Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fear of falling

I had a little bit of an accident last night. My trainer's admittedly rather difficult and stubborn Quarter Horse decided to express the opinion of 'I don't want to be ridden any more'. (SOMEBODY is heading for earning himself some tough sessions on the lunge line).

He expressed this opinion by means of sudden rapid acceleration followed by two huge bucks, the second of which was a 'corkscrew' (where the horse twists to one side). Needless to say...I wasn't riding him any more at that point.

At a guess, I slammed into the unforgiving ground at about twenty miles per hour... I promptly picked myself up, caught the dratted horse and got back on. I'd warrant that quite a lot of people would not be doing that after hitting the ground that hard. My right hip...which happened to be the part of my anatomy that made contact first...is a little sore.

So. How do you take a flying fall like that and walk away from it with basically no damage? The answer is knowing how to fall. You flex your torso inwards at the stomach. This pulls your extremities inwards and reduces the risk of breaking a long bone (and also the risk of being stepped on by the horse. You don't try to keep hold of the horse...in fact, there's a point at which you just have to let go and go with the fall. But I was thinking...that's just the physical aspects. There are mental ones, too.

1. There's a saying in England: 'It takes ten falls to make a good rider'. Some riders are determined they are NEVER going to fall off. A horseman accepts that falling off is absolutely inevitable. You prepare for it, you learn how to do it correctly, and you never take it personally. Most of the time it isn't the horse's fault and even when it is, getting mad with the horse and punishing it is escalating a fight you can't win.

2. You always get back on (unless you're actually injured). If you get back on and carry on like nothing happened, then the horse never learns that shedding his rider will get him out of further work. (If you're injured, somebody ELSE should get on the horse). You don't take it personally. You carry on. You put it out of your mind.

So...in what way is all of this relevant to a writing blog? Let's reword things a little.

1. It takes a lot of rejections to make a good writer. Some writers are determined they are NEVER going to get rejected. A good writer accepts that rejection is absolutely inevitable. You prepare for it, you learn how to handle it correctly, and you never take it personally. Most of the time it isn't the editor's 'fault' and even when it is, getting mad with the editor and responding is escalating a fight you can't win.

2. You always submit again. If you keep submitting and carry on like nothing happened, then the editor knows you are a professional who does not take rejection too shard. You don't take it personally. You carry on. You put it out of your mind.

And you learn to roll with the fall so you don't get hurt.