Thoughts, Ideas and Inspiration by Melissa Earley

Skiing Right Off the Edge

It’s been close to ten years since I went downhill skiing, but a recent dream brought to mind how much I enjoyed it when growing up in Colorado.

I had a ski instructor who encouraged us to not hover at the start of the run, but to just ski right from the lift, over the edge, and down the mountain. I remember the thrill. I couldn’t see what was coming next – a patch of ice, deeper powder, a large mogul. It was about committing to the run. Our instructor said it would make us look cool (I’m fairly certain I felt cooler than I looked). I think he really wanted to push us to the edge of our skill level and boost our confidence. I remember how it felt to not hesitate and trust that I could handle whatever was just over the edge.

With that dream lurking in the cobwebs of my mind I signed up for the National Novel Writing Month. I have committed to writing 50,000 words in 30 days. 1667 words a day! I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I have a couple of story ideas but no plot outline, developed characters, or clear location. It feels a bit like running the marathon without training.

I may crash and burn. It could be a total yard sale[1]. I’ve given myself permission to flail around, not look cool, and do it “wrong.” It’s okay if I don’t actually write a novel. Entries may not be connected to each other, I may start down my first idea and get stuck and so start down another path.

I want to plunge in more in my life — to just go for it, to not hold back or worry about the consequences.  I’m ready to take risks and dare failure.


[1] A “yard sale” is a crash where the skier’s or snowboarder’s equipment, hat, goggles, etc. are strewn all over the mountain.


  1. Michael

    not familiar with that use of yard sale but totally enjoyed it

    • admin

      It’s a term I just learned and really liked it. So descriptive!

  2. Daniel

    Melissa, you are a superb writer of sermons and blog entries. Transposing your skills into writing a novel will be daunting, but I’m impressed by your ambition and wish you luck.

  3. Erin P. Gosser

    Yay! I’m excited for you (and a bit nervous). This is a big undertaking!

    • admin

      I’m nervous too!

  4. John Coult

    It was five o’clock and the hill was closed. I was last at the top of the hill, trying to gather courage to go “over the edge”. “I must start turning immediately before I am going too fast to turn”. What I did not realize was that as the shadows swept across the hill, the soft snow had tuned to ice. Here I go… OOOPS here comes a mogul…airborne… WHEEEEE…Yard Sale!! I slowly stood up and tried to recompose myself, but here comes the damn Ski Patrol “OK, move it, MOVE IT, everybody off the hill!” So over the edge I go. Same thing… oh my God I am going too fast to turn… mogul… airborne… WHEEE…yard sale!! OH %@#$ there goes one ski firing down the hill like a missile. (Thank God there was only one nutcase still on the hill!). Picked up my remaining possessions and walked down. All in one piece. The sky was blue.

    • admin

      I somehow missed your comment — thank you! Very well told. I’m glad you lived to tell about it. Thanks for sharing.

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