This morning, Blaze and I circled around barrels, zigzagged through an obstacle course, and made tight corners around poles. I’m not yet confident of my horseback riding skills, so I was concentrating hard during my lesson. On the other hand, Blaze kept getting distracted by the other horses and an occasional strong wind. He tossed his head, danced around, and went far faster than I wanted him to go. And to tell you the truth, I got scared.
Back at the stables, I asked my riding instructor how I could control the horse better the next time I felt myself panic. She explained that Blaze and I were exchanging nervous energy, which made us both ineffective on the ride.
“Next time you’re afraid,” she said, “just go back to the basics. Remember to use the skills that you know. There may be times when you aren’t able to control your horse, but you’re always in control of yourself and your own fears.”
Driving home, I thought about how this riding lesson also applies to my novice adventures in writing Young Adult fiction. The class I’m taking is putting me through my paces; I’m definitely testing my skills. When my dialogue falls flat, deadlines are looming, and my plot line’s spinning out of control … well, to tell you the truth, I get scared. But next time I panic, I’ll try to remember that I am a competent writer who knows the basics, and that I have what it takes to control my own fears.