Monday, February 15, 2010

Skiing and Writing -- and New Contest

We went skiing this weekend and it was my 5-year-old's first real time on the slopes. I had no idea what to expect from the day, especially since due to the heavy snow coming down around us, we changed plans and ended up at a mountain I've never skied before. Watching everyone around me throughout the day, I was struck by the similarities between skiing and writing. Here's my short yet profound list:

How Skiing is Like Writing

1. The more you do it, the better you get. My son's first run involved crashing his way down the bunny slope. My brother, an expert skier, and my hubby (not an expert but way better than me) were teaching him the snow plow technique in between crashes. My son sighed at the end of this run, proclaiming he was not very good at skiing. Fast forward to the end of the day and he went down a longer run TWICE without falling at all. Seriously, he was the snow plow king. At the end of the last run, he pumped his fist in the air, yelling "I did it!" It was priceless and reminded me that perseverance pays off -- you get better at something the more you do it. Most writers have heard of the million bad words thing. It's true. The more you write, the better you get. It's not always easy, in fact, some days you might want to bang your head against your keyboard (or is that just me?) but it's the ones who stick with it who make it.

2. Experts stand out from the crowd. One of the green runs we skied opened into a black diamond run. I stood at the bottom of the green run waiting for my peeps and surveyed the boarders and skiers coming down the hill. I guessed which ones were going to continue to the black run by watching how they skied/boarded the first 100 feet (yeah, I do crazy stuff like this all the time). Anyway, it was easy. The experts stood out from the rest -- and made it look like a walk in the park. Writing is no different. Though individual tastes differ, people usually agree on whether a writer is gifted in their craft. I recently judged a writing contest (which I'll blog about on a later post), but it was very easy to identify the beginners from those who had spent a lot of time honing their craft (see point #1).

3. You can't be afraid to ask for help. My son had no trouble asking us for help on the slopes when he needed it. Adults can be a touch more reluctant to admit they need assistance. Here's a tidbit from my last run. My son was ecstatic over the success of his last run and we decided to call it a day. It was after 4pm and we wanted him to end on a good note. My hubby was taking him down the mountain using the gondola. I hadn't fallen all day, save for one time my son used me as a snowplow alternative to stop himself, so I was feeling pretty confident. The gondola was the easy way down and I wasn't having that. Not when there was a 3 mile plus trail I could take with my brother.

I should have factored in the fact that the snowstorm had really picked up and the snow was blowing so hard it was difficult to see very far in front of me. I should have factored in the fact that the sun was sinking and the night ski lights had turned on, meaning the slope was not the soft powder I had skied on earlier. It was ice. I was peachy for the first mile. The second mile I glanced at the emergency phone after three spectacular wipeouts but still thought 'I don't need help.'

My 'I Need Help' Moment
Flash forward 30 seconds to the beginning of the third mile and I'm flat on my back staring up into the blinding snow. It takes a man bringing me my skis to realize I've flown out of them. My brother is a short distance down the hill trying to climb up to me. I refuse to put my skis back on and try to walk down the hill. Apparently, ski boots slip on ice too and I fall again. I.Am.Tired. Also, with the wind chill, it's 2 degrees and I'm freezing. There in the swirling snow I spot another emergency phone. My brother tells me he thinks I can make it down but it's my call. NOTE: I often tell clients in my psychology practice that asking for help is a sign of strength. I DO NOT feel that way when faced with calling ski patrol. After a minute of debate with myself, I use the emergency phone. The first thing they ask me is if I'm injured. I tell them not yet but I will be if I keep going, so they send this ski patrol guy with a big sled. It's already filled with snowboarders -- all women. Observational Note about this gender discrepancy: Either men are genetically better at winter sports or they're just as likely to ask for help on the slopes as they are with directions. The sled ride down is pretty cool and the exhausted girl behind me whispers that it's the most fun she had all day.

As I sit on my couch watching the Olympics, I don't regret the call for a second because I'm NOT injured -- physically anyway, my ego is another story. I can't wait to get back out and ski again because I'm going to ask for even more help -- in the form of another lesson and advice from my bro. In writing, critique groups are one way of asking for help in terms of making your work the best it can be. Attending conferences and reading writing blogs are other ways of seeking help in your journey to becoming a better writer. Bottom line: Don't be afraid to ask for help. Really. It makes the quality of your writing grow by leaps and bounds -- and it can save you some bodily injury.

There you have it. Any skiers out there? Anything you would add to this list? As I'm an Olympic watching nerd, I've got to get back to figure skating. Speaking of skiing, did anyone catch Bode Miller's run -- awesome!

NEW CONTEST: The wonderful Shelli from Market My Words is also having an awesome contest for both the agented and unagented. Prizes are amazing so enter here.


  1. What a day! Glad you weren't injured. I feel guilty for laughing at the image of you flat on your back. You know I luv you, right?

    Great observations! I have never gone skiing myself, but I think I could draw similar comparisons with barrel racing.

    You gals are my ski patrol.

    Oh, and I edited the other contest post before I saw this post, lol.

  2. Don't feel guilty for laughing -- I think a 3-year-old who whizzed by me on the slopes was laughing too!

  3. aw thanks for the shout out! How about skiing and writing at the same time. hmmm

  4. Yeah, that would definitely up my chances of bodily injury. :)

  5. OMG! I've never won anything in my life - woo hoo!! :)

  6. I hope this comment goes through. WONDERFUL that u take your daughter as young as she is... My daughter ski's without poles! Will be brining her son';s to ski soon. I believe the earlier the better. I come from two parents tht were born in Norway... I had a tuff time the first timeI tried in the later years.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...