Writing friend Merry Muhsman guest blogs with this delightful piece on Encouragement.
My cousin’s daughter trembled in my arms, bobbing up and down as the wave rolled by us.
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
Her skis split apart, even as I wrapped my arms beneath her legs and pulled her close to my chest. I knew she was thinking she’d do the splits in the water. Maybe even get pulled under water by the boat.
“You can do this,” I whispered in her ear as someone had in my own ear so many times before. “Let the boat pull you up. Keep your knees bent. And just lean back a little.” She nodded, and just shook more.
“Most importantly,” I reminded her. “Remember to let go of the rope.”
Teaching her to water-ski reminded me of my own journey with writing. They are surprisingly similar.
When I was young, I hated water-skiing. Everyone in my family could ski. It was some sort of rite of passage. For me, it was downright terrifying. I was scared of the pull of the boat, and I let go of the rope as soon as my Dad accelerated. I suppose I thought my arms would rip from their sockets or something silly. Or my life jacket wouldn’t hold me and I would drown. I did everything I could to get out it.
Feigned sick. Waves too big. Ate too much at lunch. Water is cold. Anything.
Sometimes I have the same problem with writing. Some days I have trouble sitting in front of the computer to edit my work again. What if it’s rejected? What if it’s not good enough? What if someone hates it?
I find reasons not to try. It’s just too hard. Too much to do. Weeds in the garden. Laundry to fold. Gosh, that closet needs to be cleaned out. Oh, I love that movie.
Sometimes in my journey to water ski, I got burned. Burned because I forgot to let go of the rope. It’s probably the most important lesson of skiing. If you feel like you’re going to fall, let go of the rope or you’ll have a nasty red lash on your skin. I had at least a couple before I figured out the magic trick of just letting go.
I also had to learn to let go with my writing.
Once, when I was trying to create buzz for my novel, I sent some books to reviewers, knowing they would be honest. I had to trust my book could stand on its own.
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