‘Why,’ might you ask? We have marathons, we have to practice, we need to study the play books, there are rules to follow, and we have coaches. Hell, we even have cheerleaders and publicity. So it must be a sport.
Admittedly, there’s nothing physical about it, except that crick in the neck in the middle of one of those previously mentioned marathons. There’s the sprint to the bathroom when you realize you’ve been sitting for four hours – without a pee break – which was preceded by a 32 ounce chug jug. Or two. There’s the rummage through the cupboard for a can of soup and crackers for dinner because you lost track of time – again – and only know it’s dinner time because the husband had the foresight to call on his way home from work. That’s all exercise. Right?
But really. We do have writing marathons. They come every November in the form of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo if you will, plus two writing camps, one in April, the other in July. April also happens to be National Poetry Month. Immediately followed by A Story A Day In May. Jeesh! That’s a lotta fricking writing!
We have to practice. Like any skill, if you want to improve, you do the task. A lot. As much as possible.
But lets face it, even with all that practice, without the right people behind you – your coaches – you don’t have any idea if you’re using your tools the right way, throwing the punches properly so you don’t hurt or strain yourself. Critiquers are the assistant coaches. Critiquers and beta readers are great at pointing out where they stumble in your story, point out plot holes, inconsistencies, and generally cheer you on. Editors will pull on what the other two missed and really fine tune the prose. Just like a coach is supposed to do.
And once you’ve made it through all that, you’ve (hopefully) got a finished product. With that finished product comes all the people around you that are so proud of that work that’s (FINALLY) done they’ll cheer you on and get word out that “I know the author” of the book they not-so-discretely plopped down on the coffee table, a bookmark somewhere in the middle so they can pretend to have read that far.
So yeah. Not only is it a sport, but it’s a team sport. And with my first publication, ‘Perfect Ten’ in the Bowman’s Inn Book Two: Summer anthology, due out in just a couple days…
I just want to put a quick shout-out out there to all my team members. You know who you are! You’ve been supportive, critical, sweet, tough, and most of all, you’ve just been there. Thank you. You’ve helped me refine (I’ve a long way to go, I know, but you’ve pointed me in the right direction anyway) and continue to help me work through all my bits and pieces. You’ve gesticulated wildly about the woes of writing with me, and celebrated in my triumphs with me as well. Again…
Thank you. To all my coaches and cheerleaders, thank you. It’s amazing how much those two positions overlap.