In the wake of the United States National Women’s Soccer Team’s fourth World Cup win today, I want to talk about goals.
No, not the kind that Rapinoe & Lavelle shoved into the back of the net in the second half, although those were like sweet iced tea on a hot summer day, am I right?!
I’m speaking of the kind that we all make at some point in our lives be it sitting in front of the television watching top-level athletes achieve theirs, or sitting and reading the first book that provided the inspiration for you (and me) to throw our creative hats in the ring and call ourselves “authors.”
I come at this from a fairly unique perspective, relatively speaking. My youngest daughter has been playing The Beautiful Game since she was in second grade. She just turned twenty-one this past week and will be starting summer training for her senior year on the women’s soccer team at a Division One school in a couple of weeks. In short, I’ve been learning what the HECK is offsides in soccer just as long and am proud to note that I still can’t see it. But that’s neither here nor there.
My point is, when I watch those incredible women run, kick, defend, tackle, and run some more, I know exactly what it took for them to get where they are.
My kid does it too. She runs, lifts weights, practices ball-handling and agility almost non-stop and has done so for a long time. Mind you, we can have a legit discussion about how only the United States can take a game designed for people who can only afford something resembling a ball and a goal, and turn it into a sport that only rich kids can excel at another time but I will tell you that while I am not rich, I have paid for countless hours of training of all sorts for her, to get her to this place.
I have used gas and vacation money/time to get her to tournaments where she can “be seen” along with the aforementioned hours of practices, training, and extra training. I watched those grown women do their thing today (and earlier in the month, and during the regular season too, but remember, I’m sort of indoctrinated into it) and I know what it took to get them there. It sounds clichéd but I’m willing to bet that anyone of you out there, eagerly consuming this little blog post who had kids who played sports (or played sports yourselves) understand that it is: blood, sweat, and tears.
You go until you can’t, then you go some more.
You never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up because if you do, there’s someone right behind you who gives it one more “ever” to take your place on the team or in the standings. You get knocked down. You get up and try again. Or else. Many quit. Many more don’t. And even in spite of that level of commitment, many will only see a bare few minutes of actual playing time once the college level playing goal has been achieved. Which, of course, does not exempt those student athletes from attending every single practice, weight training, team meeting, and game.
The same can be said for those of us out here in the writing trenches.
We have ideas. We write them down. We get edited one way or another and revise, rewrite, and lather, rinse, repeat. We get knocked down by rejection, reviews, reader abandonment. And yet what do we do?
Well, I know what I do. It defies logic. I send out more submissions. I revise and re-release an entire series. I submit to a new anthology. Anything to keep a goal in my sights.
I’ll be the first to admit that these last two years I’ve not been as prolific as I have in the past. I’ve been in trench warfare mode, trying to conjure a way to find agency representation (again) and more reader awareness. I’ve gone to Radish for some of this, which has allowed me to write outside my initial comfort zone and create a couple of thrillers you can read one episode/chapter at a time for cents on the dollar. I’ve made a concerted effort to find new review sites. I’m pondering getting a Patreon site. I’ve done some newsletter finagling. I’ve found a new small publisher to try. I’ve even co-written a book that’s also out on submission.
This is me, rising at five a.m. and doing my five-mile run before weights, before work and before a couple of hours of speed and agility training. Because I will get that fourth star which for me resembles a go-getter agent who won’t abandon me mid-stream, a publisher who’ll pay me an advance, speaking engagements, live book tours I don’t have to schedule, best seller brag rights on a regular basis.
Of course, I’ll settle for one or two of these.
But I am putting in the hours and I do not plan to give up.
Keep your goals firmly in front of you and if you must, blinker your eyes so you don’t get distracted by everyone else’s seeming overnight success. Those who actually achieved that were flukes. Everyone else worked for it. And we all know what working for it means.
Go on. Work for it!
This month’s tiny brag involves FireBrew, an unconventional novel that contains a romantic theme but is actually about a woman who, in fact, refuses to give up or let the world tell her what she can’t do. It’s about being your own hero, before you’ll allow yourself to admit that you might love the guy who has kind of been standing right in front of you the whole time.
It’s recently been nominated for a Georgia Romance Writer’s Maggie Award for Mainstream Fiction with Romantic Elements and I could not be prouder. It was also named Best Contemporary of 2018 by Love Romances Café. It also makes a lot of reviewers unhappy. So there you have it.
Read the content warning, then download a copy and decide for yourself!