Skating And Writing

I haven’t been to an ice-show for ages! About two weeks ago, one of my piano students mentioned that the Ice Revue From Russia (Circus On Ice)was in town, for two days only! I phoned my sister and asked her to check with Computicket. We discovered that the tickets were selling like hot cakes! She rushed off during her lunch break, and there were only about 15 seats left for that particular show, so we were lucky!

Now I cannot skate.

I’ve never been on the ice in my entire life.

But I can tell you that I’m not very good when it comes to balance, I can barely ride a bicycle, so I’ll probably battle to skate. Add to it the fact that those blades are thinner than an anorexic model strutting down an international ramp…

Although the lighting was a major anti-climax, on the whole, the show did a fabulous job of blending international-level figure skating with demanding acrobatics and dance routines.

The skaters did an amazing job. Lots of them looked very, very young, especially the males. Some looked barely out of their teens! But they were brilliant, skilled, poised…

The aerial work was graceful and skilful, the illusion was magical, the juggling was unbelievable, the hoola-hoop girl (managing about 20 to 30 hoops?)was stunning, and the skipping rope and unicycles were impressive.The balancing of various metal shapes was wonderful under UV light. One of my favourite circus tricks started the second half, the quick change. It is mind-boggling to  see a woman change in about three or four seconds – well, one doesn't get to see how she does it, only that it is done.

It made me think about the writing process.

I would imagine that writing, just like skating, is a balancing act.

I actually think that BALANCE is the main similarity. In a story, you need to balance the right amounts of dialogue, narration, plot development, backstory.

Here are a few other thoughts on the two:-

Butt In Chair Hands On Keyboard = Skate On Ice Whenever Possible.

A story comes to life on the page = A story comes to life on the ice.

Wonderful language and brilliant phrasing = Triple axel manoeuvre.

Skating coach is there to guide/advise = Critique partner is there to guide/advise.

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Can you skate? Is development of a good balance on ice, dependent on the rate that self-confidence grows? Which is most important in ice-skating, the physical condition or mental framework? When you write, how do you get the balance right in your story?


  1. Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Good analogy. I've been ice skating – it's fun, but you do need balance. Glad you got to see the show!

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      The show was good, but the lighting was sub-standard… quite a disappointment!

  2. Elise Fallson on May 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Going out to see a show is so much fun!  As a kid, I took ice skating lessons for a few years. I competed in one ice skating competition and came in 5th place…out of 6 competitors. Needless to say I was not very good. But I like your analogy. Good writing needs balance and consistency, same with skating. But I hope my writing is better than my skating! lol! 

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 8:30 pm

       Even if I did learn to skate (in another life time 🙂 ) my writing would STILL be better than my skating…

  3. Murees Dupé on May 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    This is all just fantastic! I tried skating once and did pretty well. Unfortunately, I am not always that good at balancing in the world of writing. Great post!

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      I think that the keyword is practise… practise… practise… and then the balance gets better and better. That would work for writing and skating (I think… though I'm not too sure about skating…)

  4. Rekha on May 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

     I enjoyed the comparision. Like everything in life, my clumsiness reflects in my writing. Sometimes good sometimes mediocre and then pffft nothing but a blank page. Critiques are still a distant reality, does any one have time for flash, poetry and short stories when novels take all their time? 
    Thanks for hanging around.  Sorry, I haven't been around much, hopefully July onwards, things will  be taken care of and I can blog as much as before.

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      Don't be so hard on yourself, Rek. We all have our good and mediocre writing moments…  and you have a wonderful imagination and write such interesting and out-of-the-ordinary pieces!

      I know what you mean about the time factor… there's never enough time… but I cannot resist the flash fiction challenges, I enjoy them too much! Although I suppose I must really spend more time on a WIP…  🙂

  5. Jocelyn Rish on May 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Nice analogies!  Figure skating is my favorite part of the winter Olympics – I'm always in awe.  I have skated a few times, and I was suprised at how HARD it is just to move forward.  They always make it look so graceful and easy, but it's hard work.  

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Aha, so skating IS hard work… yet they make it appear so effortless… and it seems like everybody has skated at some stage or the other… lucky you!

  6. Leslie Rose on May 22, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    The last time I tried to ice skate I nearly snapped my ankles off. I'm super lame, but I love watching it. I'm going to call my good chapters triple axels from now on. Cool analogy.

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      I don't feel so bad now… I like the sound of  "triple axel chapters" – good chapters that make the readers' heads spin round and round… LOL

  7. Sherry Ellis on May 23, 2012 at 1:11 am

    I was a figure skater when I was a kid.  I even had dreams of going to the olympics.  A good sense of balance is definitely a requirement to achieving success as a skater.  I like your analogy to writing.  I think a good sense of balance is important for becoming a good writer.  As you become a better writer, your confidence increases.

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      You were a figure skater? Olympic dreams, you must have been excellent!  Wow! Do you still skate now? Maybe from time to time?

  8. Carolyn Brown on May 23, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I am like you, have great trouble just riding a bike, but I have tried skating both ice and roller it is fun! My husband was a state champion speed ice skater and played ice hockey, this was before we met. He still has his scanky, rat infested skates packed away in a cupboard downstairs!

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      When it comes to bike-riding, I am "challenged"… LOL. Your hubby was a state champion speed ice skater? Wow! Had to laugh at the "rat infested skates" image… 🙂

  9. tara tyler on May 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    excellent analogy! i skated briefly as a kid, won a couple of medals! its hard & takes dedication, just like writing =)

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      Another medal-winning skater! I'm so impressed! Yes, it takes dedication… and consistency!

  10. Tracy Brown on May 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Love iceskating – watching it. 😉
    Balance and skill are fed by confidence. The more you pick yourself up and go for it, the more confidence you'll develop. I think this applies to both on and off the ice. 🙂

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      It IS wonderful to watch! The skaters look so poised, free, like there's nothing that can stop them…  🙂 You've captured the essence – "balance and skill are fed by confidence"! That wraps it up nicely! 🙂

  11. Anna Smith on May 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Wow they did all that stuff while on ice, amazing! Sounds like you had a great time 🙂

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      It was fantastic! I enjoyed the show! 🙂

  12. Teresa C on May 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I like your analogy. I tried roller skating in the 8th grade and fell so much I didn't go back. I wish I could skate– ice or roller. I made sure my kiddos learned. 🙂

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      I haven't roller-skated… I also never learned to swim and made sure my son learned when he was young… 🙂

  13. Cindy on May 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Nice posting and a good comparison. I know it is hard writing from the mind of A.D.D. (attention deficit) With so many thoughts combined in the mind, it is often hard getting it out so that it makes sense. 

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Writing is hard enough as it is. I really admire those who persevere, especially when faced with other types of learning challenges as well…  🙂

  14. Susan Kane on May 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Never thought about writing process as an art in balancing, gliding, juggling, or beauty.  Great analogy.

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Mmmm… balancing and juggling words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs… as well as dialogue, narration, plot development… a "circus act" with a difference…

  15. Julie on May 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Balance is very important in writing. I used to love ice skating when I was a kid, but I do remember falling down a lot. There are also good days and bad days in writing, so you just have to dust yourself off and try again. I remember being rewarded with hot chocolate back then, so things haven't really changed that much for me!  Glad you enjoyed the show!   Julie  

    • michelle on May 23, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      I suspect that the hot chocolate reward of your childhood days, has now been replaced with slab(s) of chocolate, as a reward for making good progress in writing… am I correct?

  16. mary aalgaard on May 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    And, don't forget. When you fall on your bum, get back up, shake yourself off, and try again.

    • michelle on May 24, 2012 at 7:13 am

      Yes, you have to expect those "fall-on-your-bum-moments" which are part of the learning process…  persevere… persevere… persevere…

  17. Mina B. on May 30, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Skating is all about balance. Falling down and picking yourself back up are essentials in life too. Great analogy.

  18. michelle on May 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Besides skating and writing, I think that life, in general, is all about balance… there's a time for everything… and yes, ups and downs are unavoidable… a part of life experiences… thank you Mina!

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