A Writing Journey

Posts tagged ‘bowling’

Bowling and Writing 2

On Friday, I talked about being a bowler and being a writer. But did you know that writing and bowling have a lot in common?

First, they both take practice.* It took me an entire season (and a different way of throwing the ball) to learn how to make my bowling ball spin. It has taken years to learn how to write well, and I owe a lot of thanks to college for that. I was writing papers all the time and, even though they were non-fiction, they taught me a lot about writing that I have carried over into my fiction writing.

Second, you have to take it slowly. When you are taught to bowl, you are told that you should feel like you are walking in slow motion. We don’t want to rush to the foul line, because then the throw will be all wrong and you probably won’t get any pins. Take it slow, and you could get a strike. It’s the same with writing. If you rush through the manuscript and edit only a couple of times, chances are that you won’t find a publisher willing to take you on. If you sit back and give it time, put in the effort, you will probably find a publisher more quickly.**

Third, you have to do a lot of waiting. In bowling, you’ve got to wait for your ball to come back, the pins be reset, your teammates take their turns. There is a lot of waiting. Writers wait too. We wait between drafts, we wait to hear back from our beta-readers, we wait to hear back from publishers, we wait wait wait. (And hopefully, in all of this waiting in bowling I’ve learned some patience that I can apply to writing!)

Fourth, you can’t give up. When I joined my high school bowling team, I think I had bowled a total of three times before. And I was horrible. It hadn’t been something I really wanted to do (but a boy was involved and I wanted to spend more time with him).  I was really bad at first. But my teammates encouraged me, my coaches taught me, and I got better. When I look back at my early writing (elementary school, middle school), I am slightly horrified. But I had to go through being an underdeveloped writer to become the writer I am now.*** I wouldn’t change a thing.

Do you have any other activities that you see as like writing?

Take care, fellow travelers.

*Lots of things take practice, so maybe this isn’t exciting, but it’s true.

**I’m hoping, at least. Still, you’ll have a better story if you take your time.

***I did it! I called myself a writer without even thinking about it!

Bowling and Writing 1

I love bowling. I was on my high-school team, took the class in college (come on, could there be an easier credit?) and am now part of a bowling league. But I still struggle to call myself a bowler. To the outsider, I doubt there is any question that I am a bowler – I have my own ball and shoes for goodness sake! – and yet when I look at myself in the mirror, I just see someone who really likes to bowl, but isn’t all that great. Well, it’s all relative, I suppose. My last league night I had a 117, 72, and 136. To some that would be excellent, to me, it’s alright, but compared to some of the others, it is downright disgraceful.

That shift in perspective is why I have a hard time calling myself a bowler. I am not as good as I want to be, and that means I am not a bowler – right?

Of course not. Bowler (according to Merriam-Webster) just means a person who bowls.* I am a person who bowls. I am a bowler. I AM a BOWLER.

Okay, so lets try to carry this over to writing, shall we?

Like in bowling, I struggle to call myself a writer, and for much the same reasons as I struggle calling myself a bowler. I write all the time (or at least a lot), I have finished four manuscripts, and I revise like crazy. But when I read, the words stir me and take root in my gut and twist me into a new being – someone who can’t see the world in quite the same way because of the significance of what characters have gone through, someone who has learned something through reading.

And I sit back.

And I think, I don’t do that. I don’t teach anyone anything. I don’t stir emotions and twist guts.

And I don’t call myself a writer, no matter how many of my friends tell me that I have a wonderful story, no matter how many times they tell me it is powerful and moving. They’re my friends – they have to be nice, don’t they? And yet. Writer just means one  who writes. I write. I’m not published, but I write. I know that I am a writer. But saying it aloud, it carries societies preconceived notions of what being a writer is – published, a little eccentric, and either dirt poor or filthy rich. I am not any of those things. Perhaps that is why I cannot call myself a writer – not yet at least. Just like my stories, it is a work in progress.

Do you call yourself a writer?

Take care, fellow travelers.

*It also means a player who delivers the ball to the batsman in cricket and a type of hat – but those aren’t exactly relevant. 🙂

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