Monday, 10 May 2010

When It Clicks - More Writing lessons from the tennis court

Sports News - May 08, 2010
It has been a long and frustrating winter for me, tennis-wise. Which is probably why I've written so many posts related to tennis. Blog therapy. My frustration has centered around the most basic shot - the forehand ground stroke. In an effort to improve, I rented ball machines and had lessons and even hit by myself against a wall, for hours. Most times, it felt like I was getting better. Yet each time I'd go back onto the court, I was back to hitting them all over the place with no control. Humiliating!
Then recently, I was at my son's soccer game, which happened to be next to a tennis court. During breaks in the game, I'd gaze over at the courts and watch the tennis players, specifically their forehands. I noticed how they looped their rackets around behind them and came through the ball in one even motion - a technique I had never tried. Would that work for me?
Long story short - yes. It did. It worked very, very well.
"What a sucker!" you say? "All those hours of hitting by yourself wasted!"
But I say, "No!" and "Please don't call me a sucker."
Because those hours I spent were actually building muscle memory on the other parts of that shot - the footwork, the timing, the follow through, etc. So that when I finally added the 'loop,' it tied everything all together and 'clicked.'
In the same way, writers write a bunch of stuff that isn't working. But they keep writing. And writing. They may take a class. Or have their piece critiqued. And they write some more.
And then one day, they're going to look at what they've written and suddenly, all those separate pieces are going to click into a meaningful whole. A whole they couldn't have arrived at any other way.

So, keep writing. It's the only way you're going to stay in the game.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Raising the Bar

The students and staff at East Leyden High School have set the bar so high for school visits, I can't imagine anyone topping them! Here are a few examples of the enthusiasm and warm welcome:
Not only had many students ordered books on their own, they also had quite a few in their library!

I signed just about anything and everything.

They had a display case with pictures and info from my website in their hallway...

And students in the Foods classes made me personalized book and house shaped cookies, representing my novel HAVEN, then wrapped it up in this fabulous gift basket!
Now really, does it get better than this?
I think not.