training wheels

The little one fell off her bike last summer.

I was jogging with her along the quiet road behind my condo, and had just slipped ahead to encourage her to speed up. Seconds later I looked back in time to see her veer over the curb and into the street, where she and everything in her basket went flying across the asphalt.

Thank God no cars were coming. Naturally she was terrified, and it took a good minute for my heart to return to normal. Ever since then she’s been so scared of falling that she’s barely touched the bike, much less ridden it.

Recently the little girl across the street wobbling around without her training wheels has given us something to chew on, and all I can do is encourage without pressuring. I’m sure there are some parents out there who would force their little one back into the seat to face their fear, but I’d rather she conquer it on her own terms, not mine.

Of course, the longer she goes without trying, the easier it is to never try again.

I know this all too well.

Would I be better off if someone pushed me back to my cards, or if I wait until the morning I find myself craving the smooth coolness in my hands with a tingle along my neck? It won’t change the fact that I now doubt every interpretation that comes to mind. Perhaps not reading often enough is the reason for my memory problems, but if my readings are uninspired or incomplete then isn’t reading worse than not?

The same goes for writing — is it better to write when uninspired or to wait until the urge is undeniable? Most published writers stress that writing is hard work, and you have to show up to allow the words first to just come.

Inspiration comes in spurts, and cannot be brought down on demand, right. Holly Lisle’s technique of “Calling Down Lightning” in her early HTTS Lessons* begs otherwise. While my ideas as a result of that exercise were not necessarily “inspired” I was quite pleased with the ideas that did come from nothing. I’m used to having one good story idea a year, if I’m lucky. After a few more lessons and mulling over the ideas, one has novel-potential. And that’s what I’m doing — very slowly, and without (much) pressure.

*How To Think Sideways affiliate link

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