What Watching Ice Dancing Taught Me About Writing.

Over the last few weeks, I have been watching The International SkatingUnion Ice Dance Competitions. In the midst of an Australian Summer, it has been a delightful cool change., relaxing to mind and body.

In the last couple of days, I have been watching the crème de la crème of the skating world as they competed in the Olympics. Beyond the costumes and the glamour, these skaters are dedicated athletes practising hundreds of hours to achieve perfection.

 

Ice dancing - Skeeze cc.
Image Wikipedia.

At first, what fascinated me was how much emotion can be conveyed by body movements and facial expressions. The skaters told a story without using words.

For a writer, one who values words it created a paradox, how could this be? The more I watched the more I understood that they and I could convey a mood through body language.

As writers we are always being told to ‘show not tell’, and here it was in action, the skaters were conveying emotion,

Skaters cannot glide gracefully across the ice unless they are willing to accept the possibility of falling.

Writers cannot improve, unless they are willing to push past failure and go on to succeed.

Grace on the ice comes after gruelling hours of practice. Why do we expect writing to be any different? We too have to learn our craft, to be brave and to risk failure.

Ice dancing

After watching a few less than dignified falls I also realised that skaters are prepared to fail in public, in the pursuit of their dream.  Falls can be an issue for skaters potentiality causing serious injuries. Even if not injured, a fall can upset the flow of a good performance.But skaters have resilience, If they fall, they mentally shrug it off and get back up and keep skating. It’s a blip and not a disaster.

Writers hit a bit of stumbling block in the privacy of their own minds and so many of us just stop. Just as skaters cannot glide gracefully across the ice unless they are willing to accept the possibility of falling. Writers cannot improve, unless they are willing to push past failure and go on to succeed.

Grace on the ice comes after gruelling hours of practice. Why do we expect writing to be any different? We too have to learn our craft, to be brave and to risk failure.