Writers, this Super Bowl is for us

 

Super Bowl LI between NE Patriots and Atlanta Falcons will long be known as the “greatest comeback ever in Super Bowl history.” I stayed up for it, which for a working mom who gets up at 4 am is a HUGE feat.

Certain family members of mine lost heart in the third quarter. Utterances such as “Game’s over” hit me in the gut, and had me sitting up, arguing, “The game’s not over till the game’s over.”

Writers, this game is for us.

Many a writer has felt despair, rock-bottom hopelessness. Scrabbled, bloody-fingered and bruised, uphill only to be knocked down twice the distance climbed. Many writers have invited that nasty Q-word into their lives; some of us have even surrendered to its embrace. Leagues of writers are familiar with futility, all of our attempts and battles producing such little to no reward we might as well have been spinning our pencils on air.

This Super Bowl game bears lessons to any writer who thinks they have reached their outmost limits, who have begun to lose hope in their ability to achieve their end-goals, who have looked at the futile odds and uttered “Game’s over.”

WORK HARD.

The Patriots aren’t superheroes or magicians. They’re regular guys who have had their fair share of injuries, losing seasons, and ugly performances on the field. They’ve even dealt with scandals. But they figured out how to get past the seemingly insurmountable obstacle known as the Falcons because this is their job, this is what they do for a living, they’ve worked for this moment, through practice, practice, practice.

 

In a writer’s world, working hard means writing on a regular basis; writing when you don’t want to, accepting constructive criticism, setting goals to grow, learn, and thrive by. Working hard means write, write, write.

FOCUS.

I watched Tom Brady’s face (which is decidedly NOT a huge feat) over the course of those first 3 quarters, and he looked worried, a bit disbelieving. His feet got a little happy and he wasn’t always his calm, cool Bradyliciousness.

However, something finally clicked with him, and I can only describe it as focus. He knew what he had to do—even if that job seemed impossible. He assessed where his team was going wrong, rerouted them, and guided them back on course.

The story of Super Bowl LI might have looked written in stone at halftime, but the funny thing about football is that no one can predict which plays, which choices, which acts can upend the foretelling. And the same is true with writing.

Writers, focus is the kind of tool you have complete control over, even when everything else around you is falling apart. Hone it, shape it to your specific needs, and it will keep you in the game as long as your heart is in it.

JUST WRITE.

“I knew I had a good feel on it,” WR Julian Edelman said. “I didn’t know if a piece of the ball was touching. I don’t know what the dang rule is. No one knows what the rule is. I am pretty sure I caught it.”

Edelman had one job to do in that specific moment—catch the darn ball. If he’d gotten caught up in the “rules” or worried if he was screwing up the play, he probably wouldn’t have gotten the job done.

I hear so often from writers who complain about having no time, no support, no inspiration—and so they don’t do their job, which is to write. When it comes down to it, writers have to write if they want to complete projects. Football players have to catch the ball if they want to win the game. All the other noise is just that—noise. Write the story you need to write, feed that burning desire within you—and worry about how pretty it is later.

WORD BY WORD.

If I were a betting gal, I’d say that Brady et al had a play-by-play vision that helped get them to their end-goal. Once they got through one play, they focused on the next play and only the next play.

Tackling your writing career word by word is all you can do sometimes. If you look at all the things you have to accomplish, at all the steps you have to take, you will psych yourself out. Not only that, but you never know which choice could become a turning point, which has been said about Edelman’s ground-grazing catch.

The game’s not over till it’s over. You’re a writer till you stop writing. Write one word, then the next. Worry about the end-goal when you reach the end-goal.

BELIEVE.

All of the above should not detract from the Falcons’ skill or their performance. They played a hell of a game, wore Brady to the bone, and controlled that field with such confidence that many Patriots fans abandoned their TVs and went to bed.

The Falcons made it to the Super Bowl due to hard work and focus, to name a couple of necessary qualifications. But only one team can win a football game and sometimes it comes down to who wants it more, who puts in that extra drive, who doesn’t mentally misfire. Sometimes it comes down to the guy who believes in himself just an nth of a degree more than the other guy.

White-knuckled belief can edge a writer over any obstacle or fear. There will be rotten days that threaten to suck the life out of you, when you’re down from multiple rejections or negative reviews or flailing projects. To rise, you must believe. Genuine, soul-deep belief will carry you across miles of words.

Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did you eat pizza? What do you think helped the Patriots make the most amazing comeback ever in Super Bowl history?

Have a writerly day!!

 

 

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31 thoughts on “Writers, this Super Bowl is for us

  1. Excellent post, Kate. Though, I admit, I was routing for the Falcons even though they trounced the Packers to get there.

    I like to look at the big picture, but sometimes doing that isn’t productive. Staring at the scoreboard and the time left in the game and the seemingly insurmountable amount of things that have to go right to achieve the desired outcome can be downright debilitating. But, as you said, if I can break it down, look at each little step and take that before moving to the next… ah! Things go much better and I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard to not be a NE fan where I’m from–but I would have been just as satisfied if the Falcons had won. Not only did they really deserve to win, but also because they haven’t won a Super Bowl.

      Yes, looking at the big picture is necessary to understand where we are and where we have to go. But it does have a sneaky way of overwhelming and intimidating us. There are *so* many steps to take to accomplish our big goals.

      I approach housecleaning the same way …! 🙂

      Like

  2. Fantastic post, Kate! I’ve eyed that “Q” word many times and thought about taking that path. Even as recently as this weekend. So far, I’ve never done it. But I need to be better at picking myself up and heading forward, hard as it might be.

    I’m not really a football fan so I didn’t watch the game. But I did some writing that day. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacqueline, every once in a while, when things get overly cumbersome, the Q-word sits on my mind. I’m sure it’s normal, especially for those of us who have specific goals and want to do right by them. Of course, we could make everything so much easier if we didn’t care so much about our performance!

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  3. Great connection between writing and the Pats. Never doubt Tom Brady. He’s been in that position before and recently. They are never out of the fight. I have no idea how they won. I kept mouthing, “unbelievable, OMG, they need to march down the field and score here.” It was so miraculous. Everything worked, I still can’t fully grasp it all, so amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was truly an amazing game. We witnessed history in the making, and I’m glad I didn’t give up and go to bed early. Have to say, I would have been okay if the Falcons had won, because they were simply executing from play to play. But as a New Englander, seeing the Pats win does my heart good. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  4. As a big fan of sports and writing, I really get this post! Yes, we too had some in our house who gave up and went to bed at half-time! As I watched the Bradylisciousness(!) I was awed by the focus and mental toughness. And yes, it could have gone the other way for a myriad of reasons, but this time it was the patriots That’s writing too. In so many ways it’s a numbers game and persevering long enough to see the magic happen and the hard work pay off. What a game! What a writer’s life!

    Liked by 1 person

    • exactly–writing is so often based on how well we perform over the long haul. It’s no big deal just to put down words. But to make them sing, to make a reader want to turn the pages, that is a result of hard work and focus (and a small dose of magic). 🙂

      Like

  5. Sometimes the rubber meets the road. And sometimes it comes down to who wins a coin toss. But always, working on the craft, practice, practice, practice, and keeping focus on what’s right in front of us is never a bad way to go. Love all your analogies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed! Keeping our “eye on the prize” sometimes helps keep us on track, especially when there is so much going on around us. And then we’re feeling like we have a pretty good handle on things, take that dare and try to make something more happen!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I take your point and it’s a good one, but I don’t like the Patriots! I can’t stand Belichick’s snarly face. And I don’t trust Tom Brady one bit. I want to be empowered by this Super Bowl comeback, but I see it as a sad, sad win that trounced the underdog, who is by default my hero. *sigh* 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, I was waiting for someone to comment about not liking the Patriots! 🙂 I know they are not well-liked, and with good reason, unfortunately. Belichick does snarl, all the time–he probably looks like that when he’s sleeping!

      And in all honesty, I would have been totally content to have the Falcons win, because they would have deserved it. This post could have just as easily been about how well they executed their plays, how they fought bravely against the tyrant Patriots, and compare that to what a writer is up against to get that book written! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “Tackling your writing career word by word is all you can do sometimes”—Ain’t that the truth? It can be overwhelming with how much there is to do, especially at the onset of a project. I have to remind myself it’s one bite at a time. Some days that bite may be only 300 words, but it’s still a bite.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 300-word bites are bites that weren’t there before! Even on those crazy days when absolutely nothing goes my way, not even my 4 am wake-up call, if I can sit for 15 minutes and get a couple of hundred words written, that always feels good. It’s like a “So there!” to Life’s curve balls. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Holy Flying Elvis!

    K, you have outdone yourself. And yes, this WAS a writer’s game to watch and to take notes on (they’re writers) no matter their allegiance. It was a hell of a game to watch, capped by a master of the big moments in Tom Brady. Who is oh by the way, the Stephen King of the gridiron, seeing as how he has penned a voluminous number of horror story endings to the opposition over the years.

    Hard work, perseverance and visualizing the end result? Check, check and oh yeah, check.

    So well done I wish I could like it twice.

    Peace and sleep

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cayman!

      It could have been any team playing in this Super Bowl, and I still would have been flat-out amazed at the comeback. I know the Pats aren’t well-liked and Brady’s name still hasn’t been cleared, but if we look past all that it was a helluva game!

      Love your analogy to Stephen King!

      Like

  9. I really wanted to see the Falcons walk away with this one. They’d played a strong season, and it would have been great to see an underdog come out on top. But then, of course, Tom Brady happened. 😉

    There’s a lot of good advice herein, but I took away something different from this one, Kate. (It’s the defeatist in me.) I’m reminded here that there are two sides to every contest. And, in a contest like a Super Bowl, there is always a winner and a loser. Even though they didn’t win, the Falcons made it to that final game. They pushed through the whole season, fighting without giving up all the way to Houston. It didn’t pan out with a blockbuster, but they still made it. I liken that journey to a writer finishing their story. A lesser feat in comparison to wearing that championship ring…but they’ll learn from this defeat. With this story done, we move on to the next: sharper, smarter, more determined.

    To the Patriots: that was a great game, and you should be proud of that win. Just remember, though: next year, you’ll be in everybody’s crosshairs. And we’re comin’. >:)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Did Super Bowl LI restore excitement to the No Fun League? – Fans Unfiltered

  11. So, so true! I felt this way when the Cubs won the World Series…after being down 3 games to 1. And then that final 7th game going to extra innings. Ya gotta believe! Ya gotta practice! Ya gotta focus! Ya gotta be ready and make the magic happen! Great post, Kate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amazing comebacks in all things sports really move me. I’m not even a diehard sports fan, but I can surely appreciate what it takes for a team to work together as well as what pushes an individual to outperform his/her competition. I am a total sucker for the underdog stories, that’s where magic is at its most powerful.

      Liked by 1 person

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