Three Strikes: writing outs

I’ve been watching a lot of baseball lately (7 games, 6 practices, 6 days) and have seen a lot of calls.  Some good, some bad.  Some umps are decisive, while others make wishy-washy calls.

Inevitably some parents/coaches feels slighted, going as far as screaming at the umps.

We teach our kids by example.  When our batters strikes out on a questionable call, we have the ability to shape their attitudes–for the game and for life.

“Bad call.”

“Shouldn’t have lost that game.”

“It’s the ump’s fault.”

“Come on, Ump.  Do you need new glasses?!?!?”

“Shake it off, you’ll get it next time.”

“A call is a call.”

“The next one’s yours, try again!”

As parents, our behavior sets our batters on a path of acceptance and hard work or on a journey of blame and frustration. 

Writers, we are no different.  Publishing is a very subjective business, one where many factors come into play well beyond a writer’s talent.  Agent/editor likes and dislikes, marketing, similar books repped/pubbed, competition, etc…

When receiving a rejection after a “perfect fit” query, we often wonder why the agent/editor made such a bad call.  We may have the tendency to shout, “Come on, do you need new glasses?”  We might shoot off a you’ll-be-sorry email.

But is all that really necessary?  Sometimes umps and agents make bad calls.  Sometimes they make the right call, but we’re too close to our work and feelings to realize we struck out for a reason.  For good reason.

I personally think the writing journey is tough.  It takes practice.  It takes more than a handful of swings and misses before we hit a home run.  But in the end, our perseverance is what counts, even in the case of a bad call.  Or especially because of one. 

And that, my friends, is all about attitude.

Wasting energy being angry at the umpire does nothing but waste valuable time.  Blaming someone else for a bad call makes us less than desirable clients and inhibits our creativity. 

Shake it off.  Practice–six times in six days–and go down swinging. 

What works for you in shaking off a bad call?  Chocolate, a walk in the park or a never-to-be-sent letter of frustration?  Share your experiences and positive attitude with your fellow scribes.

Happy Fourth of July.  I have a beach chair with my name on it, family to hang with and good food to consume.  See you on the 6th!

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6 responses to “Three Strikes: writing outs

  1. Writing in my journal helps! That way I can get it all out without hurting anyone else or myself. Like Anne Frank said, “Paper has more patience than people.” Wise words!

    Have a wonderful Independence Day weekend, Cat!

    • Oooh, I love that quote. I tend to write nasty letters to blow off steam. Mostly in my head, but sometimes I actually pen them and rip them up later. Great minds think alike.

  2. Good post – yes there’s nothing like a teeball game to bring out the worst in the adults, I’ll say that for sure.

    It’s hard not to let the negativity of the market to get to you as a writer, it’s important to ask yourself if you’ve got the right attitude to do this for the long haul.

    Also, it’s important to ask yourself if you’re OK playing right field for awhile. Not everybody is the pitcher from the get-go.

    • BBC,

      Fabulous commentary, and so true. Not everyone gets to pitch, but every position is necessary to the game. I sometimes think that one of the biggest reasons writers fail to move past the submission stage is that we don’t mature to the point where we can gracefully deal with the rejections and continue to hone our craft despite and because of the negativity. Great points.

  3. Bad calls happen. You don’t have to agree with the call, but you should be a good sport about it. Throwing a temper tantrum after a called strike three won’t help your chances of getting a borderline pitch called your way the next time. In fact, it may hurt you. Respect the game (writing). Respect your coach and teammates (critique group/writing community). Respect your opponents (fellow writers in your genre). Respect the umps (agents/publishers). Respect the crowd (your readers). Just shake it off and play ball . . . I mean write on!

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