The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Don't Dip...Dive!

       When I was a kid, I never dipped my toes--timidly and demurely--in the water at the swimming pool. (I must admit, my demeanor ain't never even shook hands with demure.) Never worried about the temperature of the water, I'd always boldly dive right in. Even if the water was a bit cold, that initial blast of cool water was refreshing...

       Often when women surrender to swimsuits that have skirts (personally, I'm on the hunt for one that's formal-length, with a long Princess-Diana-style train), they take less risks. They might wade in the water. They might dangle their legs in the pool as they sit on the edge. But dive right in? Not always...

photo by pjhphotos

       Usually, when I have trouble beginning a piece of writing, it's because I am dangling. And I've developed a habit of dangling for 2-3 days before diving right in.

       When I slice right through the surface, sometimes it's a bit of a shock. I get blasted by a beginning that's not quite ripe. However, I come up for air, and start flailing around as best I can, heading to the other side.

       Just like my swimming is smoother after I get into the groove, so is my writing. And later, I get the chance to clean up the messy bellyflop-of-a-beginning.

       Fellow writers: dive in! I dangled on Monday night and last night. Tonight I need to jump right in...

(Sorry, Hope. There are no evil beavers in this one, but it was the best analogy I could pull off this morning...)



  1. So, you're competing with H.C., the guru???? :)
    I know exactly what you mean about diving in. I have been wading for three days in a pool of sludge, but when I get a moment to realy let this idea go, I know it is going to hit stride. happy writing.

  2. Great writing advice, Sioux! It makes the heart race wildly to finally take that plunge, but plunge we must, to the deepest depths!

  3. Evil beavers! I think I saw them at the Palladium in '84...


    Jumping in is something I enjoy myself.


  4. Amen, sister. One of the most important writing lessons I ever learned was that my best writing comes from taking risks and telling my truth without holding back. (or, telling the truth of a character).

    OR, i just collected a lot of spirit bottles!

  5. So very true! Sometimes the best approach is the surprise attack. That muse won't know what hit it. :)

  6. Linda--No way! Do you think I'm THAT crazy?

    Clara and Fireblossom--I agree. When we write deeply, when we write from our inner core with feeling, we can't help but succeed (or at least move people).

    Pearl--I thought you were the type to step back and hesitate...My mistake! ;)

    Janel--It's always a good idea to try and ambush that muse.

  7. I love this analogy! You are so right, too. At the pool, I've always been a dangler. I guess I dangle as a writer, too, now that I think of it in that light...but I'm braver with my writing than I am anywhere else. Once my feet get used to the water I go on in. Maybe I'll try it your way next time and just take a running jump.

  8. This is a great analogy, but if you can't swim like me than does that mean my writing is going to drown? he he he.


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