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Have You Kissed a Mountaintop Without Trudging Up Its Slopes? #IWSG

Yaks carrying their burden

Trudging Up the Mountain

The following post is for Insecure Writers Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

This is a picture taken by my dad, somewhere upwards of Nepal, on some off-the-map stretch of Tibet during his trek in the Himalayas, where the hourglass turns at a different pace, and the air is rare and thin. The Yaks make those bundles look small, but I’m sure they feel the weight just the same. Just as I do, writing chapter after chapter of my WIP. A lot of writers I meet online and off say that they enjoy writing. For me, I enjoy having written. And right now I feel the weight of all those unwritten chapters, and the air around me seems thin.

Prayer flags in the Himalayas where the hourglass is slow

Prayer flags in the Himalayas

What I need, is to let go. Not of the writing, no; but of my ingrained instinct for perfection. I’ve been studying rewrites and editing for fiction classes I do with kids, and that seems to have rubbed off on me. I can let my inner perfectionist loose when I do rewrites. Not now, during the first draft.

Right now is the time to let my soul take flight, like these prayer flags from my Dad’s camera on that same trip. They seem to reach for that obscured peak, losing none of their colorful exuberance in the process. There is more than one way to climb a mountain, they seem to whisper to the winds. On some days,  you can kiss a mountain’s top without trudging up its slopes. Let the breeze bear you up, all you have to do is let yourself float.

Have You Kissed a Mountaintop Without Trudging Up Its Slopes?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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10 Comments

  • Thanks for visiting today Damyanti. Love the look of your blog. You’ve gone very minimalist. So you go write. I’m really not blogging much until next January. I’m getting my new NaNo novel done, then editing. See you when you come back!
    Love the Nepalese photos and I love the imagery of the prayer flags.:D

    • Damyanti says:

      Denise, thanks :). You usually visit my other blog at http://amloki.blogspot.com, so I’m wondering whether your comments are based on that. the look of this blog hasn’t changed in the last (almost) 5 years. Sometimes I wonder if that is a good thing.

  • marymtf says:

    You say that you ‘enjoy having written’. I feel the same (for me it’s aritcles and short pieces). Once you’ve finished with the agonising process of creation you can lean back on your laurels for a moment and believe the birthing process wasn’t so bad. I agree with you about not aiming for perfection the first time round. If you’re talking novel writing I imagine that stop-starting would drive you demented. But then again many of us rewrite notes to the milkman or our child’s teacher. It’s a hard habit to break.

    • Damyanti says:

      For a chronic perfectionist like me, slapping together the first draft is torture. But it must be done! Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.

  • I have a hard time with finding a happy medium between letting myself write/edit later and trying for perfection the first time (as if it can ever be achieved at all. LOL). Great, thought-provoking post! 🙂

  • “I enjoy having written” – yes! That’s why the first draft drives me crazy. I just want it done.

    • Damyanti says:

      MY first drfats don’t drive me nuts, not unless I’ve paused for a while. I paused for a bit on the 17th Chapter, but now I’m on the 19th, so hopefully I’ll sail home now.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    Yes I think I know what you’re talking about. I’ve had things pretty easy in my life and I want writing to work out in the same way. The view from the top is much more relaxing when you don’t have to almost kill yourself to get there.

    • Damyanti says:

      I’d rather climb it over again in my re-writes — be the intellectual then. Right now, I’m letting my imagination buffer me up, lee. I need to climb the whole mountain again, write this several times, but the first time can be a flight of fancy, and not drudgery.

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