weekly swim meets that start in December. Not only is this a big commitment on my daughter’s part, it’s also a huge family commitment. Four days…

So when nine-year-old expressed doubt about the team over the past week, I was a bit thrown off. Sure, I’d love to have the free time for other things, but I also didn’t want to teach my child that she can quit whenever she feels like it. Also, I think it’s important that girls have a sport they enjoy so they can keep active, fit, confident, disciplined and out of trouble. And if they are on a sports team, even better. Hopefully, they’ll be too tired out to cause any trouble. Hopefully.

The problem was solved when nine-year-old found out some new friends were going to be on this Winter League. Suddenly, my child looked forward to those practices because she knew they would be fun. So last night, nine-year-old was raring to go, pushing me to get moving and out the door since she didn’t want to be late. Somehow, I found that rather amusing.

I thought about this some more, and it just hit me on the side of my head…sometimes you need change to make a situation better. I know. Kind of a duh! moment, but seriously, doesn’t it make some sense?

I’ve had a few manuscripts where I was loathe to change much of anything, and they really aren’t that good. But the couple I’ve changed, I mean really changed, thanks to my critique group…from POV, to character personalities, to plot…these manuscripts are the ones I’ve found to be exciting and hopeful.

And if I think about the times I’ve had writer’s block, and then out of frustration wrote something unexpected for the character, new life was brought onto the pages. Maybe not always good, but at least it got me thinking again.

What I offer you today is simply this: Take the plunge. Make some changes. Actually…before you make the changes, make a copy to go back to, just in case. But what’s the worse that can happen? You waste a little time and decide it wasn’t worth it. Though I have a feeling, most likely, you’ll be thrilled with the new prospect of all the possibilities out there. Go ahead. Take the plunge.

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Vivian Lee Mahoney

Consider yourself warned: I write books about rebels. I'm also a postergirlz for readergirlz, a literary advisory group for teens. Who knew going back to the teenage years would be so rewarding?

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