What Brazilian Jui-Jitsu Can Teach Us About Going Pro as AUTHORS

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Some of you may know that (for stress relief) I practice Brazilian Jui-Jitsu. Being a teacher and a writer, I see lessons in everything. Strangely, our dojo is not known for BJJ. It’s mainly Shito Ryu Karate and those classes are always packed. There’s a plethora of black belts and they earned it. Many are kids, and they’re a wonder to behold.

Our Jui-Jitsu class? Right now we are down to five people—two out with injuries, one went off to med school and two are on vacation. This can feel weird when the next class over is packed wall-to wall with students.

Last night we were talking about why our group was so small. Why are people not as attracted to BJJ? Why do so many sign up then quickly leave? I’m being careful here, because over my many years, I’ve studied four forms of martial arts and two styles of fighting—Tae Kwon Do (Korean), Karate (Japanese), Wing-Jitsu (a fusion one Wing Chun Kung Fu and Jui-Jitsu), Japanese Jui-Jitsu, regular boxing and kickboxing.

All have strengths and weaknesses.

I have my preferences. I liked Wing-Jitsu the best because I really love doing throws and I love the hand to hand combat. But is it better than any other? Depends on the fighter.

***Hmmm, like genre preferences?

So Why ARE We So Small?

First, in BJJ you are a white belt for a looooooooooong time. The minimum time is 18 months. When people in other classes are blowing through the belt-rainbow faster than a Skittle commercial and we’re still sporting a white belt? Can be tough on the ego.

There is no “outside badge” of what we know.

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of GollyGForce

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of GollyGForce

Also, since we’re mostly on the floor grappling, there’s a lot of nuance outsiders don’t see. We aren’t doing the fancy kicks and things that look “cool.” And, bluntly, BJJ is a tough, tough, tough sport. It’s hard on the body because we mostly fight. BJJ is also something that is pretty much impossible to do alone. We can’t hone our skills with a punching bag. We must have others to practice with. Since we’re doing a lot of throwing and joint locks and wear no pads, injuries are commonplace. In two months I’ve broken my nose and two toes.

Just goes with the sport *shrugs*.

***And, for the record, all of my MAJOR injuries were NEVER in a dojo. Soccer, icy pavement, and evil coffee tables hurt me worse than any martial arts.

Last week, I fought the guy who broke my nose. He made a comment about being easy on me and I chastised him. If I wanted to go through life with no pain I’d take up scrapbooking and I sure as hell wouldn’t be a writer.

What BJJ and Writing Can Teach Us

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Kristina Zuidema

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Kristina Zuidema

This brings me to my point. I see a LOT of parallels in BJJ and us choosing to go pro as writers. BJJ is easier if we go into it understanding the realities of the sport. We set our expectations correctly. Too many newbies don’t, which is why they quit. They think they will be the special case, the person who’s only a white belt for a month or that they can compete without pain.

Same in writing. I’ve been guilty. I didn’t need craft books or classes. Ptht. *rolls eyes* When I wrote my first “novel” my biggest concern was how to choose an agent when all of them said yes and were fighting over my book. Talk about an awkward cocktail party. I so wish I were kidding. Yes, I was an idiot. Laugh at me. I do. The query letters agents make jokes about? That was ME.

At first I was discouraged in my writing career. I wanted to give up daily. The more I wrote, the more I was rejected, the dumber I felt. I believe much of this could have been avoided had I understood the realities of what it meant to go pro. Then my expectations would have been more reasonable.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sally Jean

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sally Jean

What to Expect

We WILL Be Tempted to Judge Ourselves by Outside Opinions

Like BJJ, most of us will be white belts a LONG, LONG time. What most people fail to appreciate is there is a massive disparity within “white belt writers.” In BJJ, a white belt who’s been in class for a month is NOT the same as one who’s been fighting/training for over a year. But bluntly, outsiders will all see the same color belt and, since they haven’t been on the mats, they can’t possibly understand.

Same in writing. A writer who’s just stepped out to attempt writing a novel is often regarded the same as a writer who’s been working hard for a year or two. Just like outsiders don’t understand that the process for gaining belts in BJJ is slooooow, regular people believe the second we finish a book, it should be shelved at B&N the very next week and on the NYTBS list by the end of the month.

They have NO concept how slow the process is for writing a novel and getting that book to market (even if we were freakish savants who wrote the World’s Perfect Book our first try). Often when we’re new, even WE don’t understand this.

Regular People: So, can I get your books at a bookstore? No?

Subtext: You aren’t a “real” writer.

This is why humility is such a vital trait in life, martial arts and writing. We need to be open to not knowing “everything” and seek help from those stronger and more seasoned. We also should give ourselves permission to be new, to be learning. We get too focused on the “belt” (getting published/selling lots of books) and that’s when depression sets in and we’re tempted to give up. It has to be about LOVE of the sport (writing) and less about the recognition if we have any hope of sticking to it long enough to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Writing is ALL About Endurance, Tenacity, and SENSITIVITY

Grappling will test the limits of the human body. We spar 40-50 minutes straight with one-minute rest breaks for water. Then, the next round and the next….and the next. It’s why a lot of people quit. It’s hard work and nothing like TV or the movies ;) .

Same with writing. The Modern Author has A LOT of work ahead. Most people don’t “get” that we are going to write probably about a million words before we even know what we’re doing (then add in branding, business, social media and LIFE).

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***Btw, and if you happen to get a clue before the million words and are the exception, GO YOU. But if we go in knowing how hard this is, we’re less likely to be over-critical and give up. I know it took me at least a quarter million words to unstick my head out of my own butt.

Also, in BJJ, most people can’t see all we are balancing at the same time. Attacking, defending, calculating physics nonstop and at top speed; using hands feet, knees and mind all simultaneously. It’s a sport of strategy. It’s VITAL we learn to feel the body of the opponent, to anticipate the next move. It’s less about me and more about others.

Readers often don’t appreciate all the countless nuances of what we do, because if we’re any good, we MAKE it look easy. But we’re balancing character, plot, dialogue, subtext, symbol, description, etc. etc. Excellent writers focus on others. We feel the ebb and flow of the human condition and relax into the reality that what we do takes a lot of time in lonely places with no cheer squad.

The late David Eddings said it best and here is the extended quote:

“My advice to the young writer is likely to be unpalatable in an age of instant successes and meteoric falls. I tell the neophyte: Write a million words–the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.

“When you are with people, listen; don’t talk. Writers are boring people. What are you going to talk about so brilliantly? Typewriters? The construction of paragraphs? Shut your mouth and listen. Listen to the cadences of speech. Engrave the sound of language on your mind. Language is our medium, and the spoken language is the sharp cutting edge of our art. Make your people sound human. The most tedious story will leap into life if the reader can hear the human voices in it. The most brilliant and profound of stories will sink unnoticed if the characters talk like sticks.

“Most of all, enjoy what you’re doing. If you don’t enjoy it, it’s not worth doing at all. If hard and unrewarding work bothers you, do something else. If rejection withers your soul, do something else. If the work itself is not reward enough, stop wasting paper. But if you absolutely have to write–if you’re compelled to do it even without hope of reward or recognition–then I welcome you to our sorry, exalted fraternity.” (David Eddings R.I.P, Christchurch City Libraries Blog)

Master the BASICS

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Never underestimate the power of the SIMPLE. Mastery is only attained by achieving a sound foundation of fundamentals. Make them second nature. Basics are CRITICAL. When people are injured in BJJ, it’s often because they forgot basics.

Stay on the balls of your feet so you can maneuver. Relax. Roll into an attack and use the opposition’s momentum against them. Don’t post a leg where your opponent can grab it.

When I studied Jui-Jitsu, you know what we did the first two months? FALL. Over and over and over. That was it. Nothing fancy. But if you don’t know how to fall? That’s when bones get broken.

Many writers run to self-publish and they get popped because the BASICS are botched or even missing—POV, proper grammar, punctuation, dialogue, etc. Instead of starting with foundational stuff and building ART from there, they hurry or try to be “fancy”. Don’t. Basics are cool.

To make this point, here is a GREAT, GREAT laugh from my hero, Weird Al Yankovic…

What are your thoughts? Do you compare your progress too much with your peers? Do you find yourself rushing? Is it discouraging when outsiders act like you are some poseur because they haven’t seen your book as a movie yet? Do you go back to edit and realize you forgot to stay simple and harness the basics? It’s okay. Did you start out writing as clueless as I was? Then beat yourself up because you “failed”? Do you have a tough time celebrating the small victories?

It’s OKAY. I am guilty of ALL of these. This stuff doesn’t go away, it’s why vigilance is important. It’s also why I blog more about my failures than successes. I want you guys to see the REALITY of what we do, not some Photoshopped unreality.

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of JULY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

For those who need help building a platform (HINT: Start as EARY as possible) here’s my newest social media book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE. Only $6.99.

THIS SATURDAY!!!!!

SATURDAY is my ANTAGONIST CLASS. NYC Time 12:00-2:00. Use WANA15 for $15 off. Have an idea for a book? Stuck and can’t move forward? Keep starting books you can’t finish? THIS class is the cure! You get two…okay usually more like three hours of instruction, the recording, detailed notes AND you can upgrade for personal consulting to help you repair or construct your masterpiece.

 

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  1. #1 by Charles on July 24, 2014 - 2:02 pm

    Great advice… I struggle to celebrate my small victories too. Thanks for sharing. And that stuff looks ROUGH!!!

  2. #2 by Susanne Leist on July 24, 2014 - 2:09 pm

    I enjoy reading your articles. I copy them into my computer for future reference.

  3. #4 by underhillmanor on July 24, 2014 - 2:19 pm

    Yeah…personally, still in the “need to go write a million words” phase. I want to write well, and am working on crafting stories, but it’s just not there yet. This is great though, and really encouraging. Even if I am not writing anything right now that would be worth publishing, I am also not just wasting my time by practicing.

  4. #5 by Living simplyy on July 24, 2014 - 2:22 pm

    Oh, i just fell in love with your blog Kristen, and this time i didn’t break my arms or neck so it’s all great. Every article you write seems to be directly responding to my ridiculous questions and doubts about writing. Besides, I’m entering a martial arts class next month, i still don’t know which one will suit me better, i wish i could enter a Brazilian Jui-Jitsu class (i need to learn how to fall correctly, that’s a must), but there are none in where i live. Anyhow, wish me luck and thank you for being a great writer/blogger/person. Xx

    • #6 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 24, 2014 - 2:38 pm

      If you can get a Krav class or regular Jui-Jitsu? TONS OF FUN. Judo is another good one. BJJ is great because most fights Do end up on the ground. If someone tries to rape a woman? Going to get her on the ground. So knowing how to %$#@@#$%^ them up on the ground? Priceless. But, it isn’t as “fun” as others I’ve studied.

  5. #7 by Elke Feuer on July 24, 2014 - 2:27 pm

    I do compare my progress and bad writing to other writers’ awesomeness, however I try to use it constructively as inspiration and/or something to aspire to more than beat myself up. A friend of mine is a single mom with four kids. If she can find time to write and publish her books then my lame excuses don’t cut it. :-)

  6. #8 by sharonhughson on July 24, 2014 - 2:28 pm

    Yes, it is discouraging to have been writing full-time for a year and still have nothing to show for it (as far as readers are concerned). I tell myself all the time that I have plenty to show for it: four complete first drafts, 15,000 words of a sequel to a novel I threw away (it was a practice in finding my real story), a fictionalization that’s 65% done and now 25.000 words into my newest novel. Also, one novel is at the “ready to query” stage, meaning I spent months rewriting, reworking, editing, getting feedback, revising, editing and proofing a single manuscript. (Yes, I am sick of that story now).
    Some days I get down, but I don’t want to quit. I did that two other times in my life and I have only lived to regret it. I am a professional writer. Someday I’ll even have published material to prove it.

  7. #10 by moxeyns on July 24, 2014 - 2:32 pm

    Woah! BJJ sounds scary! At least no-one’s trying to break bits of you whilst writing – physically, at least!

  8. #11 by Raven ShadowHawk on July 24, 2014 - 3:13 pm

    I want to say something deep and meaningful about how awesome this post is (because it is, by the way, please don’t get me wrong).
    But that Weird Al song is just AMAZING! I can’t understand how I’ve not heard it before. I’m going to be singing it all night. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. ^_^

  9. #13 by Nan on July 24, 2014 - 4:31 pm

    Kristen, this is brilliant–thanks. My son did BJJ in college and is now applying to med school; I intend to share this post w/him as he writes his essays. btw–what do you do in your spare time?? P.S. Am a suffering writer myself…

  10. #14 by Katie Masters on July 24, 2014 - 4:47 pm

    I LOVE your Blog Kristen! I read it daily and it helps me get through some of the harder times of waiting! I will say I do compare myself to my peers–but only because I have friends who have been published! I try not to, but its incredibly hard. There’s a wonderful phrase that I try to keep in mind whenever I do. “Don’t compare your beginning to some one else’s middle.” A good friend of mine who is a popular writer has gone through blood and sweat and tears to get there, I know its a struggle no matter what–but when you see friends or even not so talented writers getting picked above you…that’s hard.

    So thank you for your blog! I can’t stop writing–I’d die if I did–and I know its a hard unforgiving road. But thanks for being here online sharing your experience, it makes it easier to keep things in perspective when I think I’m the only one being turned down!

  11. #15 by megankuykendall on July 24, 2014 - 6:00 pm

    Reblogged this on Megan Kuykendall's Blog and commented:
    Author Kristen Lamb is one of my all time favorite bloggers. Hope you all enjoy this piece.

  12. #16 by ugiridharaprasad on July 24, 2014 - 7:20 pm

    copied your articles to my computer for my future study

  13. #17 by ontyrepassages on July 24, 2014 - 7:45 pm

    Yes, like everyone I must fight the mental turmoil and does feel like I’m being thrown, but I’m better at managing it these days. At this point I’m looking at over ten years (longer if you count the down time while ill in the middle) and about 1.5 million words. Even so, the greatest gains have come in the last three years. Everything before that…I don’t know who wrote that stuff.

  14. #18 by naomibellina on July 24, 2014 - 7:50 pm

    As always, your post is perfect for me today. It lifted me right up off that blue, stinky mat of despair. Thanks so much for sharing, even the yucky stuff.

  15. #19 by Chad Lutzke on July 24, 2014 - 9:27 pm

    “We need to be open to not knowing ‘everything’ and seek help from those stronger and more seasoned.” That’s what I’m doing here :) Thanks for sharing, Kristen…and nice analogy.

  16. #20 by Dambreaker on July 24, 2014 - 10:11 pm

    Just today, I celebrated a small victory with My own blog. It was great!!!!

  17. #21 by Nida S. on July 24, 2014 - 11:10 pm

    It shoul be ‘about love for the sport – writing- than about recognition!’ That to me is the ultimate motive for writing. Everything else is just a byproduct of this love. And I love the David Eddings quote! I’m holding on to this one.

  18. #22 by eightdecades on July 24, 2014 - 11:36 pm

    Do you find yourself applying jui-jitsu to your negotiations with the publishing world, as in use of their strength to your advantage. and if so do you have a writing example? I guess how could you not.
    I am thinking specifically of a jui-jitsu mind thing not a business move! I understand the discipline connection, but would find your answer interesting.

  19. #23 by Deborah Makarios on July 24, 2014 - 11:41 pm

    Coincidentally, I just read Ngaio Marsh’s letter to a wannabe writer (“My Poor Boy”). She says “Either you go in under your own steam, as every published writer has had to do in the beginning, or you decide that you don’t feel like taking the risk of working very hard for no reward. In which case you are not, even potentially, a writer.”

    It is very hard, nay, discouraging, plugging along with nothing to show for it but a mounting stack of paper which may or may not, when it comes to it, be worth anything at all.
    I try to remind myself of Henry James’ words: “We do what we can, we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task”.

    By the by, is that blog reference the Christchurch City Libraries of Christchurch, New Zealand, my old stamping grounds?

  20. #24 by doovinator on July 25, 2014 - 2:31 am

    My computer hasn’t learned to fall yet. What am I doing wrong?

  21. #25 by thepaperbutterfly on July 25, 2014 - 3:33 am

    I spent five years writing a 200k fanfic novel (had to take several long breaks due to multiple hip surgeries), and while I was getting like 20 reviews per chapter, it was awful XD I left it up because a lot of people loved it, but it’s really quite horrible as a whole. I’m not embarrassed by it. Why should I be? It was my first attempt at creative writing. My prose and storytelling ability improved so much since I started it. So it was very uneven. I feel like some writers look down on fanfiction, but there were some incredible writers that I learned a lot from. I jumped into the world of original fiction about a month ago, and I’m starting with short stories, and I’m going to build my way up. I’m going to try to get them published in literary magazines. In the meantime in voraciously reading more books, and notable literary magazines. I need to pay more attention to nuances in human speech because I really suck at dialogue -____- Your articles are really helpful!

  22. #26 by Kate Sparkes on July 25, 2014 - 4:56 am

    Fantastic. I do compare myself to others too frequently, and I’m a huge perfectionist, but I knew that going in. I tried to prepare myself with high hopes, but with expectations that were far more realistic and in line with what most newly-published writers experience. It makes the small victories pleasant surprises, and keeps disappointment at bay. :)

    As far as people asking whether my book is in stores, that doesn’t bother me. I don’t consider my indie-by-choice work “less than” anything traditionally published stuff. It’s just different distribution. I smile and say “Nope! But the paperback is available through Amazon, and e-books are on major sites. How do you prefer to read?” I decided a while ago that store shelves weren’t important enough for me to go that route, so why would I let a casual comment make me feel bad? And if it’s not a casual comment and they ARE trying to make me feel bad… why am I talking to them, again?

    I do celebrate the small victories. What I’m finding hard is when things slip a bit. Something that would have seemed mind-blowing a few weeks ago gets a little frown if it’s not as good as it was yesterday. But I’m working on that.

    Thanks for another great post!

  23. #27 by njmagas on July 25, 2014 - 5:13 am

    Great post, and I agree completely. I’ve done martial arts most of my life (karate, then tae kwon do, then kendo and kyudo). On the days when I sit at my computer staring helplessly at the evil, blank screen, or stand in the practice line, sweltering in my bogu, I think “why do I do this to myself?” The only clear answer is “because I love it”. It’s the same for both writing and martial arts. It can be painful, mentally and physically exhausting; constant failure can prey upon morale and make giving up seem oh, so tempting. But when it’s done right, when you can feel the progress, even if it’s just a tiny step forward, a single little epiphany that makes the current hurdle easier, somehow it makes up for all the trials and frustrations, and everything feels right in the world.

    Until you realize that in fixing one thing you break three more. Ah, well. There’s always room for improvement.

    Stay safe in the dojo. Grappling arts have always seemed wickedly dangerous to me… says the woman who gets hit on the head with sticks for fun.

  24. #28 by adstarrling on July 25, 2014 - 8:15 am

    Wonderful post! Agree with all of it. I definitely compare my progress too much with my peers and need to learn to walk before I can run. I am learning to be patient. But still have a rough time celebrating ANY victory, small or large!

    And I love this insight into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. My protagonist in Greene’s Calling is a black belt in the sport :) http://www.adstarrling.com/bonus/greenes-calling-character-profiles/

  25. #29 by J. D. Hager on July 25, 2014 - 8:53 am

    I really like the David Eddings quotes. It is frustrating to put so much time and effort and pieces of oneself on paper only to have it rejected or go unread. Rejection doesn’t wither my soul so much as inspire me to try harder. I take it as a challenge and know that if I keep writing and putting the time and effort in it will pay off in the long run. Your posts are the perfect mix of information, inspiration, and humor to keep me reading. I just purchased your book and look forward to reading it and beginning to create my platform. Thanks for reminding me I am not alone.

    • #30 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 25, 2014 - 11:28 am

      THANK YOU! ((HUGS)). You guys do a lot for my soul as well…maybe more. Keep pressing!

  26. #31 by bardotbarbiturate on July 25, 2014 - 8:58 am

    I’ve long wanted to do kick boxing (I watched a lot of Buffy) but there’s never been a class conveniently located for me to easily get to.

    I can’t help but compare myself to others when it comes to how quickly some people write. I’m slow due to heavy duty meds that make my mental processes drag. In addition to that, I’ve made attempts to write in the past and have never gone beyond the first page. I’m reluctant to push myself too hard lest this story meet the same fate as the others and remain unfinished.

    I’m going to go down the self-publishing route because I feel it unlikely a traditional publisher would pick it up regardless of how well it’s written. It’s not the type of story I would expect to be much of a money spinner. I’m going to be putting it through a professional edit which I expect will be a painful experience but I want it to be the best that it can be.

    Every time I sit down to write I consider it a small victory as each day is a day longer than I’ve ever written before.

  27. #32 by Sonia G Medeiros on July 25, 2014 - 9:10 am

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today! I recently discovered I need to go back almost to square one with my novel and it’s been difficult. On the one hand, I’m excited by all the new possibilities (and the opportunity to do a far better job) and, on the other, I’m struggling with the sloooooowness of it all. It took me a long time to get to the point where I had to throw most of my work away. Now, it’ll be that much longer until I’m done. But I’m getting all sorts of great training. :)

    Also, I love the Word Crimes video. LOL. I saw this the other day and it cracked me up.

  28. #33 by Sonia G Medeiros on July 25, 2014 - 9:16 am

    Oh, and “Amen!” to the part about “if rejection withers your soul, do something else.” Except I’d say we shouldn’t give up; we should be prepared for it. Learn to roll with it. To evaluate the rejection/criticism. Is it useful info? Just vitriol? Nobody likes to be told his/her baby is ugly but sometimes it’s got to be said (hopefully, in a helpful way). Rejection is part of getting better. It’s how we know how to get better. And, just because someone is intensely sensitive to rejection at the start, it doesn’t mean they can’t learn to get past the sting and focus on what really matters, the work.

  29. #34 by Gry Ranfelt on July 25, 2014 - 9:25 am

    I know our expectations of how we should write can really cripple us. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others too much but do what’s fun. Like with training – even if running intervals is effective I might hate running so much that I don’t get as much out of it as I would riding my bike. *Shrugs* Everybody have their own ways.
    That’s a weird analogy.

  30. #35 by Kit Dunsmore on July 25, 2014 - 10:19 am

    I love the bit about being a white belt forever and how people outside the sport can’t appreciate how much learning is going on, and how the white belt is changing with time becauset hey can’t see it. I’ve been writing hard for seven years and know I am just starting to figure things out. Have I hit 1M words yet? Maybe.But I know there’s still plenty to learn.

    Inspired and comforted by your wisdom, as always. Thanks, Kristen!

  31. #36 by Rachel Thompson on July 25, 2014 - 10:20 am

    I will reenforce one idea you touched sidelong. Write for the reader: clarity, for the reader’s enjoyment, is paramount.
    Ray Bradbury said he wrote 2 million words before he published his first short story. It’s 10 % talent and 90% hard work. Frankly, talent isn’t that important.

  32. #37 by Rachel Thompson on July 25, 2014 - 10:22 am

    You want small victories? Write letters to the editor and write for any news letter or community none- pay rag you can find. Getting in print, any print, inspires and instructs.

  33. #38 by lonestarjake88 on July 25, 2014 - 10:32 am

    I also practiced Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing, and a smidgen of Muay Thai Boxing, but not enough to brag about. They are all tough sports, it’s true. I did Kuk Sol Won which is a grappling Martial Art, but I like the striking ones better.
    One thing I always think about in my writing is I’m looking at folks who send their books out there by chance and just get in. They did no hard work (besides writing of course) and I have to admit, I get a little envious. Sometimes, I want a big break, but I have to remind myself that big breaks are rare and the successful have to earn it.

  34. #39 by sbjamestheauthor on July 25, 2014 - 11:32 am

    This was such a great post! I loved to comparison of writing to a sport. While I am not familiar with martial arts, aside from my brother taking Tae Kwon Do years ago, I am very familiar with figure skating. To do that sport properly, you really need to train for years, and yes you will see people get ahead of you progress wise, but rather than comparing yourself to others, you need to compare yourself to the progress you’ve already made. I also liked how you mentioned how being an author looks to outsiders. If I mention that I’ve got my first draft done, I hear, “So when are you going to publish it? Is it going to be ready next week?” It gets frustrating, especially when you hear about certain authors that write one new book every month.
    Thanks for the reminder that I’m not alone in this.

  35. #40 by Robin Lyons on July 25, 2014 - 12:15 pm

    Loved the correlation between BJJ and writing. My son is a blue belt in BJJ, he practices no-gi. I hadn’t thought about the similarities between what he does and what I do until I read this blog post. Thanks for always telling it like it is.

  36. #41 by Kayla Dawn Thomas on July 25, 2014 - 3:22 pm

    I love your comparison of writing to Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. Writing is tough stuff. It took going through the process of writing and publishing my first book to really get a grasp on the whole thing, and some days it really does come down to grappling on the ground.

  37. #42 by conniecockrell on July 25, 2014 - 5:30 pm

    I took Japanese Ju Jitsu in my late 20’s. I loved it. I got very good at falling to the floor in a forward roll. Can’t tell you how many times I tore a groin muscle/tendon. The next day after a lesson I’d be limping.

    I never compared that to writing but I can see it now you’ve pointed it out. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  38. #43 by theywalkthenight on July 28, 2014 - 10:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Today, You Will Write and commented:
    great post!

  39. #44 by Uncle Guacamole on July 29, 2014 - 3:23 am

    I think a lot of new(er) writers need to chill out. This is why I love blogging so much. There’s really no stress involved. I get to write as much or as little as I want to, and I get lots of practice. I try to make each post better than the last. I get to try out a lot of different techniques. I receive very few comments, so I don’t know whether anyone is reading me or not. It doesn’t matter. I have no idea how many words I’ve written. Over a million? Probably. Or not. Who cares? I don’t have to worry about finding a publisher because I hit the Publish button and it’s a done deal. I don’t have to worry about money because there is none. Blogging is super great for people like myself who are not fond of rejection, because there is none. Most importantly, I get to do other things and don’t have to give my life over to writing. I’ve been working on a book for a while and I am now nearing completion. I am toying with the idea of just serializing it on my blog. If I’m happy with it, I want to share it with others. Money is a barrier, a wall that needs to come down. Let the writers enjoy writing and the readers enjoy reading. And who will support the poor struggling writer? Let the writer do something else for a living. After all, life experience is what makes great writing. Or else the writer can just be an impoverished unemployed person like myself. But I dislike the self-righteous rhetoric of those who say that you shouldn’t write unless you feel absolutely compelled to do so, unless you can’t do anything else. My hero is William Carlos Williams, physician and world-renowned poet.

  40. #45 by Glen Ford on July 31, 2014 - 10:46 am

    NYTBS (New York Times Bestsellers) (sorry typo popped at me).
    Good article that points out what so many new writers forget.

  41. #47 by writerfitz on August 10, 2014 - 7:29 pm

    So cool to see another lady BJJ-er and writer! Neither is for sissies.

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