Friday, April 6, 2012
I am amazed at the similarities, many of them unexpected, between this writer life and being a sports coach. One of these similarities is probably familiar to all of us; failure. Rejection, criticism, obscurity, etc., etc., etc. Failures that make you want to run and hide under the kitchen table.
But, failure can also be used to fuel improvement. As a football coach and strength coach, I used failure (a loss, a poor season) as an indication we needed to get better. We then went to work to design and implement improved programs to make each athlete better and, thus, make the team better. As a writer, I must turn failure and rejection around and do the work necessary to design and implement better plots, better writing skills and style to make better stories.
The concept of improving through failure was something we called the Fail Cycle. Attempt a difficult task, fail, improve, and try again. Climb the Fail Cycle to success. But, if and when the failure robs the fun and enjoyment out of whatever you choose to do, back off a bit, take a short (or long) break to recharge the motor, then take a running start at the next attempt. The Fail Cycle should be an exercise of improvement, not an exercise in complete misery.
So, as writers, hang in there. Write your best stuff, take a chance and submit it. Repeat as necessary. If rejected, make your "best stuff" better and take another shot at it. Never give up, never give in . Take chances, put in out there and believe in the Fail Cycle.