Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Most of you probably know I'm a New England Patriots fan. (Stop groaning, okay, you're not a fan--that's not the point). I've discovered that writing is very similar to football.
1. There's a game plan. In football, it's the how the offense and defense will run plays and blocks. In writing, it's plotting out your article or novel.
2. There's a goal in mind. For players, it's winning the game. For writers, it's finishing the manuscript and getting a contract.
3. The coach is your best friend. Bill Belichick guides and advises the Patriots. Your editor coaches you, advises you how to polish your writing.
4. There are awards. In football, there's Most Valuable Player, nomination to the Pro Bowl, and the biggie, the Superbowl Championship. For writers there is the Crystal Kite from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the Pushcart and Faulkner awards, and our biggie, the Pulitzer.
5. There are fans. In football, we wear the jerseys and cheer on our teams. In writing, we buy the books and talk about our fave authors. There are crazies on both sides.
6. There is a rule book. In football, it's the NFL that decides what a team can/can't do. In writing there are hundreds of 'rules of writing' books, plus so many unspoken rules (i.e. don't diss editors and other writers.) Some play by the rules, some don't.
7. There are sore losers. The Brady-pass-to-Edelman-for-the-winning-touchdown was perfectly legal. Some fans (and members of the losing team) are complaining it wasn't fair. It was; accept it and learn from it. In writing, some authors get big awards or contracts or make the bestselling list, and mid- and lower list authors cry "No fair!" It's one thing to say 'oh man, I wish my book was a bestseller-made-into-a-move', and another thing to waste so much time trashing another author. Sometimes a complaint is justified, i.e. penalties on the field, or, bringing attention to inaccuracies/plagiarism to correct the situation. It's not always successful, but you have to move on. Stop getting nasty, you're the one it reflects more poorly on.
8. Be kind to the fans; they love their team/author. They are the biggest supporters. My brother is a Dallas Cowboys fan, my middle son a Philadelphia Eagles fan, my youngest an Atlanta Falcons fan, and the hubs a NY Giants fan. We joke and tease and brag about our teams, but after the game, we peacefully eat dinner together. In books, my oldest son loves hardcore sci fi, the hubs loves non-fic, especially bios, the middle guy military science. (I love almost everything.) I buy them what they want/need, not what I like.
9. There are off-seasons. It's spring/early summer for football; no games, but players still practice, coaches refine plans and owners sign new players. In writing, we continue to write and revise during the doldrums of summer and in December when editors and agents are on vacation,
10. There are stars who seem to come out of nowhere- like quarterback Tom Brady. He was 6th round draft choice. That means ALL the teams chose who they wanted most six times before the Patriots picked him up. He wasn't a star, wasn't top choice. But that didn't stop him from breaking records and 3 Superbowl rings. Some writers are like that- like Stephanie Meyer and Twilight. You may not like her, but she's a star. There may be quarterbacks that are more talented than Brady yet don't achieve as much. There are definitely better writers than Meyer, and you may never hear of them. It's part fate, talent, opportunity, bad luck, and hard work.
Now I must go to my 'practice' and revise yet another manuscript.
And Go, Patriots!