Writing good fiction has been compared to many things: creating great food from a recipe, a long, arduous journey, a trip to the circus.
I once compared writing to Family Court – The writing life is like family court only family court was more fun.
My favorite comparison is Vaughn Roycroft’s What building my house taught me about writing. A must read for every writer!
I was struggling with a short story a while ago, while watching a baseball game (Go Phillies!).
And boing! I realized, “Hey, writing is like baseball!”
Consider the writer as the pitcher – the dude on the mound. But the pitcher is not the only player on the field.
Long fly ball or an infield out
You pitch the ball and the batter hits it. It’s a long fly ball! The center fielder snags the ball, throws it to the cut-off man, the cut-off man throws it to the plate – runner out!
You pitch the ball. The batter hits it. The shortstop snags it, flips it to the second baseman, then the second baseman throws to the first baseman. Double play!
You may have started with the ball, but you weren’t the only player handling it.
Your pitching coach
Consider the expert editor. She/he tells you where the ball was dragging, where it was too high, where you lost control.
Is the pitcher the only player on the field? No sir!
Consider all the friends and associates who follow your Fan Page, your beta readers, your blog followers, the people who allow you to guest post. They give you feedback, they have ideas, they guide you and support you.
Looking good on the mound
And don’t forget the uniform guys. The ones who make you look good when you go out on the field. Consider what a proofreader might do for you.
The Iron Horse
Lou Gehrig played for the Yanks until his stellar career was cut short by ALS, now commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gehrig played from 1925 to 1939 and made it to the field for 2,130 consecutive games. This streak was considered unbreakable until Baltimore’s Cal Ripken, Jr., broke Gehrig’s record in 1995. Ripken went on to play 2,632 games.
Moral of the story…writing – and incredible baseball stats – are a long-haul sort of thing.
Don’t be an ass-terisk*
A few players are listed in the baseball record books with an asterisk. Why? They cheated to achieve their monumental goals (remember the guy who paid a few thousand people to write awesome reviews for his book?).
So, let’s keep it simple – do not cheat.
See you at the Series
No player gets to the World Series by playing just one or two games. You have a long spring training and a long season ahead of you. And sometimes, you might have to wait several seasons to get the recognition you deserve.
So wind up, and keep pitching.