There’s a carnival game I love called Roller Bowler. The objective is to propel a bowling ball over a hump on a metal track. Sounds simple, but it’s not so easy. Too little force, and you won’t make it over the hump in the first place. Too much force, and the ball will go racing over the hump, rebound against the rear wall, and come hurtling right back at you. Either way, you lose.
Daily writing sessions are like Roller Bowler for me. If I don’t bully myself a little bit, I can easily waste the day running errands, surfing the internet, or even cleaning the house. But if I push myself too hard, I can end up sucking all the joy out of my follow-your-passion pursuit. For me personally, that kind of negative energy creates an even bigger obstacle than regular old distractability.
But if I apply just the right amount of pressure, that’s when the magic is unlocked. Like a Roller Bowler ball settling into the valley of its track, I find myself comfortably in the zone. The minutes pass by without my even noticing. My fingers fly, and my words fill the page with tension, imagery, and snappy dialogue. I’ve won the game.
Again, sounds simple, but it’s not so easy. How do you find that balance between too much force and not enough?