I had my first golfing experience a couple weeks ago. Born of a desire to find a hobby that hubby and I could share (all my recent efforts to convert him into a runner, reader, writer, and quilter had failed miserably) I decided to try my hand at a game of golf, supportive husband at my side.
And of course, you probably know where this is going. While I’m far from a golfing expert, I think I learned enough to compare golfing to writing. Here it goes:
The Drive ~ This is it. Your one shot that will push you ahead. Maybe make that par 4 attainable. You place your tee in the ground, put your ball on top, take your stance, aim, swing, and…find your hot pink golf ball off the fairway in the middle of some trees, interrupting another golf group’s serious game.
I’ll compare this to that all-important first draft. You prepare. Maybe do some research and outlining or some character interviews. Then, you dive in. Your swing feels good, the words are coming, you make contact, and even follow through nicely. But more than likely something’s wrong. Your characters aren’t likeable. There’s plot holes scattered throughout. You might feel like you’re wasting your critique group’s time.
The Correction ~ Trying to retain your dignity and keep tears at bay, you choose your weapon. A fairway wood, maybe. Chin held high, you walk off the fairway, through the line of trees, and find your hot pink ball that is causing you all this pain. Determined, you take another shot, rejoicing when it makes its way onto the fairway, albeit still quite a ways from that yellow flag waving in the breeze.
Here’s those major edits. Big plot problems? Fix them here. Characters aren’t leaping off the pages? Make them. Need more surprises and twists? Get on track now. Get onto the fairway!
Chipping On ~ Now it’s a matter of chipping toward that hole. Don’t swing too hard, you’ll be in those trees again. But you better make it a straight shot or you’ll be taking another hike to find your pink ball in a sand bunker. And watch out for those water hazards! You continue this pattern again and again. All hope of a par four has been left at the teeing ground. But wait, there’s hope. The putting green is within reach!
Now’s the time where you find out what you’re made of. Are you willing to persevere or are you going to throw that manuscript out the window along with your irons? Your manuscript is improving. Your critique group encourages. The end is in sight. There’s hope—maybe your dreams will become reality!
The Put (Better make that plural in my case) ~ Sounds quaint, doesn’t it? Putting. Almost like an easy game of mini-golf with the kids. But the reality is altogether different. This putting green is wide open space and that little golf hole is only a small fraction of it. Time to narrow your direction, shorten your swing.
The victory of finishing your manuscript (making it to the green) is getting old. You want your book to go somewhere. You want an agent, an editor, a book contract. But there’s so many different possible roads. Which to choose?
The Victory ~ You make your move, or rather, your puts. Many of them even. Sometimes you go past the hole, sometimes you skim it. But then…it happens. All that hard work and finally, your hot pink ball whirls satisfyingly into victory.
Maybe you final in a contest. Maybe an agent or editor expresses interest in your work. Maybe you sign that book contract. Maybe you hold your book in your hands for the first time. Any way, it’s victory all the same. Hey, you might not have taken the most direct route. Maybe your par four goal ended up a par eleven. But you persevered. You made it. And the victory is just as sweet. Maybe next time your average will be better than eleven.
Have you ever given golf a try? Are there any sports that are out of your comfort zone? How would you compare them to writing?
photo credit: flickr