On Writing, Sports, and Money – Getting from Lack to Knack

JBCfootball     Multi-musings by Jeanie Clemmens 6/4/14

Loud clapping and shouts of “Give me a W-R-I-T-E” woke me very early this morning. My inner cheerleader wouldn’t stop and continued, S-H-A-R-E. You can see what she looked like at 6 a.m.


beauty cheerleader

I said I can’t (and don’t want to) jump as high as you do, but I’ll put you in my blog, if you go away.

Here’s the result:


So your well-written and meticulously edited book hasn’t captured the attention of an agent or sales are not as good as you’d hoped – FORGET ABOUT IT and WRITE ANOTHER BOOK.

“What,” you say, “how can that work? Wouldn’t I just end up with even more books that don’t sell? What about the money for producing, publishing, and marketing additional books?”

You can find reasons (ad nauseum) to not move on and you can question why your book is not a best-seller when you know it’s good, but who hits a home run their first time at bat?

Well, to be fair, 28 major league baseball players have hit a home run in their first appearance in the big league. See who  First time writers have produced best-sellers, granted, but what are the odds? (I don’t know and it’s shameful that I do know the odds of hitting a hole-in-one in golf  are 1 in 12,000 or 1 in 3756, if you’re in the PGA.)

The point is: the players don’t stop swinging when they miss. Now, you could argue that some of them  get paid a lot of money  to keep trying , but if it’s only money you’re interested in when you write, this blog won’t help. (Advice giving is not my specialty and I only share what’s written here because my inner cheerleader threatened to land on me if I didn’t).  Others have advocated the “Write More” philosophy and I didn’t really get it until I tried it.  The main problem with writing more books seemed to be:


In between paychecks or after a budget killing expense is the worst time for a lot of people. “I need to get this” or “We can’t even go to…” are statements you don’t want to hear from your family, or even yourself. Some say finding things to do that don’t require money is “fun” but deep down you’d have more fun if you had more money, right?

Reading books and magazines (I already have) over again, baking the stale brownie mix from the back shelf of the pantry, or hitting practice golf balls in the backyard help me to pass the time until money arrives, but everybody has their own distraction and you should use what works for you.

Girl from support group, cheerleader with flag, silhouette

It helps if you put a LOCK on negative thoughts, adjust, and get through it. Forget what you consider lack of success with your first book, take what you’ve learned and write another. If you can’t afford to edit/publish/market the second one, write a third one while you’re waiting for (or working for) extra money. LOCK on a destination and head for it.*

LACK       LOCK       KNOCK      KNACK *

* Note for word puzzle fanatics, I know of no way of going from “LOCK” to “KNACK” by only changing one letter. Therefore, I bent the rules and changed “l” to “n” and added a “k”).

KNOCK yourself out, figuratively, and work harder at improving little things in your writing. While you should forget about the voices in your head that say “I’ll never get an agent”, “I was foolish to think I could write” or “I  LACK” such and such”, pay extra attention to the ones that say “I should expand my characters” or “Maybe I could edit better”.

Whatever honest criticism you give yourself has to be transformed into a better writing experience the more you write. (I won’t even address the issue of writers who have such a high opinion of themselves that they don’t see that they need to improve, let alone know how to do it. The ones who continually put out trash or keep trying to write the “perfect” bestseller are also excluded. They are the extremes; not the mean).

While you’re at it, KNOCK on doors (query agents, use promotion sites that are free, and ask for reviews). You don’t have to completely ignore your previous books to focus on the new one.

I’m far from a seasoned writer, but the more I write, the more I believe I might someday acquire the KNACK (I wasn’t born with) to write. I don’t ever expect to get the KNACK of doing splits and waving pom-poms, however. I will leave that to my cheerleading muse – but if she wakes me before 7 a.m.on a Saturday ever again, I’m going to take those pom-poms and _______ well, I’ve said enough.

A soccer field with an energetic cheerdancer Have a good write! Jeanie

Photo credit: All images here were purchased from fotolia.com. Golf statistics are from kidzworld.