Taking a Pulse on Your Writing


You know, there are all kindsa milestones: Getting married, having babies, having bestselling books, rescuing errant beagles. But I never considered having a heart attack as one of those milestones. I don’t recommend it. I spent this past Wednesday in the ER with one such offender. After rotting in the ER (where I got amazing care), they moved me to a room and did a heart cath – which scared the ever-lovin’ SHIT outta me. But they drugged me so much, that I’m sure I belted out my high school locker combo and my shoe size. The upside was that I didn’t need a stent, so my arteries appear not to have abandoned me. Yay. But now I have a buncho pills that will be hitched to my side for life. Meh. For someone who doesn’t take so much as aspirin, this is a real buzzkill.

I know there’s nothing worse than a reformed anything…ex-smokers (even though I never smoked) and the formerly overweight drive me particularly crazy…but I’m convinced that had I paid attention and taken better care of myself by getting yearly lab tests to measure my cholesterol, I wouldn’t have had this little reminder of my mortality. So if you avoid doing the doctor thang (“I’m too busy,” “I’m fine!”) take note and get thee to the doc and have your labs run. This shit really is a silent killer – or, thankfully, in my case, a silent “Hey, dumbass, take care of yourself.” The alternative is definitely unpleasant.

And it’s the same with writing. It’s so easy for a story to get away from us. Sometimes it’s a good thing because we can go off in directions that we hadn’t considered before. Other times, it’s as bad as ignoring going to the doc for checkups. I’ve been going round and round with one particular author for a couple months now. I think it could really be cool, but I have the distinct feeling she simply doesn’t have a good pulse on what she wants her story to say, so there’s no direction. Just like when the doc says, “Pricey, your enzyme levels just went up again,” (insert Pricey swearing here), your writing is challenging you to check its literary enzymes as well.

You gotta be present at all times, or you may end up with something that requires electricity, a mile’s worth of wires, some bells and a whistle, two paddles slathered with gel, and a brave soul who will yell, “CLEAR!” You are the heart and soul of your story, so be very clear and confident about its direction.

I will say that the ER went very quiet when it was determined that I was, indeed, in possession of a heart. Who knew?

11 Responses to Taking a Pulse on Your Writing

  1. ericjbaker says:

    Yikes, Lynn! I’m sorry you had to go through that but am glad it wasn’t a lot worse.

  2. Priscilla Turner says:

    All the very best, Lynn. Modern medicine is wonderful, mostly beats the alternative.

  3. Hugs on the heart attack, and ROFL at the last line!

  4. Thanks, all. My new hurdle is putting up with how these drugs make me feel. Meh.

  5. bollow says:

    Lynn, Wasn’t your last post “Listen to Your Inner Voice”? Anyway, soo glad you’re better and still fluttering. This coulda been a late birthday present. Best wishes – Ludmilla

  6. Actually, Ludmila, my inner voices had been hounding me for the past year, and I ignored them. Guess I needed a bigger kick in the butterks.

  7. pjcolando says:

    so very ‘heart’ened that you are well, Lynn

  8. Val says:

    Lynn, I can only imagine how scared you were. Glad you are fine and doing well.

  9. Thanks, Val. Let’s just say it got my attention.

  10. Donna O. says:

    How scary. Glad to hear they treated you well…and that you didn’t need the stent!

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