Sunday, October 17, 2010

Football and Writing

It's football season, and I for one am really glad. I like football. I have teams that I root for, and teams I'd just as soon shoot...well, maybe not really. Still...

Okay, so what's the scoop here? Why I am using football and writing in the same sentence? 'Cause they're so similar! Really. To be a professional athlete, whether it's football or another sport, requires dedication, time and hard work. It also means you do a lot of preliminary stuff before you get to journey's end: the regular season game, or the story or nonfiction piece you're working on.

Football players work out...hard. They lift weights, they spend time in the gym strengthening the muscles they need for the task at hand. They run wind sprints, they practice receiving the ball, kicking and working on footwork with the tires.

So do writers work out...just as hard. We read about the right way to use plot, point of view, conflict, and so forth. And we practice what we read. We let our writer friends help us see what we're doing right and what needs work.

And, hopefully, the end result for both the professional athlete and the writer, is a slam dunk score, i.e. finished, polished novel.

What about you? What are the preparations and practices do you utilize to create and polish your piece of writing? I look forward to hearing about it.


Paul McDermott said...

Here in the UK we play REAL football (you call it "soccer") lol

When I was growing up, one soccer player was said to "walk on water", and I was amazed at his skills. He was the first I ever saw wear the 'sacred' Number 9 jersey for EVERTON FC and his name was Alex Young.
He was also one of the GENTLEMEN of the game - never in trouble with referees, always good tempered.

After today's thrashing of the ancient foe, Liverpool (despite the mighty $$$) perhaps people will start to say the same about TIM CAHILL ... :)

widdershins said...

I'm a fan of 'gridiron' as it is called in the part of the world I used to frequent. I think of it as chess with gratuitous violence!... Now I'm a Canadian, and still trying to work out ice hockey - but that's another story....

Polished writing?....
Step 1 - Have a notebook with me at all times, and USE it, whenever I see something that piques my interest.

Step 2 - as soon as possible transfer the idea in the notebook to a computer file, and save it in at least two different places or types of media.

Step 3 - Place bum firmly on chair and write, EVERY DAY until the story is finished, no matter how long it takes, or how long the story is.

Step 4 - Edit, edit, edit. Rewrite and edit some more.

Step 5 - Ice cream and sex as often as possible, not necessarily in that order, possibly at the same time, but both must be REALLY GOOD

Step 6 - Re-read the story from start to finish. If I can answer the question, "Is it the best I can do?" with "Damn near", then stop writing, (knowing when to stop is a highly under-utilized skill among writers)

Step 6 - Start the submission process, because lets be honest, we all want to be published, rich, and famous, (probably in that order)

Step 7 - Repeat all of the above, as often as possible

The Widder

Connie Arnold said...

Nice comparison, Katie! I'm not into football much, but since I'm a musician, I can compare writing with the practicing of music to perfect it and make it be the best it can be, to be enjoyed by others.