Now that the selfless promotion stuff is out of the way, I want to talk to you about the basics. As you frequent readers of this blog will know, I have taken up golf. Why, I don't know, but as Steve McQueen said in The Magnificent Seven, it seemed like a good idea at the time. For a while there I was seeing some improvement in my swing. Hitting the ball with the irons has proven particular hard for me; nevertheless, I was seeing some good leaps forward in that department and I was beginning to feel pretty darn good about my ability to get better in this game.
It fell apart on me three weeks ago, beginning with a disasterous outing to the driving range. That was followed by a horrible round with a friend, followed by an improved session on the range and a better round a few days later. Then things really fell apart. No matter what I tried or how much I practiced, it felt as though I have never picked up a golf club before.
So today I went back to where it all began: at the public course where I was first introduced to the game and taught the basics. I attended a clinic given by one of my original instructors and he watched my horrible, mutilated swing. Guess what? I had forgotten the basics: basic stance and set up--that alone was enough to throw anyone's swing off. Now, I'd like to say that it's fixed and I'm back on my way. Truth is: I still have some work to do, drilling those basics back into my brain until I can hit the ball more consistently.
There is a point to my rambling. Sometimes in writing, as in golf, we tend to forget the basics. We spend a lot of time listening to other writers, seeing how they do it, then we spend countless amounts of time shifting through all of it to find out what works for us, then we forget it. We stop writing every day, we try to write in a different place, or we let the TV cut into our writing time.
As in golf (or any sport for that matter) you can't forget the basics:
- Write every day.
- Read every day.
- Make the time to do the above. Even if it means making some drastic changes in your daily schedule. TURN OFF THE TV!
- If you outline, make sure you're outlining. Follow the steps that you know work for you.
- If you gave up your writing spot, take it back or find another one. I'm still writing in the same spot I've always had. No reason to change it unless I get rich and move into a bigger house. Make that writing spot your own, no matter if it's a desk in the corner of your bedroom (like me). Remember Stephen King wrote his first two novels in a utility room with a typewriter balanced on his knees.