Monday, June 12, 2017

Writing & Hockey - 5 Things They Have in Common



"You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Wayne Gretzky



Most of you know that I like hockey. My sons played ice and roller hockey in their teens, so I got hooked while doing the hockey mom thing. Was thinking recently how the game is similar to the writer's life, and since The Stanley Cup Finals just concluded, I thought it a good time to explore the similarities. 


1) Practice is Imperative

If a hockey player doesn't practice, he/she won't improve. No getting around that fact. Skating, shooting, scoring, and learning the rules of the game elevate their skills and level of play. The same applies to writers. If we don't make time to write, edit, revise, learn new things and polish our skills, we'll never communicate as effectively as we might have, had we invested practice time.

2) It's a Team Effort

A lone hockey player has never won The Stanley Cup on his own. It takes a talented group of players working together to achieve this coveted goal. Likewise, although writing is a solitary activity, dedicated scribes need support and input from fellow writers, teachers, editors, and others in the industry.

3) Taking a Shot Can be a Good Thing

When my husband coached our sons' hockey team, he'd often tell the players to "pick up the trash around the net". He wanted them to be alert - a loose puck was an opportunity to score. As writers, are we mindful of the opportunities around us? Or do we allow fear, procrastination, or other obstacles to keep us from expanding our horizons? We gain nothing when we don't take a shot on occasion. Wayne Gretzky's words come from years of experience. He's one of the greatest scorers of all time.

4) The Fans 

A hockey player once told me how important supportive fans are. He cited an instance where his team faced elimination in the playoffs, and cheering fans spurred them to rally and win. Even better - they went on to win the series' championship. Writers' fans, of course, are readers. While many writers would still write even if they didn't have an audience, readers can play an important role. They motivate us to educate, inform, meet a need, entertain, or fill a niche. Readers also can provide valuable feedback - whether positive, negative, or simply constructive. The satisfaction of a job well done, our success in writing something worth reading, this is what our fans offer us.
 
5) Eyes on the Goal

No matter the obstacles, whether it's defensemen hindering the offensive line, or a goalie blocking shots, a hockey player's ultimate goal is to score and win. A writer faces similar obstacles, from undeveloped skills or well meaning family (When will you quit writing and get a real job?) to rejections and bad reviews. Dedicated writers need realistic and attainable goals in order to move forward and succeed.


Even if you're not a hockey fan, these similarities can teach us to persevere, grow, and push forward. The writer's life is a journey. It's a marathon, not a sprint. And one worth investing the time and energy to reap great results.

What do you think? Do you agree with Mr. Gretzky? Are you a sports fan? 

I'm taking a break until June 26. See you soon!

Happy writing,
Karen

19 comments :

  1. Hi Karen - not following the finals ... but did watch the French Open over the weekend - tennis for me!! We need to work together, and we need to focus ... so I agree with you - the writer's life is a journey in life ... cheers and enjoy the rest of the finals - Hilary

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  2. So funny that you're comparing writing to hockey since last night I watched a bit of the championship with my boyfriend. Never really watched hockey before. Agree with your analogies.

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  3. Excellent comparisons. And yes, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup last night. Crosby will go down as one of the greatest players ever.

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  4. Always keep your eyes on the goal and not on the distractions.

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  5. Living in the South, we're not big hockey fans, but your analogy between the game and writing is a perfect one. As a published author, I know first hand that we writers need all of the things you've mentioned in order to push on and keep going in our pursuit.
    Thanks so much for this inspiring advice, Karen!

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  6. Sports and writing do have a lot in common!

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  7. Although I am not really a sports fan, I do see the similarities, discipline, team work and some patience are required as a writer. Thank you for the reminders.

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  8. Hilary,
    Yes, I don't think hockey's got quite the following in your neighborhood! :) But tennis is fun to watch too. Didn't catch any of the French Open but I know I'll see some later this summer. We usually catch some of the US Open.

    Natalie,
    Ah, so you've been introduced to hockey! That was a good game to watch. Lots of action and scoring chances. Was hoping that Nashville would force a game 7 but it wasn't to be. :)

    Alex,
    Thanks so much. Yes, Crosby is very talented. I've heard he's been called "The Next One", similar to Gretzky's "The Great One". Just love the sport! :)

    Diane,
    This is so true! And often easier said than done. A reminder is what I need from time to time! :)

    Martha,
    You are very welcome! As for the south, yes, there don't seem to be as many hockey fans. But Nashville sure seems to have embraced the sport and their team! :)

    Lee,
    They do! I've actually been thinking about this for a while and just now getting around to writing about it. :)

    Cecelia,
    Yes, even if you don't like or follow sports, there are several parallels, aren't there? :) Appreciate your thoughts here.

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  9. Skill enhances scoring! Fun post here. Thanks for sharing, Karen. :-)

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  10. Well this was a fun post. Writing certainly IS a team effort.

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  11. Jen,
    Indeed it does! Glad you thought it was fun. ;) Always good to see you.

    Linda,
    So glad you liked it! A team effort, for sure.
    Appreciate your input here! ;)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  12. Great post! My co-author, Stephanie, loves hockey too and she uses that Gretzky quote in our presentation. :)
    ~Jess

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  13. My little grandson got hit in the mouth in one of his games and lost his front teeth. He was so proud! LOL. I was devastated. I love all things hockey.

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  14. Jess,
    Thank you! It's a great quote - that's fun that Stephanie uses it for the presentations. :)

    Joylene,
    Uh oh! Well, he joins the ranks of many seasoned hockey players, I'm thinking. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  15. These are excellent reminders and tips for writers and hockey players, Karen. Thanks so much for sharing them with your followers. All the best to you, my dear.

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  16. Victoria,
    Glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for coming by! Blessings to you as well. :)
    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  17. Your points all align with my thinking on soccer, the favorite sport of our grandson, Sam. He plays his heart out! Great post, Karen. I am constantly encouraged by my writing "team". God bless.

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  18. Excellent comparisons. I'm not an avid sports watcher, but it wouldn't take much to get me there. I think writing is the athletics of the mind, so of course the same lessons would apply, eh?

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  19. Susan,
    It works for soccer too, I agree! :) It's fun to watch the kids play, isn't it? Can't beat a good writing team, right? :)

    Crystal,
    Glad you liked them. Not inclined to be a sports fan either, but when the kids play, well, I just got into it! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!