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!