Live to Ride – Write to Live
By Laura Drake
Most of you know me on some level – I am not an ‘old soul.’ Seriously. My method is to make every mistake possible until I finally bumble across the way that works for me. I was the one who hung back for decades, stuck in fear and my own opinions of myself.
What helped change that for me, was a motorcycle.
I rode 100,000 miles behind my husband on his motorcycle. Every vacation and three weekends out of four, we spent on two wheels. In the boring stretches, I’d prop a paperback on his back and read. Got some weird looks, but I loved it. I was content.
Then the Universe intervened. On our way home from a ten day vacation, at dusk outside Kingman Arizona, a dog ran in front of our bike. A big dog. I still remember the sound, the shock, the pain, when my knee hit the pavement and both the bike and my husband fell on top of me. He got aches and bruises; I got surgery and 6 months of rehab. The dog trotted away.
When I was able to bend my knee enough to throw it over the bike again, I discovered that had a bigger problem. I was terrified. The cars seemed much bigger, much faster, and much closer. I spent panicked hours, my sphincter holding me to the seat. This would not do. This is what Alpha Dog and I did together. This could have marital repercussions.
So a friend suggested that I take a class to learn to ride (read; the front seat.) I was horrified – who was I to think I could ride a motorcycle? But her logic made sense. If I knew how to ride, maybe I’d relax on the back. So I took the class. I loved it.
Don’t get me wrong; I was white-knuckle terrified every second. But I felt like I’d grabbed hold and taken charge of my own fate for the first time in my life. More than that, I was proud. I had done something I’d hadn’t believed I could. I began challenging my opinions of myself for the first time in my life. If I could do this, what else could I do that I’d thought impossible?
Writing a novel. I even had an idea floating around for over a year and wouldn’t go away. Emboldened by my motorcycling success, I wrote. I sucked. But I wrote. I joined RWA. I took classes. I read. I learned. I sucked less.
Fast forward, 15 years, and 413 rejections. I know that’s right, because I just added them up. I SOLD!!!!
Why did I keep writing through all those years, through all those rejections?
Because my first goal wasn’t to be published. It was to experience the thrill I found behind the handlebars of my motorcycle – the thrill of finding out I could do something I didn’t think I was capable of.
I have now logged 100,000 miles on my OWN motorcycle. My debut year, I’ll have three books released, and I’ve been contracted for a total of seven books.
So I challenge you:
What could you do, if you didn’t believe you couldn’t?