Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why Writers Need to Take Lessons from Bull Riders

I might have mentioned once or twice that I love to watch (read that, watch not participate in) bull riding. This whole obsession began with a funny evening, where I said to a friend, “Let’s go do something odd.” Well, the one thing going on in town that night was a rodeo event, so we headed out to a vegan restaurant and then off to the rodeo (just to make things nice and odd). And I got hooked, found Versus network and the PBR... and now, I am completely in love.

My friends still raise one eyebrow (each) at me over this obsession because I do eat mostly vegan, though, clearly, I’m not a vegan since I have a thing for leather shoes (five inch heels and cowgirl boots are nice), sushi, and bull riding. But, fortunately for me, my friends love me anyway.

This past weekend, my love affair entered a new level as I attended my very first PBR event. Bull riding. Live. What could be better? The answer: not much. I loved every minute of it, had a smile plastered all over my face the entire time and for hours after, and couldn’t help but think about what makes me love these daring (maybe crazy) men who get on bulls with the goal of staying on for only eight seconds and then running for their lives.

My thoughts about that might surprise you, and I’ve decided that we writers need to take a few lessons from bull riders.

Bull Riding Lesson 1:

Bull riding isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be. It is the most dangerous sport in existence (at least that I know of).

Writers Lesson 1:

Writing isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be. It is one of the most challenging creative pursuits in existence (at least that I know of).

Bull Riding Lesson 2:

You have to go all in. You have to be willing to risk everything to win. There are no half measures when your life is on the line.

Writers Lesson 2:

You have to go all in and risk your heart getting broken when others can’t see what you do: the beauty of your story, the connection your story could make with readers, and the utter uniqueness of all you hope to say. Even with the risks, there are no half measures when your stories are on the line.

Bull Riding Lesson 3:

The ground is very hard and occasionally squishy with bull droppings. Suck it up.

Writers Lesson 3:

The let down is very hard and always squishing with droppings of one sort or another. Suck it up.

Bull Riding Lesson 4:

Sometimes you are just plain going to get kicked in the head and stepped on by a 2,ooo pound animal. Walk it off.

Writers Lesson 4:

Something about the writing journey is always trying to squash you, whether it is your own expectations, doubts, or fears, or the interminably slow (and occasionally cruel) process of getting published. But what are you going to do? Lie down in the mud or walk it off?

Bull Riding Lesson 5:

You’ve got to have a whole lot of faith in yourself and your purpose to be willing to find greatness.

Writers Lesson 5:

Same as Bull Riding Lesson 5.

Anyone who has a dream of doing something amazing has to have faith. Maybe it comes from the religious kind of faith (as it does for many of the cowboys) or maybe it comes from inner faith in self. Either way, you have to believe you can keep riding, not just for the eight seconds but for the rest of your life.

So, Cowgirl Up (or Cowboy Up) and never give up on what you dream, because the world needs a whole bunch more dreaming doers than it needs people who just wallow in the muck.

Quote for the Day from Anonymous

“Life ends when you stop dreaming, hope ends when you stop believing, love ends when you stop caring, friendship ends when you stop sharing...”

So, let’s not stop. :)

Mike Lee (former World Champion... and in the running for this year's title) and me.


Meredith said...

Haha, I love bull riding! The rodeo is always one of my favorite events of the year. And I never thought about it, but you're totally right--you can a lot about writing from bull riding :)

Shallee said...

Love the comparisons! And bull riding is definitely awesome to watch.

Bish Denham said...

Fantastic comparisons! I have a WHOLE lot of respect for bull riders, but I personally cannot watch it. I'm too terrified I'll see someone get terribly hurt.

Laura Marcella said...

Great post! These writing lessons are excellent. Bull riding looks scary. I respect all bull riders for sure!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love it!! So glad you got to go to an official event! :)

Great lessons - I completely agree with all of yours. Awesome :)

Kasie West said...

He's really cute (and so are you). I love the comparisons. I'll try to stop wallowing in the muck. :)

WritingNut said...

Ahah... nice comparisons! I also really love that quote - it's a great reminder :)