Monday, June 16, 2014

Why Writing is like Playing Soccer

I’ve been trying to focus on quite a few projects recently.  Between finishing up a revision of the Yellow WIP, doing a beta read through for a friend (I’ll let you know when it gets published!), preparing an activity for church this Tuesday (very excited!), trying out some new recipes for cakes and starting the prewriting for my newest novel, I’ve got quite a bit going on. 

The prewriting has been one of my favorite parts this week.  It’s been exhilarating and terrifying all at once.  As I was thinking about it, I started comparing it to soccer.

Probably because our house has been inundated with soccer ever since the world cup started.  There’s really no way to escape when you’re married to a South American.

Hubby playing soccer.  He's the one in the blue.

Since I started writing, I’ve always begun writing, I’ve always written the same genre.  I love reading YA fantasy, whether it be dystopian, medieval or anything in between.  Naturally, that’s the kind of stories that float around in my head.  I started writing, working on improving my skill.  I spent years learning the different ins and outs, what to do, what not to do.  I practiced, I sweat it out, and I worked daily on my skills. 

Now, I can see the effect of my practice.  The type of writing that took 3-4 drafts to produce now only takes 1-2.  I know how to create believable characters, settings, and it takes much less work to really develop them. 

My husband has a similar dedication to his hobby.  Since he was a child, he’s played soccer.  Often hours a day.  Since we moved to the US, he joined multiple teams, indoor, outdoor, professional, recreational, and probably more than I can keep track of.  He’s almost always played defense, and he’s good.  (I promise that’s not just me being partial.) 

I remember going to one of his games.  He’d been sitting on the bench due to a previous injury he’d been recovering from.  I’d gotten a bit bored, and I’d brought a book along to read just in case.  I’d gotten so engrossed that I forgot to look up every few minutes to see if he was playing.  Then, I heard someone shouting his name.  I looked up and to my surprise, he was playing, not just playing, but he was one of the strikers up front.  And he looked completely lost.  It’s not that he’d never played soccer before.  It’s just that he’d never been in that position. 

That’s how I feel right now.  I know how to write, and I’ve done it for years, but this is a completely different position.  The use of sentences, verbs, punctuation, that’s all completely the same.  The importance of deleting extraneous words and focusing on showing, not telling.  The difference is that the story is a completely different section of the field than I’ve played before.  I’ve never written a contemporary book where my research is grounded in real life.  I’ve never written a character driven story.  Most of my stories are more plot driven.  Focusing on the character throws everything in a brand new light.

As I’ve watched my husband play soccer, I’ve seen him improve, especially now that he’s becoming more versatile.  I can’t wait to see myself improve as I push myself to learn a new position, or in this case, try a new genre.