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.
Whatever.
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 

lifeisnotfair 
and

iamnothing  
and so what, 

itjustdoesn’tmatterbecauseican’tchangeanythinganyway.  
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? 
Now.  
Write it down.  Build it up, layer by layer. Your characters are going to love you for it.  
 
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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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