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That’s me. With a bike chain and a flat tire. And a YouTube video playing (which, of course, you can’t see or hear) called “How to change a flat tire on a bike.” Or something like that. And a friend decided to snap a pic.
It wasn’t a big deal, really. I just hadn’t done it before. See, I ditched my car—sold it—and bought a bike. Yeah, yeah, the car was worth more than just a bike, but don’t get me started or I’ll tell you a long story.
Bikes are great, especially if you live in Florida where it’s almost always warm. Almost always. (Yes, I own gloves, scarves, and a warm jacket. In Florida!) And they’re especially awesome (bikes, that is) if you live in a small city with tons of trails and bike paths.
Thing is, bikes get flat tires more often than cars do, at least in my experience. And you have to change them. The front tire is no big deal. But the back tire? The tire and wheel that’s all rigged up in the chain and all twenty-one gears? It’s a wee bit of a learning curve, and it takes some practice.
And that’s true of anything worth doing. I wasn’t born with a penchant for writing or any particular ability. I had to practice like everyone. Sure, I’ve been an avid reader as far back as I can remember; I read my first (adult) novel at seven, though I’m sure I didn’t understand much more than the words and basic story. Lucky me, I had an older sister and a mom who read a lot, and when they were done with their books, I snapped them up. I read young adult books too, like The Black Stallion series and an old set of Nancy Drew mysteries. They were great, and my sister and I had a blast poking fun at the characters and how old-fashioned they were.
But I was reading. And I took my love of reading to college and majored in English Lit for both undergrad and grad studies. And I continue to read—when I’m not writing.
And it’s the same with my bike. I’ve always known how to ride a bike, or so it seems. But to get really good, especially navigating in traffic and tight spots, meant I had to practice, just like with changing a flat tire. Doing something over and over and challenging myself to do it better or faster means my skills grow. And changing a flat tire now takes me about ten minutes. No YouTube tutorial required.
And that’s how I am with everything I do. Whether it’s fiction writing, freelance editing work, or writing an article or a blog post, I challenge myself. Bigger, better, faster. More accurate, more interesting, more helpful, more riveting. How could I do anything different?
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