*********"I had no idea how hard a game golf was, until I started trying to play," I wrote in a recent email to Rebecca Petruck, my book doctor/editor/cheerleader for Half-Truths.
Writing that made me realize I've said the same thing many times about writing my first novel. Prior to starting Half-Truths, I had no idea how difficult and long the process would be. I just knew I'd always wanted to write a book for young people and if I wanted to do it, I better get busy.
I can't say I've had that same burning desire to play golf. This particular adventure was my husband's idea.
|Creighton and I before teeing off.|
He was right and wrong. Golfers do chase around a small white ball. But occasionally, they also drive, chip, or putt it correctly and much to their delight--the ball goes into the hole.
(posted on youtube by Cliff Hanger. I've done them all.)
It takes a ton of practice to be successful. Time on the driving range. Lessons. Time on the putting green. Persevering after taking a bad shot. Learning that even small "tweaks" in how I position myself in front of the ball, (off my left foot, middle, right) how the club head is faced (open/closed/square) influence the outcome of where the ball lands. Sometimes you have to change your swing all together. Often you need a break away from your clubs.
Novel writing parallels golf in surprising ways. It takes a ton of practice. Writing workshops. Time at the computer. False starts. Perseverance. Editing. Lots and lots of tweaking. For example, Rebecca commented on my third draft: "Carol, currently, the girls sound the same and are hyper-focused on fashion and skin color."
Sometimes writers need to change direction as when Rebecca pointed out, "Think about the difference between rote description, and description that reveals something about the character. When you describe the external world around them, it has to be in order to reflect how they interpret it, what it means to them and how it feels….You write beautifully, but you’ve barely left yourself any room to do so between all the dialogue and descriptions of things like dresses and hairstyles."
And occasionally, writers need time away from the computer to gain a new perspective. (Or to play golf!)
Both golf and writing take a ton of practice and perseverance.
Today I golfed with a new friend-someone much better than myself-- who gave me great tips and some longer tees (another HUGE variable.)
After I made the changes she recommended and drove the ball better, she congratulated me on listening to her advice. "Not everyone listens, you know," Cion said. "Lots of people think they already know everything."
I shrugged and said, "I'm a beginner; I have a lot to learn."
Writing a novel has been the same. Before I started I was a beginner. Along the way I've found qualified teachers who've instructed and shown me what I didn't know.
I've been willing to listen and correct my work.
And I'm driven (no pun intended!) to improve both. Here's hoping that in 2015 I'll do just that.
*******P.S. Another golfer commented, "Golf is like husbands: you have to be patient with both."
If you are a writer, what do you compare your writing to? If you're not a writer, what is your favorite simile or metaphor to explain your life, husband, children...or whatever? Please share!