Happy Mash-Up Monday!
A few weeks ago I spent an afternoon watching world champion athletes in a track and field competition. They were the best of the best in the junior division and came from all over the world to our little neck of the woods. They used poles to jump over raised bars (what the heck are those called?), they ran (a lot), they jumped across sand boxes, and they threw stuff (these disc-like thingies).
Here are some pics:
And all the while I thought about the dedication these young people give to their sport, working to hone their skills so they’re able to compete at such a high level. I imagined the hours spent learning form, and pacing, and actually going through the motions needed to embed it all into muscle memory.
Then it occurred to me that there isn’t much difference between sports and writing – at least as far as the dedication part is concerned. As a writer, I had to learn craft, including pacing, and I had to go through the motions of actually getting words on the page.
In my crazy-busy world with a husband, two nieces, and a demanding day job, this isn’t always easy, and there are a ton of excuses I could use NOT to sit my butt in a chair and get the words cranked out. (Especially before I actually sold a manuscript.)
But one of the best pieces of writing advice I’d ever gotten was from my writer-pal Delilah Marvelle. She told me that the habits you create BEFORE you’re published are what will help you once you’re published. . .. Because the writing doesn’t get any easier. You know something? She’s right!
Learning and studying craft are one thing, but actually developing habits that let you exercise your craft are another. These habits help build and improve on your writing skills. And these become the building blocks for becoming a great, productive writer.
What do you think?