Monday, August 8, 2011

Tying My Own Dang Shoes



Remember how frustrating it was learning to tie your shoelaces? I remember and liken it to learning to write better.


There are those who’ll simply tie your shoes for you. They’ll crunch down until you hear their knees crack and they’ll slip loops together, making it look seamless and easy. We’ll call these people editors.


There are those willing to show you how to tie your shoes even if it takes over a hundred tries. They model the action for you, hands busy with their own shoeslaces, hoping you’ll snag the appropriate steps as you witness. We’ll call this group mentors or authors of excellent books you’ve read.


Then there’s Velcro (or slip on shoes). The cop out. I don’t want to settle for Velcro. I’m not much of the formulaic, do it like she does it kind of writer. We’ll call this becoming an imitation writer.


When it came time for me to learn how to tie my shoes I studied, I concentrated…and I practiced. (And as with tying my shoeslaces, I did (and still do) my share of flubbing. I end up with floppy strings more than I care to admit.)


I’m a hands on learner. I can be reading six books at once, and though I happen to believe reading is an essential tool to help develop stronger writing skills, it’s actually sitting down to write that incites the most improvement. I’m in the 'I want to tie my own dang shoes' camp.


And now I’m all about the double knot.


What shoelace tying camp are you in? Do you see value in studying how others improve while establishing your own shoe tying groove?


*photo by flickr

22 comments:

  1. I want to tie my own dang shoes as well! I blog and journal to get me in the groove of writing every day and improving my skills. I will also be taking some classes, and if I came across someone who would mentor me, I'd be very happy. I couldn't stand to have someone do something for me, because I would think that they deserved the credit.

    tiannamae.blogspot.com

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  2. Great post, Wendy. I'm working on double knots as well. Funny thing, you talking about Velcro shoes.

    I had an experience with a velcro wearer this weekend. You can't take short cuts. You can't skip studying. You can't write on a whim and expect to see the same fruits of those who've been working on their laces for years.

    And most importantly, you must have a teachable spirit.

    Perfect post.

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  3. You know what, I'm thinking I'll be learning to tie these shoes forever..at least perfecting the tie. I don't believe you are ever done learning how to write. There is always more to learn, more to perfect. But getting to a point where the laces at least stay tied would be awesome and I think that'd be when publication comes.

    The road from there won't be easy, but what a nice spot to continue to work from!

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  4. Love it, Wendy. I want to tie my own dang shoes too. And like you, I learn and grow the most when I'm crouches down low, knotting up those laces.

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  5. I love this. I've got the basic shoe-tying strategy down. Sometimes I even manage a double-knot. The problem is that it never looks quite right in the end. It's awkward, as though I just learned how to tie. Imagine that! :)

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  6. Great comparison, Wendy! This post really struck home with me because my oldest just learned how to tie his shoes. :)
    Like you, I want to tie my own shoes, too...but I love studying others do it well! ;)

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  7. You're so dang funny! I want to tie my own dang shoes too, but I can remember trying to be an imitation writer early on in my novel writing. That doesn't work. We have to be who we were meant to be - not someone else. Learn from others, but use it to make our own writing stronger not just like someone else's.

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  8. When I was learning to tie, I watched. My mom and sibs tried to teach me. Then, one day, I walked out to the swingset and just worked on it until I got it. So, I'd say, I'm at first an observer. I'll listen to directions, then go figure out my own way of doing things.

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  9. Coming here is like feeling a fresh cool breeze against my cheeks in the middle of a blistering hot walk.

    Love this analogy, and I'm knotting those laces right beside you. :)

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  10. I'm still trying to get my shoe on .... but ME DO IT! ME DO IT! :)

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  11. You're posts always amaze me Wendy! I just love the way you think...and make me think. ;)

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  12. I am still in the shoe store, sadly.

    Loved this analogy!!

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  13. Tie my own, double knot camp. Fun post!

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  14. Awesome analogy, Wendy! Six books at a time? Wowsers, I can usually juggle about three max. :)

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  15. I want to tie my own dang shoes. And if I don't get it right the first time, I'll watch others, go back, and try again and again and. . . I say I'm tenacious. My parents always said I was a Sherman tank--small but determined. And more capable than one might think.

    My biggest problem is that when I get the danged things tied, I will look at the result, tend to find fault with it, and think I need to start all over again. I need to tie the danged shoes and leave the laces alone. =)

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  16. Love this. I'm tying double knots.

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  17. Oh, yes. I'm learning how to tie my own perfectly, while very closely studying the way others tie theirs.

    Awesome analogy, Wendy. Hugs!

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  18. I try to tie my own shoes, then I get all distracted by whether or not the loops are the same size, if the knot is tight enough, etc. :) I'll keep practicing though!

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  19. Ya know, I never cared for Velcro shoes. Yeah, they were convenient. Fast. But I always knew that while I was making life easier for me in the moment, I was making life harder for my kiddos in the long run.
    So, I'm a "I'll tie my own dang shoes" person--and a "I'll teach you to tie your own dang shoes" person too!
    ;o)

    Love the way you think, my friend!

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  20. Man, I love velcro for my kids. My husband is a fan of the better bow, which he swears by.

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  21. I can't help think about running shoes and starting out with them tied so nice and half way through a run, one shoe comes untied. I bend down and retie...continuing on my merry way. Sometimes its frustrating, sometimes joyous.

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