Wow! For about 20 breathtakingly stressful minutes, I watched the high-wire artist Nik Wallenda toe his way into the history books by walking on a high wire across the Grand Canyon sans net or safety wire. Stunning! Scary! Soul-defying! Satisfying! It was an amazing experience it was to see this incredible event happening in real time!
From what Nik said in an interview, walking across the Grand Canyon had been a dream of his since his childhood. His wife, also an aerialist, said that they had known each other as kids and he was driven to pursue his dream. Happily, despite wind and dust, Nik made it from one side of the Canyon to the other.
What does all this have to do with writing? Well, for one thing, I’m sure there’s a book in Nik’s future! But apart from that, during the show surrounding Nik’s high-wire walk, several themes emerged that we’d do well to keep in mind as we ply our trade:
Support matters: Nik’s walk took only 20 minutes or so, but it was in the planning stage for years and he had a small army of people to help him, most notably, his father and uncle, who oversaw his cable preparation. He also received encouragement from wife and kids and his large extended family. As a seventh-generation Wallenda, he’s part of a proud tradition. As we all know, support makes a huge difference.
Practice matters: Though Nik cross the Grand Canyon for the first time during this historic event, he practiced for the 20+ minute journey relentlessly. Using huge fans and taking advantage of a Florida hurricane, he walked the high wire many miles and in many different weather conditions to prep himself. The more he practiced, the more confident he became. The same is true for us.
Focus matters: When Nik is gets on that high wire, he’s in his element; that wire is his world and he lets everything else go. He talked about how he calms down and gets into a zone as soon as he steps on the wire: It’s his home, just as the page is for us. His concentration was amazing: Footfall by footfall, he crossed a huge chasm and fulfilled his dream. Word by word, we can do the same. Write on!