Sunday, April 11, 2010

Being Rusty

blog50 It’s been a month since my daughter learned to ride a bike.

We were all really excited—now we could ride bikes as a family! Charlotte, North Carolina, has greenways that go on for miles and are nice and flat and perfect for bike riding. And, right now, with highs into the upper 70s, the weather is perfect.

My husband and son go mountain biking together on a pretty regular basis.

I was the only one who hadn’t ridden in 8 years. And my daughter was bike riding like a little maniac since she’d learned how.

“Do you want to practice a little?” asked my husband, a few weeks ago. “Before we get out to the greenway and everything?”

But I shook my head. “You don’t forget how to ride a bike,” I said. Everybody knows that.

Well, let me tell you. You might not forget how to ride a bike, but you can be really, really rusty.

I couldn’t remember how to work all the gears. Were the smaller numbers for going up a hill and the larger numbers for going down one? Or vice versa? And we started off in a gravelly area before the trail became smooth. So….I steered off the path and fell off the bike.

“Let’s wait on Mama,” my husband called to the kids.

We’ve gone riding twice since then. I rode yesterday for nearly 8 miles. And now I’m much better again, but still not quite as steady as my 8 year old daughter who rides almost every day.

I just handed in the second Memphis Barbeque book last Monday. And I had every intention on taking a short break because—I can use a break.

But while we were in Alabama, ideas started pouring in for Memphis book 3 (due in November). I wrote them all down. And then more ideas came and I thought: “Well, what the heck.” And I started writing the book.

I write every day anyway. But I wasn’t going to work on the next book yet---I thought maybe I’d try some flash fiction for fun or some short poems (I’m not a good poet, but hey—it’s worth a try.) Just to keep my hand in it.

But the momentum is still there from all the work I put in the last couple of months on book 2. I’m still in that world. And—I’m worried that if I take a break from it, I’ll be rusty. And I don’t want to fall off my bike.

So I’ve decided to go ahead and write the next book. But I’m not going to keep up the pace that I have for the last couple of books. I’m going to write a little less each day. I’m going to do plenty of brainstorming. I think I’m going to take a slower approach and keep the ideas flowing, but not get any more burned out.

Have you modified your own schedule either to include more writing practice, or to slow down your pace?