What roller skating with little kids has in common with writing a novel
Over the long weekend last month, I had quite an interesting experience. My 3-year-old son was invited to a roller skating birthday party so I took both him and my 5-year-old daughter. My husband was tied up with house projects, so I flew solo.
I laced up a pair of skates, which I haven't done in more than a decade, clipped on my kids' skates, and off we went.
Turns out, 10/10 I would NOT recommend trying to roller skate with two teeny tiny humans solo.
My daughter in one hand, my son on the other side, I felt like I was trying to balance myself and keep two spaghetti noodles straight and upright. His legs went in two directions, his arm twisted the opposite way. Her legs did a less intense version of the same thing, all the while I'm trying to usher them through packed crowds of people seeking an indoor activity to burn some energy (thanks rainstorms).
They were falling all over the place, desperate to get a skate helper thing (but not a single one was available). There were tears--so many tears--and fear, and self-doubt (theirs and mine), and banged up limbs galore.
And did I mention it was, oh, about a billion degrees in there?
All in all, it was a complete sh*t show.
So what does this have to do with writing a novel?
Well in that moment, legs and arms akimbo, kids rolling and crashing together and apart, I realized that sometimes writing a book feels the same way: An enormous balancing act. With bumps and bruises, and sweat and tears along the journey.
In one hand, you're holding together elements like character, and setting, and plot, and story, and voice, and in the other you're worried about subplots, and your prose, and the dialogue, and the relationships, and the market for your book and, you know, about a million other things.
And the whole time you're frantically trying not to let something slip away from you, lest everything comes crashing down all at once.
Well the story gets better. We eventually got a pair of skate helpers that each kid could hold onto while they skated and I pushed them around. My back and arms ached, but at least I wasn't dropping them and they were able to stay upright on their own two feet (mostly).
The point is-- writing gets better too. Eventually you find your balance, your rhythm.
And sometimes assistance makes the biggest difference.
You better believe all three of us wanted to throw in the towel at some point, just go kick off those damn skates and get into the fresh, cool air. But even with all the difficulty, both kids especially wanted to persevere. They wanted to learn, to improve, to grow, to master a new skill.
And, well, I thought that was pretty inspiring.
When I was roller skating with my kids sans skate assists, I was definitely doing it. Was I keeping everyone safe, were were making our way around the rink? Yes...
But I was not doing it well.
It wasn't until we got help--got the tools and resources we needed--that our "success" increased dramatically. Were we perfect? No. Was it still tough? Yes. But was I sweating and crying and wanting to pull my hair out? Nope.
If you're struggling with any part of the writing process (drafting? revising? querying?) and want some help, want someone to dramatically (and quickly) alter the trajectory of your writing, contact me and we can schedule a free 30-min story strategy session.
I'm also starting a free Facebook group for writers who want more of this kind of content as well as a community of like-minded folk who aim to write publishing-quality novels. Click here to join.