Getting back on the Bike

Happy Spring Break! As Minnesota thaws out, I’m excited to spend more time outside in the sun. In particular, I can’t wait to spend more time on my bike. And maybe it’s just because I work it publishing, but I realized this weekend that a lot of the way I think about my bike applies to writing as well.
This winter was my first time biking to work 5 days a week during the winter. It was definitely challenging at times – this winter was a brutal one to get started on. There were also quite a few days where I decided it wasn’t worth it and just took the bus instead. Writing a new story and winter biking, like a lot of tasks, are hardest at the start. Once you’re out the door, it’s that much easier to believe it’s possible to face a -40 wind-chill. Once you’ve started typing, it gets easier to fall in love with your idea and follow its development. Even in the age of endless internet distractions.
Over the weekend I also spent several hours giving my bike a thorough deep cleaning. It was great to get all of the winter salt and grime off of my bike, though slightly horrifying to see all the dirt that had accumulated. It took quite a bit of time, as well as removing some parts to get to hard-to-reach spaces, but I did manage to get it all cleaned up. Editing – to me anyway – is also a type of cleaning. Even the roughest rough draft can come out sparkling if you put the time in. And like a silent bike, the reader doesn’t always realize the work that goes into great editing – but they will notice if the text is “squeaky.”
And just like riding a bike, even after a long break, it’s easy to start writing again and remember why it’s wonderful.
–Liz Niemer