Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What Skiing Taught Me About Writing

With the mounds of snow right outside my door, I've been doing a lot of cross country skiing lately. It's peaceful, shushing through the silent hills. There's no houses. No people. I do keep an eye out for cougars but usually only see mouse and rabbit tracks or an occasional coyote or deer trail.

The thing about cross country skiing is, if you want to go down hill, you have to go uphill. That's right, ski uphill. There's a slight downhill trail I take from my house but it's only a matter of time before I have to make my way back up again. It's hard work. Sometimes you slide backwards. Sometimes shoulders ache from all the pushing, your legs tire from the strain.

I started out skiing as a baby in a backpack my mom wore when she downhill skiied. (Yes, that sounds horrifyingly dangerous but I survived.) Anyhow, suffice it to say that I love going downhill so I'm willing to put the work in to get up that hill for a quick ride back down.

When I'm going uphill, I rarely look up at my destination. It's too steep. Too far. I'll tell myself that I'll never make it. If I keep my eyes on the path ahead of me and keep moving forward, little by little, I can surprise myself with how quickly I make it to my destination.

Cross country skiing is a lot like writing in a way. Writing a picture book is enough of a mountain to ski up. I find it overwhelming to think that I have to write around 50,000 words to complete this young adult novel I'm working on. Then there's the revising. The editing. I may as well try to ski up Mt. Everest.

Fortunately, cross country skiing has taught me something. If I just to keep my head down, worry about the next word, the next sentence ahead. If I just keep moving, I can get a lot further than I think.


  1. I've only downhill skiied and I have to say it's one of my favorite outdoor activities. It's so exhilarating! But I love your analogy of getting further than you think if you just keep moving.

    Good luck with moving forward in the new year :)

  2. I enjoyed reading this. Sounds wonderful & you are so right about not looking too far ahead... one ski in front of the other. Good luck with all your endeavors!