Surfing, Writing and Life: What My Daughter’s First Lesson Taught Me



Yesterday, I took our oldest daughter to a friend’s birthday party – a surfing birthday party. Okay, okay, it’s a SoCal thing.


Helped by professional instructors, the girls got wetsuits, boards and surfing lessons, many for the first time (like for ours). The girls studied posture and technique on the sand, then spent the rest of party going out into the water with the instructors, rotating constantly after three waves each, trying to stand up on the board and ride their first wave.


For two hours, basically, I stood on the sand watching and taking pictures of my girl falling. Falling. Over and over. Trying to get up but falling over, and over. Wipeout. Same with many of the other girls, though it seemed (for this typically oversensitive parent) that it was happening more to my daughter.




Again and again, the patient instructor took her out, even farther out, into the water, got her positioned, and they tried again. And again.




After what seemed like a long time — BAM! She was able to get up, WOO HOO!



But she fell off after not even a second or two.


And then more and more of this. Over and over. Getting up and falling, up and falling. So many near misses are on my camera, where I anticipated a great moment or shot, only to capture one of her falling either right before or right after she got her footing. I didn’t want to show my feeling to her, but I wondered: how could this possibly be fun for her?

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Why I Keep Giving Up and Coming Back Again


I know I’m not alone, fellow writers. Recognize any of these?


1. It’ll never happen.

2. If it was meant to be, it would have happened by now.

3. Look how much farther so-and-so has gotten.

4. He/she writes so much better than I do.

5. I write so much better than he/she does – why are they more successful?

6. I’ll never be famous or get to those awards shows.

7. It’ll never be as I imagined.

8. I’m just going to give up. There’s no point.

9. It’s too late.

10. I’ve lost my voice.


There are those days when the glass is half-empty, where everyone else is doing it right and you are doing it wrong, or at least not good enough. No matter what your creative goal is — first publication or production, or second or tenth, or ramping up your craft and career — there are days you just want to give up.

What is the answer?

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