December 1st was my first day back on the ice since July. After I had ACL surgery in March my surgeon cleared me to skate (in a straight line only) around last June (of course I did more than just skate in a straight line). When I got on the ice last summer it was really hard to bend and it was painful, but being as stubborn as I can be, I pushed through the pain. And in the end, it just wasn't fun. During that period I also worked too much and neglected my therapy, and then my quad atrophied. It turned into a mess. So to be blunt, I just wasn't ready to return to skating.
When I skated on December 1st (8 months after surgery) however, it was amazing, and it was pain free. I could actually move (for the most part) across the ice like I could before my injury and for the first time I saw that I had the potential to reach my former competitive form, and perhaps with a lot of hard work maybe become even stronger. As I was taking my skates off I realized that I had never been ready over the summer to hit the ice. Ice skating is just way too demanding on the knees and I hadn't been strong enough.
And of course, as in everything in life, this made me think of writing. How we often think our manuscript is ready to query. But, it's really not. But we only realize this after we've let it marinade for awhile in our drawers. Or we think our characters are developed enough in our minds, so we throw them into a plot, which is probably under-developed also, and then you just end up with a shoddy draft.
The published books that we read make it seem so easy sometimes. I don't know how one ever knows when things are ready, when they're really good enough. Sure you can have beta readers critique, and you pick and choose through their comments and suggestions. But how do you know what you should really listen to and what you shouldn't? What if we think we're ready or good enough to ignore such and such and suggestion, when really we're not, and we should be putting more faith in other people's thoughts and suggestions. What if? When? How? I know the golden rule is to listen to your heart, but what if your heart is wrong?