Having a new bicycle that allows me to ride comfortably has been fun for me this last week. Since I just bought it on clearance, I have been taking advantage of the unseasonably warm October weather practically every day. On Saturday, my husband and I went on a bike trail and rode about 12 miles. Not having ridden more than a couple of miles for quite a while, muscles I forgot existed screamed at me, from my torso down through my shins afterward. At the same time, I feel better knowing that at least I am building back muscle and hopefully taking off inches. Well, I thought my jeans felt a little looser, but that could be wishful thinking.
How is exercise, or in this case riding a bike, like writing? Even if you haven’t written in awhile, you can pick up a pen or start tapping away on the keyboard and the lapsed writer often finds they will be pouring their heart out on the page or starting that story which has been rattling around in their head. It’s a freeing experience.
However, to become more skilled at writing, one has to practice. As you learn how to better develop character and plot, and complete your first, second or third novel, the process becomes easier, because it’s more familiar. It’s not that there aren’t difficulties to overcome along the way, but the more you write the more you learn.
When I first seriously started attempting full-length fiction writing, I was concerned whether writing was worth the time it took away from more important things, such as time with family. I was homeschooling my sons and that kept me busy. Writing was a luxury for me. My first completed novel manuscript, an angst-filled historical women’s fiction, wasn’t received by the publishing world with as much acclaim as I’d hoped. The pile of paper now sits in a dark file, where it shall remain. Did the fact that the story didn’t sell mean it was a waste of time?
No! That first completed manuscript was a huge learning experience, I learned much about writing, including the fact that I could finish writing a manuscript! The more I write, the more I learn. It’s important to keep writing. If you haven’t made time for writing lately, make that time today, even if it’s for 15 minutes. Often you’ll find that 15 minutes will turn into a half hour or more. You might just write gibberish to start, but that’s okay, you’re practicing.
And if you ask my hubby, he’ll tell you I need a little more practice with the bike riding. Ten miles into our ride on Saturday I put on the brakes too late, bumped the front tire on a park bench and took a tumble. Ouch! I have the skinned knee to prove it. Of course, I had to get back on that bike and ride back to where we parked the car. If you’re in a difficult spot in your writing, pick up that notebook and pen, and start writing again. It’s the only way to build your writing muscles!
What keeps you in the writing habit? Please leave a comment to be entered in this month’s drawing for a $15 Barnes and Noble gift card. Thank you for stopping by today.