Is writing like riding a bike?

imagesIt took me a long time to learn how to ride a two wheel bike. Granted the bike I was learning on was huge, huge tires, old, heavy and bright red (I know color has nothing to do with learning to ride but…).  I was very short, very thin, light and hated red. Give me a light sleek, steel blue bike with thin tires and I bet I would have rocked that bike riding on the first try.

I was not given a choice, this is what Mom could afford and what I started with. There were lots of falls, starts and stops and just sitting looking at this monster in front of me.  My neighbor was helpful. She sat next to me on the steps when I would give up. She brought bandaids when my knees and hands were bleeding and she always said you can do this Jo. Just give it one more try.

I did give it many more tires and with time I found my balance and strength. I wobbled some but every morning I was out pushing the red monster out of the garage and riding around in large ovals on our street. I rode past the older kids who made fun of me, I rode past the neighbor girl who was my thumbs up gal and with time I was able to leave the block and ride like the wind around our side of town. I had found my stride as a rider.

Today I sit with my middle grade novel before me and it looks and feels like that heavy, old red bike. I had started this writing last summer. A new venture and one I am not sure I knew how to do. I have people who were/are ready to be my thumbs up/thumbs down folks and a few who are the older bullies on the block asking why are you writing anyway you are retired just go play you aren’t a writer. I pushed on. I sit on the steps looking at my red monster, the manuscript. I then broke my wrist in two places and have been looking at this writing monster from a far for 5 months.

Now the new year comes, my wrist is beginning to move again and I am ready to mount the writing bike once more. I am hoping it is just like years ago. Those first days of unsteadiness, a few falls and wobbling around the block but with determination I night just get some where.

I plan to take each morning to write – two pages Kate DiCamillo says – just two pages a day. Two pages seems just like riding those ovals in front of my mothers house. I can do that, I think.

I will let you know – I learned to ride my bike and I can come back to it now when ever I want to. I am so hoping that writing is just the same. A few falls, some bruised hands and ego but writing is writing. I will return to it with the same determination I had when I was seven and riding my bike. I will find my stride as a writer as I lean into the new year and feel the wind in my face and the keys beneath my fingers.

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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5 Responses to Is writing like riding a bike?

  1. elsie says:

    Best of luck to you to get on that riding/writing merry-go-round! You can do it!

  2. Adrienne says:

    I also had a terrible time learning to ride a bike. My dad and older brother would take me out after dinner, get me seated, run with me then let me go, only to see me wobble and fall time & time again. I would run alongside my sister and friends until I got so frustrated I pulled out my bike on my own and realized I had to learn to ride standing up, not sitting down like everyone else. Like me, you just need to find the perfect balance. I think Kate DiCamillo is right. I read that she would get up & get her two pages done BEFORE she went to work! Figure out what works for you, then set a goal and do it faithfully.

  3. Maria says:

    Good luck! I can relate to your analogy – this is a beautiful line “I plan to take each morning to write – two pages Kate DiCamillo says – just two pages a day. Two pages seems just like riding those ovals in front of my mothers house. I can do that, I think.” Cheering for you in Ohio!!

  4. Tara Smith says:

    Good for you that you got on the writing bike again! Sometimes, it’s returning to an old project after some time off that does the trick. Good luck!

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