(29 of 40) One more lesson from skiing...

After writing the post yesterday, I remembered something else my skiing instructor (his name was Steve, and he was a middle-school English or History teacher. I had a major crush on him) once said to me.

He pointed down the slope at a clump of small evergreens and said, "I'm going to teach you something about teaching." (At this era in my life I was a waitress in Kelso, Washington.) "If you don't want your students to ski right into those trees, then don't say, 'Don't hit the trees,' or 'Watch out for the trees,' or even, 'Ski around the trees.' If you say 'trees,' they are doomed." Then he grinned in his devil-may-care way and said, "Okay, see you at the bottom."

I pushed off after him (clumsily, I was new at this), thinking, "Don't hit the trees. Don't hit the trees." You can guess how that turned out.

The same thing works in writing -- and in life. Don't say "I would write more if I weren't so lazy." "I could write early in the morning before work if only I didn't stay up so late at night drinking wine and watching TV."

Say (or write in your journal!) "I'm writing more." "I'm going to bed at 10:30 when my teenagers go to bed." Go to bed early. Get up early. Make time to write. Then you'll be telling the truth, and encouraging yourself to make a great run at your writing for the day...and, if you're like me, the next day and the next.

This is also why pointing out student errors in freshman composition doesn't make them better writers.

I'm sharing the only snow picture I could find, my mom's front yard a couple Christmases ago.