Pushing the bikeI want writing to be like riding a bike when I was a kid.

You rode your bike as a kid because it was fun. You didn’t think about the work involved in pushing the pedals of a single speed bike up and down the neighborhood. In fact you rode up and back and around and around until you were exhausted. After a quick trip home to grab a drink from the hose you got back on your bike.

On a good day the breeze gently pushed at your back and made you go faster than ever. When you turned around, the wind blew against you but it was a fun challenge to see if you were strong enought to meet its push.

If you felt daring enough you pedaled your hardest to the top of the local hill even though your legs felt like sandbags and your lungs burned with each gasping breath.

But if you didn’t make it to the top, no worries. There was no shame in getting off the bike and walking it the rest of the way because a crazy ride down the hill waited for you at the top. Legs out, eyes wide open, and loudly screaming you flew down the hill, uncontrollably at times, until you hit the bottom and coasted as far as your momentum carried you.

You kept riding and riding and every day went a little farther than before, a little faster than before.

And even though you didn’t have anywhere to go, you kept peddling because it didn’t matter where you were going. What mattered was that you were free.

Free to do what you wanted.
Free to do something you loved.
Free to choose your own path and go as fast, or as slow, as you wanted.

When mom called from the porch you pretended you were out of ear shot, maybe even rode out of earshot, to have just one more moment of the wind in your face and the freedom of sailing in the world on your own.

Free from rules.
Free from boundries
Free from parents.

So it’s all the more interesting that the older we get the harder it is to be creative (and in my case write). We finally have the freedom we so longed for as a child. We can go, be, and do whatever we want, whenever we want. There’s no two block boundry, no checking in with mom every hour, and no 5 minute warning when the street lights come on.

There’s just us. And that is scarier than anything we ever faced as kids. When it’s just us we have all the responsibility to be and do what is “right”. We worry about all the things our parents worried about for us while we carelessly zoomed around the neighborhood.

And that’s the challenge to being free creatively. To just be in the moment of doing without worry of anyone’s expectations. We get in our own way by worrying about what “should be”. There is no “should’ in creativity. There is no “right”. There is only you, on the bike, riding wherever you decide to take yourself.

No worries. No apologies. Just be.

And that can be terrifying.

Unless you think about riding a bike like you did when you were a kid.

Riding a BikeYou just have to get on the bike and go.

Don’t worry about if you’re good enough, if people don’t like what you make, if you make a mistake, or any “what if” that pops in your head.

You just have to get on the bike and go.

It was and always is about the ride. It’s about putting pen to paper, brush to canvas, strumming your guitar, or doing whatever it is that you are burning to do.

There will be wind and sweat and hills and falls along the way. There will be coasting and jumps and wheelies too. They’ll be times you have to come in and times you sneak out when you’re not supposed to.

But in every moment you practice your craft you embrace your right and choice for freedom.

Freedom to do what you want.
Freedom to do something you love.
Freedom to choose your own path and just go as fast or slow as you want.
Freedom to be YOU.

So get off the screen and write or draw, or sing, or do whatever you do. Go as fast as you can and as far as you can. Don’t worry about WHERE you’re going and just GO. Enjoy the wind in your face, the sweat on your body and let out a howl or two of excitement. And always remember the love you have for what you do. Just have some fun.

You just have to get on the bike and go.

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