How to Save Yourself From Drowning


Do you know how it feels to drown?

It’s harrowing, yes, but pleasant.

Living is equal parts astonishing and fucking hard.

Drowning, releasing gradually, requires nothing.


The Drowning

It was done.

At eight-years-old, equipped with a No. 2 pencil and a five-subject notebook, I labored over a manuscript. Stories and creations filled the pages of my notebook.

“Hmn, how do I publish this?”

No second-guessing. No what ifs.

Just a kid with a vocabulary beyond their age, free time, and admiration for good writing. I ordered every writing manual I could find. Pages of half-scribbled ideas parqueted the floor.

On Writing Well lay splayed open to a meticulously annotated section. Red for unnecessary adjectives. Yellow for poor dialogue. Green for errors I didn’t have a name for but just didn’t sound right to my well-trained eight-year-old ear.

Find an agent.

Send a query letter to publishers.

Edit ruthlessly.

Follow Hemingway’s rules of simplicity and style.

Weeks passed before I finalized my query letter to Scholastic. Their rejection letter knocked me on my ass. Summed up in two words: more practice.


I have blood on my hands, and it happens to be mines.Twitter


I have blood on my hands, and it happens to be mines. My fragile eight-year-old ego buried the writer under pragmatism and convenience and fear.

The writer within, though they shone through on my exams and anchored my college application with a glowing personal statement, appeared occasionally.

The problem with dying is that you have to get it right the first time, otherwise, you return with vengeance.



The Gasp

My toes scrunched against burnt sienna carpet.

Oprah’s nightly special featured Tony Robbins. I watched him saunter down the aisle in front of hundreds of people. His raspy voice boomed to a captivated audience. Their eyes shone with a vitality I had never seen before.

He hooked his microphone on his ear. “Success is doing what you want, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.

A wave of admiration lifted the audience like Lazarus.

Tony soothed. He mended. He gave life, and I want to do the same.

That it said.

It wasn’t an unignorable scream. It was barely audible like the near-defeated child inside pleading through a strained soul, warning me.

For a moment, your childhood returns. You trust the process. You are that person, you can do that thing, you have that wish. You and your dream are one.

That’s what you’re searching for. That peak experience of bliss.

After experiencing it, anything less feels like a low-budget holograph of reality.

Cynics claim that we’ve abandoned hard work. I argue otherwise. We focus and toil on corrupted dreams.


War is a dream just as much as peace likewise poverty and prosperity.Twitter


War is a dream just as much as peace likewise poverty and prosperity. The distinction is that we’ve been convinced that war and poverty are more ‘realistic’.

A dream allowed Martin to visit the mountaintop. A dream fueled rockets to the moon. A dream created the lightbulb and the iPhone. A dream created you.

True dreams, the worthwhile ones, never die.

Reassurances of ‘someday’ or ‘tomorrow’ won’t placate them.

Dreams know no time.

Curse your circumstances as you pull in to your job on another Monday morning. Avoid leaping with faith and burning the ships. Tread water instead of swimming.

You know where that’ll get you.



fuck! . . . God, like this? . . . struggle . . . breathe then gasp . . . so much . . . blind flashes . . . surrender . . . stringent sea water . . . the blue abyss . . .

3 AM. Damp cotton clings to my chest. I heave salty breaths.

My dreams do not go gentle into that good night.

Yours won’t either.


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What dreams have you killed? Which ones are grasping for air? Comment, like, and share for more unparalleled content.  Buy me a coffee if you’re feeling generous.

Elina McGill. Life coach. Visionary. Rebel.

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Elina McGill

Elina is a recovering cynic and personal development addict, living a soul mission in three acts. Their soul mission is to awaken self-knowledge in others through writing, one-up their fears, and realize that it was all a dream. They like their enlightenment served with a side of hedonism and corner brownies.
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