Friday, July 15, 2011

Feed-the-Writer's-Soul Friday- Worth the Work

Feed-the-Writer’s Soul Friday: Worth the Work
Swimming is in my blood. I learned to swim when I was young and haven’t stopped since. For me, the feel of floating, of being weightless is a powerful feeling. It’s one of my most favorite things about summer. If we had to swim everywhere instead of walk, I would be in heaven.

Because I love swimming so much, I took my kids to the pool from the time they were both very young. As a result, both of them spent time on competitive swim teams-and both did well. (But that’s neither here, nor there.)

For the past three summers I have given swim lessons, mostly to my friend’s kids. What I now take for granted, they have to learn, one small step at a time. There is so much to keep in mind when you swim. The most important, and initially the hardest thing to teach, is holding your breath under water. Once that is mastered, the real works begins. You have to learn how to get your body to float and to keep your body parallel to the water, to keep your legs moving in the water with just the right amount of bending, arm rotation just right, hip rotation, then the big one comes--breathing to the side during the stroke. And this is just freestyle! There are three other swim strokes.

I have kids that are at all spectrums of development. Some are learning to hold their breath and to not be afraid to put their heads under water, others can go under water but when they try to “swim” they don’t go anywhere, and others are moving and are now ready to learn to breath to the side (which is an advanced skill and not an easy one to learn-or teach, I’m finding out:).

There are a lot of correlations between swimming and writing. Just like in swimming, there is so much for a beginner to keep in mind as we move through our story: keeping the dialogue fresh, developing conflict, figuring out the POV the scene is going to be in, writing actively and not passively, show vs. tell, and the list goes on. As a new writer, all of this can be overwhelming, and it seems the more we learn, the more we have to learn.

But learning is part of any process. Just like in everything we have learned to do along our lifetime-walking, reading, riding a bike, driving- it takes time and lots and lots of practice. In the end though, it’s always been worth the work. I’m glad I struggled through learning to walk, talk, read, write, swim, drive. Without these abilities, my life would be so empty. 

So, the moral of it all is-keep working and improving yourself, whatever your passion is. We are all better because of it.
~Till next time!

PS-At the end of last month through early this month I went to RWA Nationals in NYC. I went to many workshops and learned SO much. Over the course of the next several Fridays I hope to share with you some of my notes from those workshops.


  1. Good observations, Michelle. And you never stop learning!

  2. I love the comparison between swimming and writing! Both can feel like a challenge when first starting out, but as you said a little hard work goes a long way.