Sunday, January 24, 2010

3 Ways that Writing and Extreme Skiing are Alike

Lately, I've been reading these wonderful and helpful posts with numbered bullet points, and thought I would try one myself. The last few nights my family and I have watched pieces of a Warren Miller film showcasing extreme skiing and snowboarding, so with that in mind, and the feeling I've been having about my story, "True Love's Gifts," here goes.

3 Ways that Writing and Extreme Skiing are Alike

1. You want to start with the right equipment.

No one wants to be caught in the snow in shorts, unless it's spring skiing season or that person is a extremely crazy Alaskan skiier. Having warm clothes, waxed, sharp-edged skis, and a helmet are a good way to start a ski day.

When writing, we need to have writing utensils like pen and paper, or a computer and a power source, an imagination, and some writing guides for helpful hints when it comes to tricky grammar, and technique.

Technical guides are like the helmet that protects us when we fall. I should probably start wearing a helmet more often.

The imagination is like those waxed, sharp-edged skis.

The warm clothes are like the basic writing utensils. I'm not sure if there is an equivalent to the spring skiing in shorts for writing utensils.

2. You have to get to the top of the hill. This can be done in three different ways: helicopter, chairlift, or hiking.

For writing, those hills we have to surmount are: fear, time, and high expectations.

Fear is a tough hill to climb, and I climb it every day with my writing. There are many different fears, and I feel that they are adequately described in Joanna Young's blog Confident Writing in her post, "Writing Superheroes."

Time is hard to make for yourself as a writer, and at the same time easy. How many minutes do we spend watching tv, sifting through old e-mail, waking up slowly over a cup of joe? We can find the time to write.

High expectations are also tough hills for me. I need a helicopter ride for this one. However, as David Turnbull, Barefoot Geek, and guest post writer at Write to Done this last week wrote in his post "3 Simple Tips to Effortless Writing," we need to "Ease the Pressure."

3. You have to be willing to jump off the cliff, ski through the moguls, and try a few tricks.If you aren't falling, you aren't learning.

The sensation of jumping off a cliff into the unknown often accompanies my writing. It seems like sometimes I know from the moment I jump that I am going to make the landing, or that I won't. Sometimes, however, I'm just falling and I'm not sure if I will land, or break my legs.

Getting through tough plotting moments in my writing and not allowing my characters to take me down a side trail are kind of like skiing through a field of moguls. I want to ride on the top of them, not get stuck in the valleys between them.

Writing exercises and writing characters or stories outside of my comfort zone are like trying tricks on my skis. I admit I'm not really an extreme skier, but I do have these really cool short skis and I try to do jump turns, spins and things like that. On more than one occassion, I've tumbled head over heels down the slope, or scooped up snow with the back of my jacket. This leads me to that last point.

Falling down and getting up are part of learning to ski, or learning to write. Every time I fall down, I have the opportunity to learn and get up. If I don't fall, I haven't pushed the envelope hard enough to learn anything.

Or as one of my favorite Christian bands, Superchick!, says "If I get up, I might fall back down again . . . So get up anyway."

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