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.

GROUNDHORSE Day better watching Puppy Bowl X


Okay, Phil the Groundhog saw his shadow on February 2, 2014, but he probably wasn’t as frightened by it as the Denver Broncos seemed to be of the Seattle Seahawks in SuperBowl XLVIII. The event started off great with the reading of the Declaration of Independence by prominent football players, coaches, and dignitaries. Queen Latifa sang America the Beautiful and opera star, Renee Fleming, sang the National Anthem. (I was enjoying that immensely until she deviated from the straight tune at the end, like so many others. It’s no wonder players showcase when they make a big play – seems everyone does it). Even Joe Namath’s coin toss promised an exciting game, but a bad snap which gave Seattle a safety and did not bode well for Denver. Hey, only two points, right?  But soon, the Seahawks were up 23-0 and not even a strange young girl pushing Maseratis commercial or Charlie Brown and Schroeder playing the piano for Metlife could ease the feeling that the Broncos were being ground to a pulp.

Why didn’t Peyton Manning do what he does best – throw the ball 20 0r 30 yeards downfield and get first down after first down? Run plays and short passes accomplished nothing and with 1:45 left in the second quarter, Seattle had 9 first downs and Denver only 1. Oh, but there was the halftime show with The Chili Peppers and lots more commercials. But Jerry Seinfeld and George discussing using the bathroom in someone’s master bedroom and then joking around and getting coffee didn’t help much. That’s when we found the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Eight adorable puppies played with a variety of footballs and toys on a scaled down indoor football mat. One puppy was called for “intentional growling” and another picked up a  toy and walked across the goal line. Touchdown! It was cute but a a little hokey. We had a serious football game to get back to.

Percy Harvin (Seattle)  returned the first kick for a touchdown as the second half started. 29-0 now and it got worse. But there was still hope and the promise of more commercials. Laurence Fishburne singing Italian Opera in the back of Kia, a bear ringing the bell on the counter of a country store to get more Chobani, and an American extravaganza with ferris wheels, Rosie the Riveter, and baseball moments for Chrysler (Imported from Detroit) failed to improve the situation.  The memory of some of the better ads in the first half helped a little. Colbert proclaiming “I think we’re done” after talking up Wonderful Pistachios and then a second commercial where his head opens to reveal a ‘stachio inside, was good. There was David Beckham in a tank top for H&M, a “the 80’s called, they want their store back” Radio Shack funny, Tim Tebow for T-mobile, and Ellen Degeneres dancing for Beats music. I have to stop and tell an Ellen story. She said, “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 65. She’s 95 now and we don’t know where the hell she is.” Now that’s funny.

Okay, so Denver finally gets a touchdown and it’s 43-8. But the clock says only 11 minutes are left in the 4th quarter. Time to check the Puppy Bowl. The same pup, a labrador, that scored first has two more touchdowns and one of them was even with a toy football, not a tug-of-war toy. Relunctantly we turn back to the game for a few more ccommercials. John Stamos takes his pants off for Oikos, a cute puppy and Clydesdale ad for Budweiser is ususal, and a variation of the Mean Joe Green Coke commercial starring a kid who carries the football all the way from his homefield to a big-league stadium brings memories. But there is no getting around the fact that this is the worst Superbowl that I can remember. The best offense and the best defense in the League were supposed to offer an exciting game. But it was the worst ever, maybe. I guess someone will check and dispute that, but it’s over, thankfully, and there’s still more football to come on Puppy Bowl X. Even if it’s replays, puppies are cute.