Today on our Monday Guest Blogging segment we have the lovely, Sarah Enni.
This is my second year umpiring high school women's field hockey, and my second year seriously pursuing writing. The two activities don't have the most obvious connection but I've found that a surprising amount of principles apply to both.
Do it for the right reasons. For some people, being an umpire is just one big power trip. These umpires are territorial, abrasive, and unbearably self-important. Needless to say, no one likes to work with them. Some writers are only in it to create the next Twilight (should be easy, right?) and rake in the dough. Odds are, their motivation (greed) will shine through, and no one will want to represent them or their work - or talk to them at dinner parties.
Be confident. When you're refereeing, you're the one making the call. It's intimidating, because you WILL make mistakes, but you have to call what you see and stand behind it (even when coaches and players enthusiastically disagree). As a writer, you have to stand behind what you create. It may not be perfect, but it's yours. Own it.
But don't be overconfident. Sometimes you make the wrong call. If you recognize it in time, fix it. Be mature enough to admit when you make a mistake. Writers have to be able to take critique. Though you may feel that Alpha readers, Beta readers, agents and editors are ripping the still-beating heart out of your manuscript, understand that they are trying to help you. Take their advice seriously -- don't blow it off! In the end it will be your name on the book, but those acknowledgment pages are long for a reason.
Every game is different. A huge number of factors -- grass or turf; private school or public; nice weather or bad -- will influence each game. You should never go into a game with any expectations based on prior experience, or else you may inadvertently affect the outcome. Each time you sit down with a new manuscript, it's a blank slate/notebook paper/computer screen. The variables -- genre; setting; point of view; gender of main character; amount of chocolate you've just eaten -- are likely to be completely different. Each new project will present its own set of challenges.
You can always, ALWAYS, get better. Umpires always have the opportunity to improve their skills and move up, from apprentice to veteran, high school to college, U.S. to international hockey. It takes dedication and the willingness to learn from your mistakes. Each time you finish a manuscript you've grown and become a better writer, with new and different skills. Every aspiring writer could get published if they worked hard enough and long enough. I truly believe that.
Thank you so much Sarah for guest blogging with us!