Swing Away

chipper-jones-swingMy son loves baseball.  If you were to look at his blood under a microscope, I’m fairly certain you’d see Chipper Jones doin’ the backstroke.  Still, in three years of trying, my son has never made the school baseball team.

He’s shaved two minutes off his mile.  His batting average has jumped to .500 on his rec ball team.  His transformation from chubby sixth grader to athlete has been amazing.  But, he’s not on the school team.

Every time I see the joy in my son’s eyes as he picks up a bat or dons a glove, I’m reminded of how important it is for writers to keep their hands on the keyboard even if they haven’t “made the team”.  My son has powered through rejection after rejection and he’s found alternate ways of enjoying his bliss.  He plays rec ball, he manages, he coaches his younger brothers and never once has he let a rejection steal away his passion for the game.

At the tender age of fifteen, my son has discovered the secret to a happy life.

It’s all about process not product.  It’s the journey not the destination.keyboard

Live.  Breathe.  Wallow in what you love.

And the real beauty to this secret is that once you embrace your joy and refuse to let it go…doorways of  possibility open that you might never have imagined.

My son is the star player of his rec ball team.  He has grit,  verve,  determination and  passion and they have transcended whatever qualities the high school coach didn’t see in him.  Booyah!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying rejection doesn’t hurt.  I’m just saying that writers should aim for the fence with every fiber of their being and rest assured that joy in what they do is the best elixir against the pain of rejection.  Enjoy the process of picking up that bat and griping it with chalky fingers.  Enjoy the journey as you walk to the plate and face off against an unfriendly field and a pitcher known for a wicked curve.  Wallow in the moment as you take a deep breath, square up your toes and drop down into a stance sure to propel the ball into the bleachers. 

Then, swing away, by God, swing away! 

My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.
Hank Aaron

moon lakeI want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”
Oriah Mountain Dreamer

 

Today, I want to share your joy.  What fulfills you?  Have you ever “followed your bliss” in spite of difficulty or rejection?  Have you embraced your passion?  If not, what’s holding you back? Come on, let loose a cyber shout and we’ll all shout “yes” along with computer celebrateyou!

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Comments
12 Responses to “Swing Away”
  1. Anna Hackett says:

    Barbara–
    Your post is incredibly inspirational and your son’s story is a touching one.

    I’m going to have to write “Live. Breath. Wallow in what you love” down somewhere and pull it out occasionally. I love my writing and never doubt it is what I should be doing…but I sometimes forget to enjoy the process. Thanks for reminding me.

  2. It is hard to hold onto joy when you’re in the middle of edits or revisions! Writing definitely has its nitty gritty moments. To extend the baseball metephor, the grass has to be mowed, the bases have to be dusted, the lines redrawn on the field. But even as we’re doing all of those things, I think it’s important to enjoy the atmosphere of the ballpark! (Not to mention cultivating the adrenaline necessary to make the most of our turn at bat. lol)

  3. Vivi Andrews says:

    I love this! Baseball really is a metaphor for life and, I gotta say, I really needed the “keep on swinging” bit today. It’s a long season and I will make it to the major leagues (NY pubs). I will! 🙂

  4. Suzanne Rock says:

    Great post! It’s hard to “keep swinging” when it seems like the world is against you. Lord knows, I’ve had many moments in my writing where I stop and ask myself “Who am I kidding?”. I think thats why, as writers, it is so important to have other writing friends who understand what you are going through and keep you swinging. I also found it very helpful to be working on that next project. That way, when the rejections come (and they will), the sting will be less severe since you are hitting “send” on another project.

    I think my lowest point was when I got five rejections on two different manuscripts in a span of two hours. Then I got another 4 the next day on the same two projects. I came so close to giving up…

    But I didn’t (obviously). My next submission was the one that led to my first sale. If I had given up, I never would have known what it was like to sell that first story.

    I still hold out for the major leagues, too, Vivi. I know as long as we keep swinging, it WILL happen. Think positive!

  5. Dawn McClure says:

    Great post. Your sons story is very inspiring. 🙂

  6. And, what better feeling is there than drafting stories? There is no greater high for me. I’m not sure even a sale compares to that first initial rush of having a story idea and putting it on the page.

  7. Chandra Ryan says:

    The first rejection I got was pretty expected, so it didn’t hurt very bad. But I really expected a sale with my second rejection, so that one was a bit harder. I think I did put my lap top down for a couple of weeks after that one. But in the end I picked it up again because I really love writing, even if no one else ever gets to see my finished work 🙂

  8. Robyn Bski says:

    As a Cub fan, I definitely appreciate the “keep swinging” mentality. We never give up. 🙂

    I am always writing, no matter what. There’s always a story in my head demanding to be told. Even though my first rejection letter was the world’s nicest rejection letter, it still sucked the wind out of my sails. I’m finally at a place where I’m ready to try again. I may never be published, but I’m determined to keep trying.

  9. sandrasookoo says:

    I always write and will always write. Period. I’m playing in the minor league right now but still dream for the majors–even though every one of those players thinks I’m not worthy to carry their towel. 🙂

  10. Nellie Maree says:

    Isn’t it amazing how kids can have that amazing resillience so many of seem to forget as adults? 🙂

    This has come at a great time for me. I’m actively thinking about submitting something I’m writing for publication for the first time and it’s actually making it hard to write; every time I put words down on the page I judge them harshly. This article has reminded me to step back for now and just -enjoy- the creative process, wallow in what I love so to speak. Fear of what other people will think/of not being good enough really holds me back if I think of it while writing instead of concentrating on the writing itself. I do my best work when I’m writing for the sheer joy of experiencing the adventure my protagonists are on, so I’m going to focus hard on remembering that’s what’s important.

  11. Funny thing is, there have been times in my life when I’ve officially quit. I’ve packed everything away–my pens, my pads, my rejected mss–and promised I was no longer going to waste my time. (Usually with huffing and puffing and slamming of drawers:P) Then I would find myself scribbling on the back of receipts or envelopes or daydreaming for weeks about a certain character. I am what I am. I do what I do and I love what I do.

    It was right after one such hiatus that I sent a vampire ms to Silhouette. They rejected it, but encouraged me to “send them something else”. (If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that…) That’s when I sat down and wrote “Wilderness”.

    Since then, I’ve had bad moments, but I’ve never packed things up again. I’ve learned that this business is a constant struggle *even for published authors*. Realizing there is no brass ring has helped me to settle in for the long haul. With only an occasion huff or puff, but with frequent mixed metaphors

    Mostly, I wallow. So…I’m your biggest cheerleader when it comes to going for it and I hope you enjoy every second of letting your stories free onto the page.

  12. Wonderful post. I feel inspired. Thank you, Barbara

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