I went skiing a couple of weeks ago for the first time.
Okay, well it wasn’t exactly the first time. I went skiing once a billion years ago. The mountain in my hometown had a special every Martin Luther King, Jr. Day so allllll the kids from my high school would go. Which made for an extremely crowded mountain. With some help from a friend on the ski team, I made it down the slope a few times, all the while petrified that one of the hundreds of kids flying down the mountain would take me out. Later that day, a young girl broke her back and was airlifted to the local hospital.
I never skied after that.
Until this year.
Adults pretty much know what they can do and what they can’t do. And most of us tend to stick to the things we can do…and we generally cling to the things we’re good at. I know I do! I absolutely love feeling accomplished and talented. And I try to eliminate anything that doesn’t make me feel that way.
So when I put on my sister’s ski gear, feeling incredibly uncomfortable and not at all like myself, I knew that I was in for a rude awakening.
But I kept going. I stepped forward, one giant weird ski boot at a time.
I took a lesson. First we walked around the snow in our boots. Then we put on one ski. And we added the other ski. We learned how to side step. And finally we slid down a little tiny hill.
Each part of the process made me really anxious. I didn’t want to fall down. I didn’t want to look like a jerk in front of the rest of my group, even though I didn’t know the majority of them (and they looked just as awkward as I felt). And I didn’t want to continue unless I could look like Lindsey Vonn.
Of course, falling down, looking like a jerk, and acting like an amateur are all very necessary parts of the learning process.
All of this made me think about people who hate to write.
It must feel uncomfortable.
It must be frustrating.
It must make you want to stop.
But the only way to get better is to put one word in front of another.
You can delete. You can erase. You can show your work to someone who crosses out entire paragraphs at a time and makes you write new paragraphs. But unless you complete those baby steps, you’ll never get better.
Again, the only way to become a better writer is to put one word in front of another.
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