Sunday, March 6, 2011

Success Tips

I'm a Utah Jazz Fan.  Have been since the days of John Stockton and Karl Malone. Can't quit watching now even with all the changes happening.  Anyway, last night as I sat watching the Jazz game -- and they won, yeah! I started thinking about what an NBA player needs to do to succeed and I got to thinking so many of the steps are what any of us need to succeed.  Let me share some of the things I came up with.  Perhaps they can help you or perhaps it will bring other things to mind. 

1.  Enjoy what you do.  This is a must.  Can you imagine an NBA athlete playing ball every single day, week after week, being away from home and family if he didn't enjoy the game?  Well, I think that applies to being a writer or doing anything else you want to to do.  My sister is a quilter and she lives and breathes it and it's a good thing because I think it would drive her nuts if she didn't -- and because she loves it so she is definitely succeeding.  I enjoy writing my stories.  It's fun to create new characters, put challenges before them, and somtimes I'm even surprised at the outcome.  But, bottom line, I enjoy it.

2.  Practice, practice, practice.  An NBA athlete must practice constantly, and as a writer, I feel I have to practice writing.  The only way to improve your craft is to practice it, strive to improve.  Spend time going over and over what you do, working hard to be the best.

3.  Do it every day!  Before every game, I hear about NBA players working out, playing scrimmage, dribbling the ball.  It's on going day after day.  It must work for them.  We need to take that to heart and do the same. You've heard the old saying, if you don't use it, you lose it.  Well, I believe that is so true.  If you don't continue to push yourself, working at it regularly, day after day, you lose your touch.  I'm a piano player or at least I used to be pretty good, but it's sad I don't play much any more and because of that, I've definitely lost my touch.  Oh, I can still read the music and figure out where the keys are, but the flow, the ease of playing has gone.  I think your writing is the same.  You have to keep writing, keep producing, use new words, keep your mind thinking of new stories, settings, etc, because if you don't, you'll start to lose your touch.  Don't let that happen to you.

4.  Keep learning.  NBA players are constantly learning new plays from their coaches.  They are constantly challenged by other players and other teams. Writers need to keep learning their craft.  Take classes.  On-line courses are easy and inexpensive.  Strive to keep learning ways to fine-tune your writing, tighten up those sentences, try new words, learn and research constantly.  Don't become stagnant or the world will leave you in the dust.

5.  Talk to writers.  Join writer's groups.  Share your talents.  Let them share with you.  Be a mentor to someone who is just starting.  NBA players are great at mentoring and sharing.  Just in the last few weeks, I listened to C. J. Miles one of our Utah Jazz talk about how much he appreciated Deron Williams for working with him and showing him in practice.  I know, myself, that since joining our Utah RWA Chapter, I have learned so much from the experience of other writers.  I challenge you to do the same.  Not only will this help you continue to learn and grow, but it will enforce the things you know by teaching others, talking about what you've learned.

6.  Celebrate your successes!  Ever watch a ball team after they win?  Oh, yeah, they definitely celebrate their success.  It could be a high five, a hug, carrying their leader on their shoulders or pouring their drinking barrell over the coach's head, but they celebrate.  We have to do the same thing.  Whether it be the completion of your first novel, a request from an editor for your manuscript, or a book that finally is published, celebrate.  Let the world know how you've succeeded.  Let others be a part of your happiness.  I can't tell you how fun it is to hear all the words of congratulations I get from my critique partners and my RWA Chapter.  It definitely boosts your confidence and gives you the energy to take the next step on your journey to success.

You create your own destiny. Take charge.  Take the first step.  Keep working.  There is nothing so sweet as succeeding.

I'd love feedback if anyone can think of other things to add to what I've written.

Have a great day!