When I was in high school I played a lot of baseball during my physical education class. I don't know if my teacher just wasn't creative enough to occupy our class time with anything else or if she had some grand scheme of trying to make me the next hometown slugger. Either way I didn't mind it and was pretty good at playing the short stop/second base position. While I had to work hard at playing the game, my son had a natural talent for anything athletic and even did his stint as pitcher on one of the neighborhood community leagues when he was growing up. I guess you could say playing baseball runs in our family.
This morning I woke up thinking about what I would write today and realized my memories of playing baseball could help me in writing and with life in general.
BALL ONE...THE EASY PITCH
If you've ever watched a little kid's baseball game, you'll know the one I'm talking about. When kids are just starting out learning to play the game the balls come easy. It's a time to focus on the goal of connecting with the ball and maybe getting to first base. Newbie writers get nervous about those first few stories they write just like those first few easy pitches thrown across the plate. Will I be good enough to play the game? Do I understand the rules? Will I ever score..or in a writer's case, will I ever be brave enough to send my manuscript out into the world for others to see?
BALL TWO...THE CURVE BALL
As you become more experienced as a ball player...and a writer...then comes the chance of being thrown a curve ball. Just when you think you understand what is expected of you there is a new twist and you may find yourself fumbling at the plate. Are you going to strike out? Or will you look around and see how other players handle those curve balls? In the past I've written a number of picture books but I just recently completed Mira Reisberg's Chapter Book Alchemist course. The curve ball being thrown my way was in the form of a personal challenge to complete a chapter book manuscript during this course. Instead of backing down, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and write a creative nonfiction chapter book which is as polar opposite from what I usually write as my hitting average is to Babe Ruth's. But guess what? I rose to the challenge and managed to hit that curve ball coming my way because I stayed focused on my writing goals and followed the rules of the game.
BALL THREE...THE WILD ONE
Then there are times when things are going too fast. When the pitcher...or LIFE...decides to throw you a wild pitch and all you can do is try to get out of the way. That happened to me last week. Something so shocking to me I still can't get the image out of my mind. I tried to get out of the way of that crazy ball coming straight for me but instead ran right into it. Yeah it hurt and yeah I will feel the after effects for months to come but you know what? At least I'm still in the game. For writers, it could be a rejection letter or writer's block or even a bad business decision. But it's what you do AFTER you get hit with the wild pitch that determines whether you'll still be around at the bottom of the ninth or not.
BALL FOUR...THE LINE DRIVE
Finally, there is my favorite pitch. The line drive. Coming straight at you and you can either swing with all your might and send that puppy soaring into the bleachers or you can let it pass you by and strike out. Writing is a scary business. Even sometimes a fickle one where the rules of the game sometimes changes faster than we can keep up. But sometimes...just sometimes...the picher and batter and ball all line up and when THAT happens, a writer can hit a home run and send their manuscript out into the world for others to catch...