Every time we skated by the coach and skater, the word echoed in our ears. Over and over, the young skater practiced a spin, controlling her movements and then, when she had finished, checking the ice to see how far she had moved from her original position.
I took ice skating lessons too when I was young, though not nearly to the level of this athlete. So I know the level of precision it took to spin in that one spot, barely moving inches as she twirled. This can only come with practice; and a lot of it.
As the new year starts I have been thinking a lot about what I want for my writing this year. To finish writing a new book is my biggest goal. But, added to that, I want to improve my craft as I do so. The problem I have found though is that the idea of perfection overwhelms me. Corrections seem never ending. And as I self-edit I find mistakes or improvements everywhere and become dejected.
What is it, I wonder, that this young skater has that I don’t? What allows her to accept the coaching, internalize the feedback, and try again without psyching herself out? Perhaps this is why I never lasted as a skater. Then again, I would hope that these many years later I would have the maturity that I didn’t back then.
This maturity (along with many of my writer friends) reminds me that the surest way to overcome my self-inflicted cage is through the method known as “BIC HOK” – Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. There is no other way to escape my own fears of failure but to just do it…
… Again and again and again.
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