I love roller coasters. Always have, probably always will. That rush of adrenaline you get as you near the top of a hill, the way your stomach drops when you hit the valleys–I love it all. I love feeling the wind on my face as my body reaches speeds I would otherwise have not known. I love hanging upside down for those few short moments–the moments where your body feels suspended and gravity melts away. Each second of the ride feeds the next and each second is an important part of the experience.

I remember the first coaster I ever rode that had a loop–Six Flags, Two-Face: The Flip Side. I remember my mom going with me (Dad’s not a fan of coasters). We waited in line for an hour for that short few minutes of body flinging and, to me, it was worth it. The second the train stopped, I was ready to go again. I was hooked. Something interesting happens when we push our bodies to the limit–whether it’s an adrenaline rush, physical workout, some fantastic feat we never imagined we could accomplish. The interesting part isn’t just physical, though; it’s mental. Our minds are amazing machines. Memories don’t just hold images, glimpses of some past event, they also hold feelings. Isn’t it amazing how recalling a memory can render the same emotions we felt at that given time? Minds our magical.

Writing is like a roller coaster. I’ve come to the conclusion everything we do in life is. There are always highs, there are always lows, and sometimes there are the moments between where we just cruise along. We hang onto the momentum and press forward, sometimes running out of steam to climb the next hill (that’s what chain climbs are for, right?) Even roller coasters need help climbing sometimes. So it has been for me with writing. Some days I have to climb the hill (sometimes I need help to do it!) and other days I cruise along, working off the momentum of previous days.

Climbing the hill means you have to fight against gravity. Sometimes I have to fight my mind to get words on the page. But when I get to those crests and gravity starts to work with me, I realize all the effort is worth it. That rush is worth every ounce of strain and effort.

Writing is a challenge, but it’s one I’m glad I decided to face. The benefits out weigh the struggles. The more I write, the easier it is in some ways. It’s easier to get the thoughts onto paper (well, screen technically) and I can see so much improvement from when I began. In other ways, it’s more difficult. I suppose I have begun to hold what I write to a higher standard as I continue to learn. Not a bad thing, just makes me more critical of myself at times. I often remind myself of something my dad always said: “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. It doesn’t do any good to practice the wrong way.”

Perfection is a difficult achievement in all aspects of life. So, we take it one piece at a time. We perfect one small part, and then we move onto the next. Progress is often small and unnoticeable, but eventually we reach the top of the hill, and that is when we see just how far we’ve come. Those are the moments that give us perspective, give us a sense of accomplishment. And even if we see more hills lie ahead, we gain the confidence to climb them, to keep going, because we know the ride is worth every second.

Today I’ve reached the top of a hill. I have completed 50% of Book 3. I can look back and see how far I’ve come. I can look forward and see I’ve got a long way to go! But I’m getting there and, most importantly, I’m enjoying the ride.