Thursday, June 2, 2016

When the Writing Gets Tough, Just Keep Pedaling

by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

A few weeks ago, our youngest son decided he was ready to try riding his bike without the training wheels. My husband removed the training wheels and we wrapped him in bubble wrap secured his helmet on his head and found some knee and elbow pads before letting him go on a small slope in our backyard.

He was a natural.

I’m not just saying that because he’s my baby. No. Really. I’m not.

Within minutes he was begging to take his new skill and test it out in the cul-de-sac.

We turned him loose on the road and he did fine while pedaling down the slight slope of our street. The trouble came when it was time to turn around and head up the road. He’d make the turn but then he would reach a point where he needed to dig in and pedal harder.

Over and over again instead of pushing through, he’d put his feet down and come to a complete stop.

On the videos from that day, you can hear my voice repeating one phrase.

“Just keep pedaling.”

When things got shaky, he needed to commit to the ride and embrace the risk that came from keeping his feet on the pedals. He needed to pedal harder and keep pedaling, even as the bike felt like it was starting to tilt out of control.

Once he started doing that?

There was no stopping him.

He’s a pro.

This idea—to just keep pedaling—is also true in our writing life.

You’ve taken off the training wheels. You’ve put your work out there. You’ve submitted to an agent. You’ve attended a conference. You’ve had your work professionally critiqued.

And things have gotten shaky.

You were coasting before, but now you’ve made the turn and the road ahead is an uphill climb.

You have a handle on the basics, but putting it all together and keeping things moving forward is a lot harder than it was before.

Why didn’t anyone tell you that it wasn’t going to get easier?

Well, guess what?

It isn’t.

It’s going to get harder.

A lot harder.

The pressure, the expectations, the deadlines, the criticism, the fear. Oh man, the fear.

Everything in you wants to put your feet firmly on the ground. If you don’t, you’re certain to wipe out. Right?


Do. Not. Stop.

Just Keep Pedaling!

You absolutely positively must keep pedaling.

Every time you stop it’s harder to get going again, but when you keep pushing forward, you find your rhythm. Even though you’re working harder than you ever thought you could, at some point you realize that you’re doing it!

You’re a pro.

Pros still take a tumble now and then, but it’s not because they quit pedaling. It’s because they were pressing ahead and crashed in the attempt. There’s nothing wrong with that. And when pros hit the ground, they know the only solution is to get up and go again.

I think this would be a great goal for the Summer of 2016—Just Keep Pedaling.

Maybe, if we do that? Maybe there will be no stopping us.

Who wants to come with me on the ride?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!

"This idea—to just keep pedaling—is also true in our #writing life." @LynnHBlackburn (Click to Tweet)

When the #writing gets tough, just keep pedaling - @LynnHBlackburn on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. 

She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. 

She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after at


  1. Great visual analogy. Encouraging words. On target message.
    Pedaling on! ;-D

    1. :) So thankful to get to ride with you, Carolyn! You're such an encourager!!

  2. So true. And especially when you wrote that when you stop it's harder to get started again! Great analogy!

    1. Thanks, Beth! I'm afraid I've learned that lesson the hard way - or maybe I should say I've experienced it many times. If I'd really learn it maybe I could avoid having to try to get my bike going up a hill!! :)

  3. I've been like your son recently, Lynn! The past few years, writing's been very hard and I just planted both feet on the ground in stubbornness. BRMCWC put me back on the bike!

  4. Great post and reminder! You know, I've also found myself sometimes just coasting in a safe place instead of venturing on the harder hills. This writing adventure often means I have to choose the challenging path to keep strengthening and becoming the rider (writer) I'm supposed to be.

    1. Oh, you are so right. So much easier to coast. So much scarier to challenge ourselves with something new! Great point!!

  5. I needed this today! Joining you in your two-wheel trek for the summer :)

  6. Such a great and encouraging post, Lynn! Thank you! I love the story you shared and the perfect application for us writers. I needed to hear this!