About a week after we first started dating, Adam told me about his family’s trips to Colorado. After briefly mentioning the beautiful scenery and windy roads, he moved on to fly fishing. I learned about the sport’s meditative and frustrating aspects and his affinity for it. Any trips he took out West, it seemed, would include several days in waders and a vest. Though some of the information filtered through, I tuned most of it out because I thought I might be able to get out of it.
This spring, we finally planned a trip to Colorado. All I knew of fly fishing was that lures were artificial and learning the sport would make Adam happy. When he brought home a rod to teach me how to cast without a lure, I put off scheduling our date as long as possible. I procrastinated so well, in fact, that I only got an hour’s practice before the actual trip.
During our time in Colorado, we fished almost every day. On the fifth day, I lapsed back into messy casting habits. As the frustration and hanger mounted, I got mean. Then I got out of the water. After 10 or 15 minutes and a granola bar, I started moving again. Not long after, I caught a feisty rainbow trout.
As someone who has gotten used to doing well at her hobbies and work, learning to fish was a different experience. The most interesting lesson in it for me had nothing to do about fish, but about my approach to marketing my talents. I had been pitching ideas without an exact target or followthrough. In both fishing and writing, omitting these two steps belies sloppy technique.
Since I returned home, I have been gathering information for new story ideas and am currently in the process of drafting tighter queries and letters of introduction to editors. Though even the best worded letter or spooled out line may not get a hit, doing it well and often heightens the chances it will succeed. As the old saw goes, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.”