A strong, steep riffle crosses the stream, funneling the flow into a deep pool that is strewn with large boulders. As the water deepens, the color darkens and seams of flow line up around each boulder. With a strategic progression of casts, you know you’ll pick up a few trout. It looks like the perfect run for an angler.
I pick through the seams, I change flies, I add split shot, and no results. I get hung up on the bottom a couple times and lose some flies. But no fish. Throughout the morning, I caught fish in the slow edges, in small pockets, riffles and the lesser runs. The two best runs of the day, I spent 30 minutes fishing each of them and I caught zero fish.
This morning I was able to get out for a few hours on the water. The cold mornings help me feel like I’m putting in a strong effort with the hope that I’ll be rewarded with a bigger fish than normal. Walking up to that big run generates the feeling that I am looking at an opportunity and I need to seize it. But I often find that the opportunities aren’t always where your first instinct directs you. You must be on the water, putting in the effort to find the rewards, being open to what presents itself to you.
Getting distracted by shiny objects is a statement I hear in response to people dropping one project or pursuit for the next big thing with some promise. Easy distractions and shifting attention cause us to miss the things in front of us. I recently joined Writing In Community through Akimbo and as part of the community we are asked to write daily. Stay writing, stay on the water, see what you generate and what comes to you.
I’ve written 21 rough draft chapters of a novel in less than a month. I declared that I wanted to write a rough draft of the book by the end of the year in January. I had some ideas, some character names, and pieces of stories, but until I committed to writing every day, I produced very little. The same is true for my time on the water. The more I experience and the more time I give to see what there is to explore, the more I learn. I see the places inside me that help me connect to characters I want to write about and read about. I get feedback from other writers that help motivate me and help me to see what my fear and self-doubt obscure. There are times on the river I try to cherry pick the best water, but I often have the most success when I am open to seeing what I haven’t seen before. My assumptions are left behind and my explorative mind is engaged.
In my blog post There Has to Be One in There I discussed my tactics and commitment to changing my approach and making the most of the water. The tactics I identified are great to process through and can aid your success. But through my recent times on the river and my experiences through Writing In Community, I am exploring the benefits of showing up each day and being open to what comes to me. I am grateful for the progress I have made, the support of the community, and the encouragement to keep learning and growing. The only way to start is to show up and the only way to take on new things is to be open.