Posted in Writing Life

What I Learned from Figure Skating

The figure skaters at the World Championship competition, held this past week in London, Ontario, are the top skaters in the world. And they fall. They fall on their bums in front of a packed stadium, eyes upon them, and in front of TV cameras that represent the millions watching from home. They work all year–for years–for the 3 minute short program and 6 minute free skate. They are young, they defy gravity, and they fall.

At least as a writer I get the chance to revise. Being a writer is more like being a hockey player. There are good games and bad games. Sometimes you’re on, and sometimes you’re off. You get to the playoffs or you don’t. You keep playing. Because you love it.

Being a writer is sometimes lonely and sad: you’ve got no chance for a gold medal or the Stanley Cup; the Prime Minister of your country does not write a book about you. But on the flip side, you don’t get concussions and best of all you don’t fall on your bum in front of millions of people.

You can be eighty years old, like Alice Munro, and publish another good book. That is something to aspire to.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

8 thoughts on “What I Learned from Figure Skating

  1. It’s true, the great thing about writing is that you can do it alone, in warmth and comfort. Those figure skaters have some nerve, I think, and it’s a beautiful sport (to watch!).

  2. Your write, even though it takes longer for someone to see your books, and a shorter amount of time to see you preform, people always get the best from you in a book.

  3. Hello, dear Lilian. Look at all the glorious photos you’ve been posting recently, as well as all the wisdom you continue to share – I really miss you and everyone else. Grad emailed me and shamed me for my long neglect of all you dearly beloved blogging friends. I think of you all, all the time, but life has been strange and I’ve not been in the blogosphere at all. So – apologies, and so glad to see you and your writing and photography still thriving. Love from Sydney xxx

    1. Oh how wonderful to hear from you! Thank you for coming back. I’m sure life must be very full and perhaps, too, blogging just has had its day. But still I’m smiling at the delightful surprise of you here.

  4. I’m smiling at the thought of you smiling – my mood’s just improved immeasurably! I also really love the iceskating example – it’s so true. Sometimes it feels like writing is the most humiliating and difficult practice in the world, but of course it’s not even close. We’re so privileged in so many ways.

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