Tuesday, March 22

Riding and Writing, Not That Different

In Christi's post yesterday, she talked about learning as a writer at a retreat she went to (lucky girl)!

I'm going to carry her theme through here.

I grew up as the daughter of an old time cowboy, rding on dude ranches. To this day, my all time favorite activity is to ride in the mountains. I never learned leads or patterns or how to show a horse.

My daughter got into 4-H when she was eight years old. She needed to know those things to be successful. I was also her club leader. We had a whole bunch of kids who looked to me to guide them.

So I found people to teach me. I struggled to learn leads (the leg a horse reaches first with when loping). But I got it. And I learned how to teach my kids. The amount of ribbons and buckles and trophies they won is astounding.

On my trail rides, I don't have a need for lead changes, but I know them if I did.

The basics are there.

The point?

My writing career has a lot of similarities to my 4-H career. When I began, I didn't know the basics of grammar. Not the simplest things. I had a terrible education due to moving every six months until I was a sophomore in high school.

But I wanted to write. So I learned. I have taken every writing class available to me in my small town. I went to college for English-With-a-Writing-Emphasis. It didn't come easy. Like learning lead changes, I struggled. Until I got it.

Like in my 4-H years, I have the basics down now.

I know how to use grammar and other story fundamentals. I can hold my own with most other writers.

But the growing never stops. Learning never ends. I still take classes. I try to grow and learn from everyone who has knowledge I don't.

A good horseman admires all breeds of horses, respects all methods of training, learns from other horseman.

A good writer does the same.


  1. Hi, D'Ann,

    I took writing courses as an undergrad majoring in English.
    I enjoyed them very much. I always wanted to be a writer but time was limited, raising a family and teaching took up most of my time.
    So I took an early retirement and now write fulltime. Like you, I'm always learning more. There's so much to know.

  2. Hi D'Ann~~ The things we learn from training animals! They apply to kids, our lives, and writing, don't they? I have all this stuff saved up on my computer to study and learn on my down time, which I can never find. I remember learning lead changes, patterns, how to turn a scotch into slide, and how training dogs can be applied directly to my kids. LOL Yeah, the little buggers are trained to snaps and whistles too. Struggling to find our footing in unknown territory becomes easier with practice. Just like riding; just like writing. I love your posts!

  3. I think you're sooo right - we're never done learning. And if we feel we are...we need to do a serious check on ourselves. Because there is always more to learn, ways to grow, stretch and try on different ideas.

  4. Writing is much like learning any thing else that is challenging. While people can become proficient, they should never stop learning new techniques!

  5. Thanks D'Ann, I love to ride but never thought of comparing it to writing. It's funny when you think about it as I always found the horses way too intelligent for their own good. I'm beginning to see a pattern here with my characters too, lol.

  6. I've always loved the idea of riding, but the reality for me was not so great. I've fallen off almost every horse I've gotten up on. I'm finding the same thing true of writing. Every time I think I've made great strides, something (rejection, critique) comes along to remind me that I'm not there yet. I've always gotten back up on the horse; and I'll continue writing as well, no matter what.

  7. What a cool post! And now I'm trying to draw my own parallel somewhere.

  8. Yup - there are times you just want to cross that finish line and say - I'm done learning! But life doesn't work that way - it is a constant education

  9. I love learning new things, especially when it comes to writing. It keeps it exciting. Writing would be really boring if we knew everything.

  10. Great parallel! And one that can be applied to a lot of different things. Keep on learning, writing and riding!

  11. Thanks for coming by, everyone!

  12. I always enjoy your riding/writing analogies. And heaven forbid we stop learning. That's half the fun of writing is the discovery.