Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Is Writing Like Riding a Bicycle?

Hey everyone!

I'm taking a little break to ask a question. While in study mode, my brain is trying to remember the differences between CLL, CML, AML, and ALL. But somewhere a little writerly voice inside is whispering, "Did you forget?"

ME: "What? I'm busy. AML has Auer rods. CLL has smudge cells..."

Little Voice: "You know. Did you forget how to write?"

ME: "Hairy cell leukemia has...hairy cells. I'm busy, stop pestering me."

Little Voice: *whimpers*


So I ask you. Have you ever been away from writing long enough that you worried whether or not you could, you know, write again?

Is writing a "use-it-or-lose-it" skill?

Am I doomed?



If you didn't get a chance, check out this week's Blog Chain on putting yourself in your writing. This week is by the fabulous Danyelle Leafty!

Check out my post from last week, and the week before by Laura Diamond. And stay tuned for next week's post by Zoe Courtman!

49 comments:

Alesa Warcan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer Shirk said...

Actually, yes! Even how I plot wasn't working and I had to figure out something different. I did panic a little and though, "Oh, no! I don't know what I'm doing anymore!" LOL But it does come back. Eventually. :)

Robert Guthrie said...

Writing skill can atrophy from disuse. Yet after a strenuous work out it needs rest in order to rebuild. And the next day is even better.

Jan Morrison said...

Oh yes, I've had long periods of not much writing. The only thing I'd be wary of, is starting a manuscript and then staying away from it - in that case even an hour a day would make a difference - just to keep the fictive dream alive...
good (p)luck with your endeavors!

Jennifer Walkup said...

I think you're fine. Just like writing a bike. You may be a bit wobbly when you come back to it, but in no time you'll be off riding smoothly again.:)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Since I started writing a few years ago (eek! where did the time go?), I haven't taken much of a break from writing. Seriously, I can't take a break for several hours without getting all shaky and sweaty. ;)

Renae said...

You will be just fine. I've taken breaks before and I swore at the time that I would forget everything. But once you sit down in front of that keyboard it all comes back!

Patti Lacy said...

I think it's the human condition of inertia!
Every time I get out of writing (vacation, other work, etc) I dread touching the keys again.

They quickly find their old grooves (yes, I even have letters worn away on this keyboard) and I realize the break refreshed and renewed me!!!!

Patti

Clarissa Draper said...

You won't forget. You may just have to touch up your skills a bit.

My niece has ALL.

CD

Matthew Rush said...

Well I haven't really been writing long enough to know for sure ... but my feeling is that the talent and the drive never go away. It's just the little things like revising well, writing proper grammar and believable dialogue and such that get rusty.

DL Hammons said...

I stopped writing for fun 32 years ago and when I came back to it two years ago it was like slipping on a well worn glove. Some of the technical stuff takes a while to come back, but the instinctiveness was there right away.

Don't sweat it!

Kelly said...

I do think that taking a break (a few weeks) from writing is okay as long as it isn't months and sometimes letting a wip sit can be good. Though it can be hard to get back into the writing routine. But once you do, you find your way again!

B.E. Sanderson said...

I've worried about it - especially during that 9 month stretch where I wallowed in misery and rejections - but after I got past being a little rusty, I could do it. I don't think you're doomed, just pre-occupied right now.

Karen Lange said...

I am sure that you will jump back into things with no problems at all! I think it is like riding a bike; you might be a tad wobbly to start, (if at all) but it all comes back, and then some!

Theresa Milstein said...

Writing is just like hopping back on a bicycle - you'll still have it. Of course, the usual writer's ride is more like mountain biking on a single track.

Amie B said...

oh my gosh yes!! every time i finish a book and take a break i always worry if i can write another one. but that worry is for nothing, because yeah, it's like riding a bike. even with a break, the skill is still there!

Alexandra Crocodile said...

Not according to my logic; if it's a skill you were born with, you'll always have it. But if you have to learn it, you might lose it if you don't practice. Of course, riding a bike is the exception to that rule;)

storyqueen said...

You are not doomed!

(But I am a little superstitious...I write every day (almost) because there's that little voice that tells me if I get out of the habit, it's curtains for me....so I know where you are coming from.)

Good luck!

Shelley

Janet Johnson said...

Definitely not doomed. I've taken time off, and I do usually have to write a bit to shake off the rust.

Good luck with the recertification! My hubs has Step 3 on Monday. He's pretty nervous.

Bathwater said...

It is something you need to use. Writing comes very hard for me. The longer I am away the worse I am.

Maria Zannini said...

You shocked me to attention with the hairy cell leukemia reference.

A good friend of mine had it. Ironically, he survived that but died a year later of a massive heart attack. Even more ironic, he was in better physical condition than most 20 year olds. Go figure.

But to your question. A little break usually helps me write better. I think it's because even when I'm not writing my brain is processing the things I read. It's working even when I'm not.

Such a good brain. :o)

Laura Pauling said...

I think you can get rusty but I don't think you can lose what you have learned. But I've never tried that out by being away from writing for a long long time.

Alice said...

Hey Lyd. Like the postings. The hairy cells are freaking me out.
I think you write in your head all the time and you may not know it. Even if you've taken time off from the keyboard or pen. No?

lbdiamond said...

Yeah, it'll come back to ya, Lydia! I promise--I had a month away for oral board prep & picked it up right after...in fact, I had an even better idea than before! ;)

Melody said...

You won't forget - it's part of you. :)

But I will tell you this: I know from experience that when you leave writing, it's NOT EASY to get back in 'the groove'. In fact, it's REALLY REALLY HARD.

So I would recommend keeping yourself in shape...just with random stuff, even. It's worth it.

Jolene Perry said...

Ride around the block a few times before climbing (or gliding) your first hill ;)

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Lydia, I think sometimes a little vacation from your WIP can actually work wonders, if it doesn't go on too long. It gives you fresh perspectives. Sometimes, too, it helps to write on some other WIP, keeping the skills and love of writing going, but giving you a break if you've gotten into a rut with the first.

Carol Kilgore said...

I know what you're feeling. But it's a bit like riding a bicycle. The front wheel may wobble at first, but before you know it, you'll be zooming right along.

Study. Now.

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

I don’t know. I think we get better the more we write but significant breaks in writing can lead to a better writing too. We learn more about the world and ourselves. We come back more focused.

Nicole MacDonald said...

Never ever doomed - sometimes a good break is just what the doctor ordered *grin*

http://damselinadirtydress.blogspot.com

Char. said...

I think it is like riding a bicycle. Well personally, I would say skateboard, because those are a little more harder to get back on.

You see, after not riding for a while, it feels weird getting back on. But at least you don't fall flat on your face. Which I think is actually pretty good. So yeah, I don't think you can "un-learn" writing, but like playing piano or singing or something, you can slip?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I worried that I had, but now that I am in the groove with my current project, I guess I didn't forget. Just takes time to resume one's pace.

Sandy Shin said...

I have definitely taken (multiple) breaks from writing before -- my writing is invariably more awkward when I start writing again. But it's something that'll come back within a few thousand words. :)

Good luck on your boards recertification!

Anonymous said...

Wow neat! This is a really great site! I am wondering if anyone else has come across something
similar in the past? Keep up the great work!

Jackee said...

Funny dialogue!

Yes, it's happened to me before. Just when my second child was born and there were so many complications (bed rest before, NICU after) that I put away writing for quite a few months.

But don't worry, it all came back. I also had a better perspective too. :)

Krispy said...

No worries! You're not doomed. It will probably be hard to start again, but starting again is always hard. :)

KEEP UP THE STUDYING!!!

Heather said...

I have taken a long hiatus from writing before. Don't worry, you won't forget and it's not a use it or lose it kind of thing. You'll come back even stronger!

Samantha Bennett said...

I second Heather's comment. I've also taken long stretches in between work, and I feel my writing returns stronger. So, rest away!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Medeia Sharif said...

I think it's like riding a bicycle. I've been on hiatus before and went back into the swing of things.

Heather Taylor said...

I've been away from writing for at least a month now and I'm working to get back into it. Procrastination makes me very lazy, but it's tough to get out of once you're in it. It sort of envelopes you in a hug of "mmm, maybe tomorrow I'll do it" feelings. But now that I'm going back into and ignoring the procrastination call, I feel more fulfilled and better :)

Lisa Gail Green said...

Lydia - NO WAY!! You won't lose it at all, but you probably miss it and can't stop thinking about it. Writing seems to get under your skin like that. I've been doing it on and off for years and years, but only a little over a year ago "committed" myself. I'm having the time of my life. You'll come back to it too, no worse off than before and you'll have more experience to draw from. It's a win win.

Lynn said...

Oh yes, I can relate! I've been away too and wonder if all I learned will be forgotten, my writing muscle gone, gone, gone from lack of use. But I think muscles have memory, correct? That when you work a muscle that was once there before, it does come back quicker and stronger than when you were first developing it. I hope I'm right, for writing sake!

Phoenix said...

I suffer from the opposite - I've been writing for as long as I can remember - but sometimes I write so long that my mind starts to draw blanks and I go, "The? Is that how you spell the world 'the'? T H E? Um....I should rest my brain now..."

Walt M said...

I've been focused lately on editing. I want to get back to writing, but worry that I need to stay focused on editing.

Mohamed Mughal said...

In my case, it's like riding a tricycle.

Anonymous said...

I never comment on blogs, but this one is awesome! Thanks. haircuts

Anonymous said...

I agree with you.financial assistance

Anonymous said...

If you could email me with a few suggestions on how you made your website look this excellent, I would be thankful.

financial help