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!