Writing is like riding

Hello roadsters! This blog post is long overdue, but, like the old saying goes, better late than never. Since our last century-ride in September, my father and I are happy to announce that we are back in action. It feels good to be back.

While Ralph continues strength training for his back and core at the gym, I've returned to the bike. The stationary bike, that is. The weather has grown colder with some ice and snow mixed in for good measure. With salt and ice lining these wintry streets, it’s fit for neither man nor beast to travel.    

That's what I love about the stationary bike. Even if it’s hailing fire and brimstone outside, all I need is a good movie and I have a workout ready for the day. There’s something really freeing about not having to leave the comfort of your home to get some cardio in. It also doesn’t hurt that we have a brand new 60-inch HD television dominating the man cave.

But there is so much more going on in the Wagner household besides a new TV. I am pleased to announce that Leaving It On the Road, the book, is on track to be released in the spring of 2014. It will detail the experiences of my cross-country ride with my father and the lessons we learned along the way. It’s an exciting opportunity to take these first steps towards achieving my dream of writing my first book.

However, this was a decision made with some initial hesitation.  I was reluctant to share my work at first. Writing has always been very personal to me, and this journey has been by far the most personal experience I’ve ever undertaken in my life. I went through a lot of false starts during my struggle to find the right words to capture my story. After weeks of slow progress, I eventually grew frustrated and almost gave up writing the book completely. It wasn’t until I shared my frustrations with my parents that I started thinking about the book in a different light. I started wondering if maybe my current goal isn’t so different from my mission to cycle across America. I just need to start connecting the right dots.

So I went back to the drawing board and tried to remember how I had accomplished the ride in the first place. I remembered how each day had been an individual challenge to keep moving forward and stay motivated. On the bike, my mind would drift sometimes and I would suddenly imagine the hundreds of miles still waiting for us on the unknown path ahead. During those times like that, I’d feel a heavy weight press down on me and I quickly learned to compartmentalize my mind and focus on only this day, this next hour, these last five minutes.

I needed to start tackling my writing in the exact same manner as I had dealt with the ride. Every time I started viewing the book as a whole, I would only see the daunting amount of effort and determination it as going to take to see it finished. I lost sight of the reason I was writing it in the first place, and my creative energy was being sapped. And unfortunately, my writing suffered. 

It’s time I start applying the lessons I’ve learned towards the new goals I now face. Just like I had been willing to get up and train every day for hours on end, I needed to demonstrate that same discipline and motivation towards my passion for my writing. I didn’t ride across this country in a day, and I can’t write a book in a day either.

So stay tuned as I continue to move forward with the realization of this goal. I will also be covering my training for the upcoming Charlottesville Marathon, taking place April 5th, 2014… because even when I try to contentedly write a novel, the road still calls to me.

Danielle Rivenbark