Writing is Like Riding a Bike — When You Fall Off, It Hurts

I started writing my new novel a couple of nights ago. After almost a year of tweaking my finished novels, entering contests, critiquing and being critiqued, I wasn’t certain I’d ever be able to get back into writing again. But, according to Suzanne Francis, author of Heart of Hythea: “Writing is like riding a bike. When you fall off it hurts . . . No. Wait! I meant — you never forget how to do it!”

She is correct on both accounts. I didn’t forget how to do it, and it hurts.

Writing is painful for me. I have a hard time getting the words to say what I mean; they always seem to come up short. That first night I spent four hours writing; the next morning I chucked it all in the trash. I know I’m not supposed to do it that way. All the books on writing say that it is important to get the book out of one’s head and onto paper or into the computer before doing any editing, but I need to know where I am coming from and where I am going. For me, a good or at least an adequate beginning is necessary. So last night I rewrote the beginning. Not great, but it will do for now.

And I remembered why I write, despite how painful it is. I love the planning, the figuring out, the tweaking. I love having a character take up residence in my head, having it become real to me. I love creating a new world, even if — especially if — it is simply a reflection of the world that exists outside my window. I love finding the perfect word. I love having it all come together into a cohesive whole.

So now I have a reason to write. I have the beginning of my new novel. And, although I have not yet written it, I have the ending. Now I just need to figure out how to get from here to there.

I can hardly wait to see how I manage that!

3 Responses to “Writing is Like Riding a Bike — When You Fall Off, It Hurts”

  1. evenscry Says:

    I know exactly what you’re talking about with the whole “chucking it” aspect. Granted, I’ve never stopped chucking enough of my writing to get through an entire novel, so you are far ahead of me in the writing game. Keep it up, though. You’ve gotten through two books and the criticism that comes with. If it doesn’t get better, it probably can’t get worse, right? And I think that writing a book is like following a map to an undiscovered country: all the lines keep changing, but eventually you’ll get to that little red dot of a destination. (I read too much fantasy, I think.) Anyways, good luck, and carry on.

  2. Bertram Says:

    evenscry: I like your image — that writing a book is like following a map to an undiscovered country. Even though I know (or think I know) what red dot I am aiming for, the changing lines are what make the journey worthwhile.

    Good luck to you, too. If you carry on with your writing, eventually the parts you keep will outnumber those that you chuck, and perhaps one day you will finish your book. Its a good feeling. Even if the book never gets published, even if no one reads it, you have the satisfaction of knowing you did something many people only dream of.

  3. Suzanne Francis Says:

    There is that feeling… you know– the one when all the words come out just right, and you look at the monitor to see a newly formed sentence that makes you think…

    Damn, I’m good!

    It doesn’t happen all that often for me, but when it does, it makes all the frustration and angst worthwhile.


Leave a Reply to Bertram Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: