This is a post I contributed last week to the Long and Short Reviews website for their Spring series of blog posts.
My darling husband is a golfer and he really enjoys the game. I, however, find it extremely frustrating. Every spring I watch him practice, hitting range balls and then working on his short game at the putting green. I will even join him at that, just for fun. After all, it’s exercise, right?
I like to think of writing practice as exercise, too. I can put any words I like on paper, but no one has to see them. Like a golfer preparing for a big tournament, I can “putt” across the page and warm up before writing anything important. I can write a chapter and send it off to my critique partners, and they will let me know if I’ve made any huge mistakes.
But the real trials begin out on the course, once practice is over. Much like life, once you’re out in the real writing world things become tougher. There are no “mulligans,” or Do-overs, in real life. And there’s no practice at getting out of the toughest sand traps. Rejections and manuscript problems can be just like those sand traps; you chip and swing and still end up stuck, unable to move in any direction. Perspiring more all the time. There’s only one way out, and it starts with prayer. Ask God to guide you out of life’s sand traps, and do as He suggests. It may not actually help your golf game, but it will help with life’s trials and tribulations. It won’t hurt your writing, either.