Thursday, May 17, 2012

Writers and Unicyclists

"Every great success is an accumulation of thousands of ordinary efforts that no one sees or appreciates."  - Brian Tracy

My son wants to be a professional unicyclist.  Now, that may sound funny to some, but he can do all kinds of tricks and flips on that unicycle that take my breath away!  Unicycling is a growing sport and you would not believe the time and effort that goes into doing some of the amazing things they do.  (There's even a UniCon coming up this summer and people are coming from all over the world.)

My son and I were talking last night about reaching our dreams.  Of course, my dream was to be a published author, which I am, but as we talked, he didn't see the correlation to him spending hours and hour mastering crank flips and being able to ride down a guardrail with me being an author.  But this is what I know.

Being a successful author takes a lot of practice.  Generally speaking, your first novel won't be your best work.  You're still learning and balancing.  The more you write and the more you read, the better you get at your craft.  You begin to see words in a different light.  You practice some more in putting those words on a page in a way that makes your readers feel flutters in their stomach, whether it be dangerous flutters or romantic flutters.  You make them feel.

You work and work on that story (or stories) until you hate the characters and want to kill them all off.  You agonize over the finale scene because you want it to be just right.  And you take the rejections, the bad reviews, and the critiques without crying (or letting people see you cry) because you live for the fan mail, the acceptances, and the good reviews.

That's what makes writing worth it to me.  And I know I have to practice to get it right.   That's why I like that quote from Brian Tracy.  I think every novel is an accumulation of thousands of ordinary efforts (skipping that TV show to write, giving up an hour of sleep to write, working and researching until you can write those words, THE END) and a lot of times people don't see or appreciate those efforts because writing is a solitary profession for the most part.

So today I'd like to give thanks to all the writers who have put their stories out there for me to enjoy.  I know it may look easy, but I also know it isn't.  And I'd like to thank all the people who have enjoyed my books and let me know.  That's what keeps my motivation high and the stories coming.  I have to say, my readers are the absolute best among all the readers in the world.  Truly.

My moral to the story:  Unicyclists and writers have a lot more in common than my son thought.  What do you think?


Jon Spell said...

I took a speech class where the teacher said that if you took 60 seconds to think about it, you should be able to come up with a speech that compares any two things.

The most obvious thing that unicycling and authoring a book have in common is the need for balance. Without achieving perfect balance, you fall off your unicycle. You need to balance your time between writing, revising and marketing or you won't get to your goal.

This is not obvious, but you also need to possess an unusual skill. With unicycling, I doubt anyone can do it. I'm sure I couldn't. Authoring requires some skills in perseverance, as you've touched on Julie, but so many other fine skills - grammar, scene structure, plotting, characterization, beginnings and endings. I don't believe that just anyone can author a book. (My how-to-write book is not going to sell a million copies.)

Finally, there's a performance aspect. While you might be one of the few to perform your art of personal satisfaction, the majority are looking for an audience to cheer you on and praise you for your good work. You have to know what they want to see or read and how to please them.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Seriously Jon, I want you to guest post on my blog. There is a depth to you that I really admire. It's like you see what I'm trying to say and take it one step further. Thank you!

Lindzee said...

"Easy reading is damn hard writing." -Nathaniel Hawthorne. Truer words were never spoken.

Jess said...

Love your analogy! I can totally relate! I'm a figure skater/violinist/writer and all three have so much more in common than I could have ever imagined!

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Lindzee I agree!

Thanks, Jess! :)