My parents live on a lake in Eastern Canada. Each morning at 7 am, my Mom heads down to shore to greet her duck friends. The ducks are always there waiting for her. At first there were only two or three, but now she greets up to ten ducks on some mornings. No matter how many ducks show up at the shore, Gray the duck is always there.
Gray is a large, brave Mallard that has grown comfortable with my mother. Gray was named after our cats, George and Raymond – [G]eorge for his daring spirit and [Ray]mond for his voracious appetite. Unlike the other ducks who wait patiently in the water until Mom scatters the cup of seed for them, Gray marches right up onto shore, often meeting my mother partway up the lawn and following her down to shore.
Mom gives Gray his own little pile of birdseed before moving on to scatter seeds for the rest of the raft of geese (For the record, I had to look ‘raft’ up. Ducks that travel in groups go by one of six names – who knew!).
Now, you’re probably wondering what Gray the brave duck has to do with writing. When my mother called to tell me about Gray, we ended our call by saying something to the effect of, “That just goes to show you what bravery will get you.” This got me thinking about bravery and writing.
[Warning – I’m about to get philosophical here. Bear with me, it’ll only last a minute.]
As a duck, if you spend your time treading water, waiting for seeds to be placed in front of you, you’re going to get a whole lot less birdseed than the duck who marches up on shore and finds his own pile of seed. As a writer, if you spend your time writing away, waiting for someone to notice your work, you’re going to end up with fewer opportunities than the writer who puts themselves out there and goes after what they want.
So, Gray the duck has reminded me that it’s time to take the leap and get my creative writing out there! I’ve been fine tuning a short story that I think I am juuuust about ready to enter in a contest. As such, I’ve also been doing research on writing contests (thankfully, there are a lot of them!). As I get ready to take another leap into the world of writing, I’ll be channelling Gray the duck’s courage.
Have you ever had an experience with nature that inspired you to take the next step with your writing? Do you find inspiration in wildlife? What gives you the courage to take your writing to the next level?