Monday, July 12, 2010

How Writing is like the World Cup

You knew this was coming, didn't you?

First, let me say how big my heart is for Spain, and how just over the moon I am for them. I predicted their win from the start of the World Cup over a month ago and followed every move. I screamed for Villa (and gentled corrected the whippersnapper when he pronounced it "Eva") and shook my head in disappointment for Torres, who had such an uneventful performance in the Cup, ending with yet another injury in the last minutes of the Final's overtime. I admired the captain-keeper Casillas, and I watched Iniesta with pure admiration for being an incredible, humble, world-class player. The Spanish win was well-deserved.

Now for the similarities between writing/publishing and football.

Football, like writing, is all about a set bunch of tactics. There's dialogue, plot, showing. These are the mechanics that get you on the page and get you playing. For every story, the tactics will vary slightly and what works for one will not work for another.

Football players who rise to the top have a great hook: they have something incredible to offer, be it David Villa's goal instincts or Andres Iniesta's cool-headed midfielding. These things are what most strikers and midfielders hope to offer, but the best show it off. So with our hooks--we push those just a bit further to be really interesting and catch a reader's eye.

All the writers out there who have been rendered senseless by rejection from agents or editors know how players and coaches feel when a ref makes an obviously incorrect call, or lose important matches like the World Cup final. It's the indignation that we all know. Doesn't make it right--but people still feel it.

Despite the best-laid tactics, inherent talent, or preparation, things often come down to chance. Like the goalie who has to decide which way to leap when a player shoots a penalty, so is so much of a writer's publishing efforts. You have to have the right book at the right time for the right agent or editor. Sometimes the leap is the other way, and we have to deal with it.

Like any hugely successful, international sport, there is a large degree of intensity, talent, and commitment to playing in the World Cup. So with writing. If a young player decides he doesn't want to work as hard as his teammates, he'll probably be benched. You have to work, work, work and persevere in the face of challenge and huge odds, and when you do, you may find your dreams of the World Cup New York Times Bestseller fulfilled.

Congratulations, Espania. My team is a Scottish team, and my country's national team got kicked out of the Cup early, but Spain has shown itself to be humble, talented, and as passionate about their sport as I am about mine (writing). I'll always admire Spain's national team and look forward to seeing where these talented writers players go in their careers. Spain became my adopted national team early in the cup and the win was sweet -- just as the success of each of you writers is sweet to me. *Monday hugs to everyone who has a dream, be it football or writing a fabulous story!*


DL Hammons said...

An accurate (and timely) analogy! Excellent!

(((HUG BACK)))

JEM said...

I just wanted to yell at all the commentators who talked about how ugly and boring the game was. I wanted to shout, "They're doing the best they can! They're running non-stop for 120 friggin minutes!" And then hug each player. Good post!

LR said...

That's funny. I was thinking the same thing: tying it all in with writing. I think it's similar in that when you win you feel so great and when you lose you are just so so down.

But at least the eyes of the whole world aren't on us. Thank goodness.

P.S. I'm glad for Spain too; they deserved it.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Great analogy, even know what I know about soccer could fit in a thimble. :)

Sierra Godfrey said...

Thanks guys!

I forgot one.

Watching football is akin to reading books. The more you watch or read, the more you learn and understand.

Simon C. Larter said...

Your nemesis kind of agrees with you in this case. That goal in the last few minutes of extra time was sah-wEET!

Don't let my agreement go to your head or anything, though. Your destruction is still imminent.

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