Tag Archives: writing

Cracking Writer’s Block with EMDR

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Thanks to Val Erde for letting me use this image. Click HERE if you’d like to use her images, too!

As a child, I was supposed to keep my room neat. My bed needed to be made the moment I awoke each morning; hospital corners were not optional. My clothes were to be folded and put away while they were still warm. Fortunately for me, I excelled at neat.

Screen shot 2013-04-20 at 2.16.10 AMI remember watching the 1976 Summer Olympics with my father. Sitting next to him on the couch, I wore a yellow leotard. He pointed to Nadia Comenici as she waved to the crowd after earning her first perfect 10.0 on the uneven bars.

“You see!” my father said. “Being perfect is possible.”

In my house, failing was not an option. No one told me it was okay to mess up. No one ever said people learn by failing, by falling, and getting up again, that it takes a different kind of strength to persevere despite sucking.

I learned that sucking brought misery. When I sucked at trigonometry, it meant I had to complete endless math problems written on the back of placemats at restaurants until the meal arrived. Feeling my father’s frustration comingled with his disappointment, by the time our food came, I often felt like vomiting.

“It’s not that hard,” my father would say.

But it was that hard, and I didn’t get it. And I hated feeling dumb.

I learned if I sucked at something, I needed to avoid that thing at all costs.

So I stuck to my strengths and only tried the things at which I could excel.

You want someone to sing or memorize lines? Awesome. Need a crafty-critter? No problemo. I can make pinch pots and macramé, turn beads and fishing lures into jewelry. Watch me sketch and draw and paint fearlessly in watercolors and acrylics and oils. Need a dancer?Check out my smooth moves. Seriously, I can hustle and shimmy and shake my groove thing. I can twirl and do pirouettes. I can do back-flips off the diving board and handsprings on the lawn.

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There were 3 of these! Three!

In 2nd grade, Mrs. Church told I could write. She loved a story I’d written about a red-breasted robin, and she made me to read it to the “big kids,” in a different wing of the school. Later, Mrs. Oliver told me a poem I’d written moved her. It moved her. In middle school, Mr. Baron drew three big stars in my notebook next to the words “squishy red beanbag chair on the lime carpet.” Three stars.

I dreamed of being a writer.

In college, I received attention and praise, earned awards and validation from my professors.

I felt like a magician, able to amaze people with my words.

In December 2012, I found a writing partner. We worked together for six months, sending each other pages of our fiction manuscripts to read. We provided feedback for each other. I poured myself into her project, believing that – eventually, she would give mine the same kind of love.

Last May, I took a hiatus to prepare for my son’s bar mitzvah. My writing partner knew this when we started working together. I reassured her I would be back in the saddle after the festivities ended.

“I’ll be here, pardner,” she promised.

She promised.

When I called to let her know I was ready to start collaborating again, I caught the hesitation in her voice.

“I had so much momentum, I couldn’t stop! You know how that is, right?” she said. And then she told me she’d found a new person to work with.

My legs shook when I hung up the phone.

Besides feeling abandoned and betrayed, I felt like her actions said something bigger about my abilities as a writer.

The cosmos provided me with the words. I read between the lines.

My writing must have really sucked.

Because if it didn’t suck, she wouldn’t have been able to stop working with me. She wouldn’t have been able to put down my manuscript.

To make matters worse, my computer crashed shortly after my former partner dumped me.

I didn’t have anything backed-up, and I lost everything: twenty years of teaching curriculum, twenty years of photographs, decades of poetry and short stories.

A non-fiction manuscript. And a fiction manuscript.

Gone.

For most of my life, people have made me believe I could do magical things with words. But this past year, I’ve felt like someone took my black hat and my cape and my wand. Like someone stole my white rabbit.

Suddenly, what had always come naturally for me has became dreadfully difficult.

Recently I wrote about how I’ve been paralyzed with trying to be perfect with my writing. How some days, I worked 4 or 5 hours on a piece, writing 5,000 – 7,000 words.

And then I deleted everything.

Because every word sucked.

That’s how I ended up doing Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) with Vickijo Campanaro.

I’m not going to try to explain the theory behind this kind of therapy. Let’s just say EMDR is often used with individuals who have suffered major traumas, sexual or physical assault, combat experiences, accidents, the sudden death of a loved one: any kind of post-traumatic stress, really. But EMDR therapy has also been used to help athletes, performers and executives to achieve a state of “peak performance.”

If facilitated properly, EMDR helps people replace negative or stressful thoughts with positive ones.

Or something like that.

During my first session, VJ took a detailed history where we focused on what I perceived to be the major traumatic events in my life. I thought about the things I’ve been through in my 45 years on this planet and realized I had a lot from which to choose. She demonstrated a breathing exercise, which was familiar to me from my experience with yoga.

Then she had me hold these little buzzing paddles, which felt like cell phones set to vibrate.

Apparently, some therapists have clients track flashing lights but, over the course of her career, VJ said she’d found pairing the gentle, rhythmic buzzing from the paddles with conversation just as effective.

On my third session, Vickijo instructed me to put the buzzing paddles under my thighs, and she asked me to tell her about what I perceived to be my strengths as a writer.

I couldn’t think of one.

Not. One.

Unfazed, VJ asked me to close my eyes and describe a writer I admire. I thought about one particular blogger. “She can write about anything. She has amazing range: sometimes she’s funny; other times, she’s serious. She uses fresh images. She knows how to tell a story so it is unique and yet universally true. She responds to everyone. She’s generous, and her audience loves her.”

“You can open your eyes,” VJ said, so I did. “Do you think you possess any of the same qualities as this writer?”

I wasn’t sure.

Earlier in the session, I had talked about how much I sucked.

VJ asked me to think of an affirming sentence to replace my negative thoughts.

It was hard.

The voices were loud in my head.

“Let’s start with: ‘I suck,’” Vickijo suggested. “Can you turn that on its head?”

I closed my eyes and feeling the slow, rhythmic vibration of the paddles under my thighs, I saw myself sitting at a table, eating words. I literally ate the word ‘apricot’: chewed on it and swallowed, while my hand moved, scribbling letters inside a black and white composition notebook. I saw all the words I’d ever written in my life penned on a cozy fleece blanket and draped over my shoulders. I read the words I’d written on the lined paper.

“I’m a writer,” I said.

Except when I said it, there were eleventy-seven question marks at the end of the sentence.

“You’re a writer,” VJ said it as a statement. “And what does that mean?”

“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “For me, writing is like eating or pooping. I can’t not do it. Whether or not I ever publish a book, I’m always going to write. It’s what I do.”

Vickijo laughed. “And that’s because?”

“I’m a writer.”

When I said it the second time, I believed it a little bit more. Weird, right? I have a hard time explaining how or why it’s working, but it is. EMDR combined with 5 minutes of daily meditation has been doing wonders for me.

And my writing.

For CREDIT click HERE. It was VERY hard to determine the origin of this image, but i have done my very best.

I’m feeling less compelled to be perfect.

In fact, perfect hasn’t even been on my radar.

I know it sounds whack-a-doodle, but the science supports this stuff. It’s incredible to me to think we have the ability to reprogram the way our brains have been hardwired to think. If you have suffered a trauma — or any kind of anxiety — EMDR can really help.

A few months ago, I would have felt like a bad person because my bed isn’t made, I’ve got a sink filled with dishes, and very little food in the refrigerator.

But today? I’m soooo not.

Progress.

•••

Here’s a video I found on YouTube that does a good job explaining EMDR, if you are interested.

Have you ever heard of EMDR? If you’ve tried it, did it work for you? What do you think about the idea of reprogramming your brain to think happier thoughts?

tweet me @rasjacobson

Check out my friend, author Kasey Mathews’ post on her experience with EMDR. We’ve known each other for decades, she guest posted on my blog HERE, and can you believe we’re both having positive experiences with EMDR?

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Write An Old-Fashioned Letter To My Kid At Camp

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Last year, Tech went to overnight camp for a month. When he got home, he ate and slept. And then he complained that I hadn’t written enough.

You guys, I wrote a lot of letters.

Seriously, I wrote one every other day. That’s 14 letters, if you round down.

My son claims some kids received mail every single day.

This year my son is going to overnight camp for the entire summer.

That’s seven weeks, people.

I don’t have enough going on in my life to write him a letter every stinkin’ day. I know what you’re thinking: use your imagination. Believe me, I sent that boy plenty of creative letters, but there’s such a thing as burnout.

Plus, I’m old-school in that I believe there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned letter. One that someone wrote with his or her own hand.

Those types of letters take a little longer to craft.

So I’m appealing to you, my friends from the blogosphere. You’re readers and writers. You’re funny and smart and creative. You have pens and stamps.

WILL YOU WRITE TO MY KID WHILE HE’S AT CAMP?

Last year I asked you to write to Tech at camp, and you did! I gave him all your letters on Visitor’s Day, and he responded to people in a 3-part post when he returned home. If you’d like, you can check out Part I • Part II • Part III

This year, I’m begging asking you to write my kid a handwritten letter.

Partly because I think it’ll be hilarious for Tech to receive letters from people he doesn’t know.

But also because I’ve noticed how few people send letters anymore. Sure, we have email, mobile phones, and Facebook, but sometimes it’s nice to go to the mailbox and find something with your name on it.

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ALSO, IT’S TIME FOR A CONTEST.

Here’s what you do to enter:

  • Write a letter of any length, appropriate for a 14-year-old boy.
  • It must be handwritten. Typed letters will be disqualified.
  • It must be legible. Please print neatly. 
  • It must be pretty. No boring white paper. Be creative.
  • Send the letter to me between now & July 31, 2013. If you send it after that, I won’t be able to get it to Tech in time as U.S. Postal Service to camp is wicked slow!

When I receive your letters, I’ll steam open the envelopes to check out the submissions. That’s right, I’ll review each letter for originality, creativity, and visual appeal before forwarding it to the boy at camp.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?

I’ll feature my favorite letters on my blog, and include blurbs about their authors. 

One of you stands to win best letter writer. That person will win a $25 gift card to somewhere awesome.

Tech isn’t in the dark. He’s agreed to respond to the winner. In addition to sending a handwritten letter to the winner via U.S. mail, I’ll post his illegible, yet handwritten response on my blog.

When writing a kid at camp, there are 3 rules.

Rule #1: Don’t be sad. Never tell your child that you are missing her so much that it hurts. That’s a disaster. And if your kid writes to say he is homesick, don’t get all hyper and tell him you’ll pick him up. Oy. He’s just venting.

Rule #2: Don’t be scary. At overnight camp, kids are completely cut off from the outside world. They really don’t know what’s going on, so it’s not funny to say the family pet died. They don’t need to hear about shootings or death or illness. A zombie apocalypse isn’t funny when you are away from the people you love.

Rule #3: Be funny. Camp is fun – and your letters should be too. Tell stories. Take a moment from your day and embellish it like crazy. When I write to Tech, I try to entertain him. Suggested topics: 1) girls, 2) Minecraft, 3) fencing, 4) Euchre, 5) technology (since he won’t have any), 6) tips on how to live with mean kids, 7) tips regarding how he can keep track of his socks.

If all else fails, tell him about what you used to do when you went to camp.

Unless you set things on fire or got girls pregnant.

In which case,  don’t write about that.

*smiles*

If you’d like to write a handwritten letter to Tech while he’s at summer camp, please indicate your interest in the comments section. I’ll contact you with the necessary information. Don’t wait. You know what happens when you wait. 

tweet me @rasjacobson

Adolescence: Another Taste

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’m committing poetry.

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Click HERE to see other work by Paulina Wierzgacz.

While other girls, afraid

of their own soft hands hid

behind masks, under rocks, dreamed

of  boys in tight Levi’s

we met under a rotting pavilion

after roller-skating:  Neither of us knew how

to start so he stretched out, nervously

into my lap, settled

into thighs, exposed earlier

only to the hands of the sun.

His chest was jasmine

and we pressed together

silent, holding

our breath, in my hands

a slender purple flower.

Later, the girls squealed, begged

to hear about a single snake

pressing against the temple door

but I had learned to hold hands

with the night, listen

to the lunatic song of crossing winds,

to admire purple flowers

without words.

What do you remember about your first time? Or how do you wish it went?

tweet me @rasjacobson

Pushing Through, a Lesson Learned by Elena Aitken

Click on the teacher lady's nose to find links to other people who posted in this series.

Click on the teacher lady’s nose to find links to other people who posted in the #LessonLearned Series.

I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am to all the writers who wrote posts as part of my Lessons Learned series this year. Each post has been beautiful; each lesson, unique.

Isn't she purty-ful? Yeah, well she's a great writer, too.

Isn’t she purty-ful? Yeah, well she’s a great writer, too.

Author Elena Aitken is the last writer in this series. And her piece arrived at precisely the right time for me. Because I am struggling with some serious writer’s block. Elena’s words are the greatest gift I could have ever asked for this holiday season.

If you don’t know Elena, you should. A busy mom, Elena is also a wonderful blogging friend and a prolific writer. I was fortunate to interview her when her book Sugar Crash was hot off the press, and she’s written a new book since then!

After you read her piece below, you will want to follow Elena on Facebook or on Twitter. Take a peek at her website if you’d like to subscribe to her blog. Her newest book, Hidden Gifts, would make a great present. Just like your words were to me today, Elena.

• • •
Pushing Through by Elena Aitken
When Renée asked me to write a piece for her Lessons Learned series, I said yes without hesitation because sure, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. I mean, I must have something to offer. No problem, right?
Then it came to write it.And nothing.

A gentle nudge from Renée, “Don’t forget. You promised. Um, can I get that soon?”

“Oh, don’t worry,” I said. “I’m on it. No problem.”

But…it was a problem. The thing is, ever since Renée asked me months ago, I’ve been thinking about what I would write about. I read all the other posts, and…I worried. I mean, what on earth was I going to say? What could I offer that this talented list of writers and bloggers hasn’t already said with more skill and grace then I could hope for?

I made notes. I stared at my computer screen. I started writing five different posts. I deleted five different posts.

And then, I worried some more.

I couldn’t think of a thing. Was it possible that I haven’t learned any lessons at all?

I was moments away from emailing Renée to tell her I’d changed my mind, and I couldn’t do it after all.

And then, there it was.

That voice in my head.

“Trust yourself,” the voice said.

Hearing voices in my head isn’t unusual for me. After all, I’m a writer. I hear voices all the time.

But, I’ve heard those two words before.

A lot.

• My dad said them when I was learning how to ride a bike.

• Ms. Montgomery, my junior high drama teacher, said them before I went on stage to perform my monologue.

• My mother said them when my twins were newborns, and I didn’t know the first thing about being a mom.

• My writing partners scribble them in the margins of my work when I’m wrestling with a scene, or a character that just won’t cooperate.

• My friend and training partner will say them to me when I’m nervous about a race and doubting my training.

• My husband says them to me when I’m struggling with a tough decision.

That voice in my head is a beautiful medley of all the voices from my life and its tune is constantly changing. But the message remains the same. And every time I hear those words, “Trust yourself.” Whether they are spoken aloud or quietly in my mind—I do.

Because I might not have the right answer, I could make the wrong decision, say something stupid, trip and fall, or make a mistake. But I might not. And when I shut out all the noise telling me what I should say/do/believe, and actually trust myself; it turns out that I know myself a whole lot better than I thought I did.

So, maybe I’m a slow learner, or maybe it’s a lesson worth learning over and over again, but it’s the most important lesson that I continue to learn.

What helps you push through to complete a project?

tweet us at @elenaaitken and @rasjacobson

End of the Month MashUp of Hotness: October 2012

I know. I know. It’s been a while since I’ve done a mash-up.

But big stuff has been going on, people.

See those birds up on that tree in my neighbors’ backyard? That means Frankenstorm is on the way. Seriously? The one year that my kid actually made a plan, bought a costume, and I actually purchased candy in advance? And we’re going to have a major storm? Are you kidding me? We’d better have some people at our door. Or else I’ll be going door to door tossing candy in everyone’s mailboxes. Sorry USPS. You guys lost the package I tried to send my niece and nephew last year, so I figure you owe me one.

*smile*

Oh, and check it out! Look at the bottom right hand corner of that photo! I learned how to put a watermark on my pictures! So there’s proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

With that, here is some delicious stuff that I read this month in no particular order.

• • •

Le Clown wrote about All Hallows’ Eve. And it is freakin’ hilarious. If you don’t know Le Clown On Fire. He’s from Montreal and he’s magnifique. Like all the time. I know he’s a clown, but don’t be scared. He’s a good clown.

ATeachableMom wrote “You’re Only Hugging Me So You Can Wipe Your Nose On My Shirt.” Funny stuff, Mary.

Leanne Shirtliffe (aka: Ironic Mom) shared a powerful tip about the power of acting crazy. I can vouch: everything she says works in and out of the classroom.

Editor for Writer’s Digest Books (& a trillion other things) Chuck Sambuchino wrote a fabulous & terrifying article at Writer Unboxed about how to really interpret those statistics you’ve got on your blogs. I’ve never seen anything like his analysis before, and I have to tell you, it is humbling. Find out if you are notable, impressive or very impressive. Then prepare to curl up in your corners.

Imagine an actor reading your manuscript and stopping when he thought it sucked! 7 Reasons Agents Stop Reading Your First Chapter is a must read for aspiring writers.

Nina Badzin hung out with KludgyMom (two of my favorite bloggers in one place!), and wrote about how teaching kids to be unique is sometimes easier said than done.

Kimberly Speranza of Sperk* wrote a lovely & raw response at Erin Margolin‘s blog about why she started blogging. I am now fiercely following Kimberly.

Alexandra Rosas of Good Day, Regular People is a writing machine. But her three-part series called Red Flags was something else. And October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Guess what? Every month should be. Start at Part I. You won’t be able to stop.

On a lighter note, I know she said the deadline has passed, but I’ll bet that Jules’ would totally take late entries for her Halloween Hat Contest at Go Jules Go. (If you don’t, I’m gonna win. Or not.)

Tech savvy folks still have time to enter my contest to make me a header. Just do it. You know you want to. Now that I know how to make a watermark, I mean, there is a chance I might figure this shizz out all by myself.

*wipes brow*

Was it good for you?

tweet me @rasjacobson

 

Ghosts Made Me Start This Blog

People often ask me how I come up with my topics.
They ask if I ever suffer from writers’ block.
They ask if I will post naked pictures of myself.
But no one has ever asked me why I decided to start this blog.

Until Erin Margolin came along.

If you’d like to know the rest of the story and how ghosts are involved, follow me to Erin’s place.

And while you are there, check out her words. Girl has range.

Showing A Little WIP: A Teeny Excerpt of my Fiction Manuscript

I don’t know if you’ve seen the latest meme being passed around the interwebs, but it’s called Lucky 7, and I was tagged by Shannyn Schroeder and Fabio Bueno to share some writing from my WIP.

Like most things that get passed around, Lucky 7 causes headache, nausea and vomiting has its own set of rules. Here’s what you are supposed to do:

Open your WIP (work in progress) and:

1. Go to page 77

2. Go to line 7 on that page

3. Copy the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs as they are written.

4. Tag 7 authors who are also have Works in Progress.

I’m petrified but here I go:

Adina locked the bathroom door and climbed into the bathtub with the telephone. She laid down as flat as she could and tried to make herself invisible. Her fingers shook. She didn’t know what to do. It never occurred to her to call the police. She didn’t know the number, and 911 service wasn’t available in 1977. As Adina stuck her fingers into the round holes and dialed Jodi’s digits, she cursed her family’s rotary phones.

Adina waited one hundred years in that bathtub. The tap dripped 264 times. Time enough for an ocean to smooth a stone. Time enough for moss to grow on tree trunks. When Jodi finally answered, Adina whispered into the mouthpiece. “There are people in my house!”

“Why are you whispering?” Jodi shouted in Adina’s ear. “I can’t hear you.”

Adina’s lungs felt too small in her chest. “We’re being robbed! And I’m in the house!” Adina felt something inside her telling her to run, but she felt an equal and opposite force demanding that she remain perfectly still.

“Omigosh!” Jodi was whispering now. “Deen, can you get out?”

Adina pressed her back against the white porcelain tub. She strained to figure out the whereabouts of the intruders. They sounded far away, but she couldn’t be sure. Adina heard laughter, so she knew there were a few of them. She heard silverware clanking. It could’ve been her father banging around, preparing to eat his evening orange, meticulously pulling apart each section and reading the newspaper. Except it wasn’t.

They’re in the kitchen, Adina reasoned. And while her brain wanted to make a run for it, her body was paralyzed.

My feelings right now can best be summed up in a line from a song by Gloria Gaynor. “At first I was afraid, I was petrified…” Because it’s scary to put your baby out into the world. Especially when he’s not yet ready for prime time.

The 7 authors I’d like to tag are:

  1. El Farris
  2. Deb Bryan
  3. Leanne Shirtliffe
  4. Catie Rhodes
  5. Kathy Owen
  6. Gene Lempp
  7. Ellie Ann Soderstrom

So, um, like… what do you think? And what can you get from 7 paragraphs?

Tweet This Twit @rasjacobson

wotz da big deal cuz u kno wot i mean

Tomorrow is National Grammar Day in the United States.

I thought I would share some real examples of email communications that I have received over the last 12 months from first year college students.

Please know my intention is not to poke fun at my former students. I respect them and see so much growth during the course of one semester. But I am ashamed of our nation’s education system because I receive communications from students that are peppered with errors like this all of the time. It’s time to pay attention to our children. If we don’t teach our kids to be solid writers, if we don’t give them the skills they need to read and write masterfully, they aren’t going to be competitive in this world which is becoming increasingly reliant on professional international communications.

7 Things That Can Interrupt Solid Grammar

1: Illness

2: Desperation.

3: Pushing SEND too quickly.

4: Contraception.

5: Music.

6: Missing the bus.

7: TMI

Which one is your favorite? Do you think this is funny or sad? Do me a favor, will ya? Show me your grammar skills. Pick one of these messages and fix everything that’s wrong with it. Make it pretty. Please?

Quick! Tell Me What To Do!

I’m working furiously on my fiction manuscript.

I need an unusual name for a babysitter.

Got any suggestions?

Give me a name, and I’ll tell you one interesting fact about this person.

Unintentional Galloping

When I was in middle school, I took horseback riding lessons from folks who lived in a broken down old house but who took fantastic care of their horses. Sometimes I came straight from ballet class, and I had to pull my jeans over pink ballet tights, leave my skirt and slippers in the car and lace up my tan Timberline boots. I was a quick study and easily learned how to get my horse to respond. I learned to give the appropriate kicks to get him to trot, to jump over logs, banks and ditches. I learned to canter, my favorite stride.

After a while, I begged my instructor to teach me how to gallop.

I was sure I was ready.

I did not look like this.

She disagreed.

One day, after school, my friend Kim suggested we take her horses out bareback – no saddles or stirrups – “Just bridles,” she’d said. “Because you always want to have the reins.”

An unseasonably warm fall day, the woods near Kim’s house were filled with trails and we casually bumped along on the horses’ backs under pine trees and blue skies. Eventually, we came to an open field where the trail disappeared. Surrounded by tall grasses, the oranges and yellows and browns of late October trees, Kim and I were quiet; our animals walked side-by-side, the sound of their hooves beating the earth was calm and rhythmic.

Until it wasn’t.

All I know is that suddenly I was clinging to the neck of an unfamiliar horse, my legs kicked out wildly behind me, bumping in an unfamiliar gait, which I assumed meant I was galloping. And since I’d never galloped before, I didn’t know what to do — especially without stirrups to steady myself.

And then I started to slip.

I tried to grab the reins that had slid through my fingers, but I couldn’t reach them. As the dust made it impossible for me to see, I had no choice but to give in to the will of a black horse that simply needed to run. And when I could not hold on any longer, I fell onto the ground, smashing my head against a big rock.

I was sure I was going to be trampled to death.

Or at least have a bloody nose.

As I huddled on the ground, I remember thinking, If I survive, one day, this will make a great story.

Truth be told, I loved the thrill of the ride, the holding on and not knowing where I was going-adrenaline-rush.

(Note: The falling off part was not so hot.)

Riding horses isn’t so different from writing. With both writing and riding, there are basics that one must first master. Just as a novice equestrian can’t go from walking to galloping in one day, a beginning writer cannot produce a great novel in a week, a month or a semester. One must first become a smart writer. One must learn the art of storytelling. Of suspense. One must understand the rules of grammar and punctuation. And then learn when it is appropriate to break these rules. One must learn the nuances of language, play with all the modes of discourse, and acquire eyes that can fearlessly revise. As well as a million other things.

If I were still actively riding horses, I would have to practice.

Every day.

Like I do with my writing.

At least seven-hundred words every day.

Because the more I practice, the easier the writing becomes.

Sometimes a piece of writing slides out effortlessly like a new foal birthed in a spring field. But other times — like with that crazy Arabian — my words get away from me and they want me to start describing things like the uncomfortable red chair in the corner of the room, which clearly does not belong in this piece. It’s okay. This ballerina-cowgirl learned long ago that sometimes she has to pull leather chaps over her jeans and tights and click her tongue and say, “No! We are not going over there!” She is not afraid to give a little kick and tug her writing in a different direction.

Some days I drop the reins on purpose and let my muse take me somewhere. And I don’t know where I’m going and the whole getting there is scary and, in the end, what I’m left with is sometimes raw or terrifying. Or awesome.

But sometimes it is a disorganized mess.

It happens.

As I said, I like the thrill of the ride: the not knowing where I’ll end up.

For me, writing is like unintentionally riding bareback on a galloping horse. It isn’t the easiest or the smartest way to get somewhere, and Lord knows it isn’t pretty to watch, but eventually I end up where I’m supposed to be. Usually without even a concussion.

What is writing like for you? I’d love to know. Or maybe you’d rather tell me about your experiences with horses. Or falling off horses. Maybe you’d rather tell me about your experiences as a dancer. Or falling as a dancer. Oh, just say something.