The Road Less Cycled

Last month, I received a bicycle for Christmas.

I hadn’t been on a bicycle since before my son (a college freshman) was born, but I’ve missed the “honest exhaustion” of cycling. I’m not an exercise nut by any stretch of the imagination–my favorite exercise is the Coffee Mug Lift–but in rediscovering my love of bicycling, I’m learning some other important lessons too.

Today, I’m talking about the choice to take the “road less cycled.”

13L25 American River Bridge

When you live in an urban area, where almost every road has a bicycle “path,” it’s common to see cycles and cyclists on the streets. Some have fancy cycling gear, while others (like me) wear jeans, ski jackets, and well-worn sneakers. It’s not what you wear that matters, though–it’s the fact that you get in the game.

Writing works in a similar fashion. Some authors write their novels longhand. Others use computers, word-processing devices, or even tablets. Some write in coffee shops. Some write at home. Some have many hours to focus, while others do their best between bottle-feedings and dirty diapers.

It isn’t your speed that matters. It isn’t about your word count, your publication status or the college degrees that hang on your wall (or not).

Writing is a journey, and what matters is that you take it.

I see amazing things on the bike trail, if I take the time to look around me.

13L28 Coyote


Writing takes me to those places too.

The choice to write–like the choice to cycle–involves a daily fight against the “easier things” that eat up time. It forces us to make a choice, and stick to it, day by day. The good news? Writing, like cycling, does get easier. The habit forms, and then the addiction grows.

If writing was easy, everyone would do it. If finishing a novel was as simple as eating cupcakes, reaching a healthy Novel Mass Index wouldn’t be hard.

Writing isn’t easy, but the choice is worth the struggle. In the end, it leaves you feeling just as good as a ten-mile bike ride (and sometimes, just as sore). If you’re struggling to write–or to follow any other dream, remember: take it day by day. Never give up, and never surrender.

13L29 Road and trees

The harder, and less traveled road, is always more rewarding.

What’s your biggest challenge, in writing or otherwise? What’s the hardest obstacle to your dreams – and how will you work to overcome it this week?