Writing is NOT like Riding a Bike

I haven’t ridden a bicycle in years.

All the same, I’m pretty sure if you handed me a shiny red 12-speed it wouldn’t take more then a couple seconds for me to get back into the riding groove.

Some things are like that.

I could pick up a guitar right now and play you Green Day’s “When I Come Around,” even though I haven’t played that song in years.

I could whip you up an incredible vegetarian lasagna from scratch, even though I haven’t made one in months.

Unfortunately, writing doesn’t work that way.

Writing is more akin to working out in the gym. At first it’s difficult, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Take a break from that regular habit, however, and it’s almost right back to square one!

You can’t just hop back into a manuscript the way you hop back on a bike after time away.

This is important to keep in mind for two reason:

  1. It’s strong justification for creating and sticking to a regular writing habit.
  2. It can prevent feelings of frustration when returning to your writing after time away.

Many of my coaching clients work with me for months or years, so I’m with them in the times of health, but also in times of sickness. This includes both physical ailments as well as mental health issues. Sometimes these challenges are so severe it prevents a client from writing for a period of time.

Which brings us back to our bicycle metaphor.

Following sickness or periods of time without writing, many writers return to their manuscript only to find themselves totally frustrated because the writing doesn’t come as smoothly as it did before the time away.

This is perfectly normal and no cause for alarm.

In the same way that the first few workouts after time away from the gym are especially difficult, it will also take a writer time to get back into the writing groove.

Your muse hasn’t left you.

You haven’t forgotten how to write.

You’ve just broken the habit.

So next time you’re away from your writing for a period of time (due to sickness, life responsibilities, or any of the other distractions that can take you away from your creative work) give yourself time to ease back into it.

Writing isn’t like riding a bike… but, if you stick with it, it can be just as fun.

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