“Generally speaking, the great achieve their greatness by industry rather than brilliance.” Bruce Barton, writer and ad exectuive
“Everybody wants to be on a championship team, but nobody wants to come to practice.” Bobby Knight, legendary basketball coach
Industry. Practice. These aren’t glitzy words with a lot of bells and whistles attached to them. There’s a workaday feeling about them that hides a homespun truth: Achieving what we want to achieve means putting in the time to earn it — even when no one’s looking and no one seems to care.
“How you practice is how you play,” a wonderful baseball coach used to say when Alex was a pint-sized player. Everything counts on the field, whether you’re in an actual game or not.
Most of the time, we writers labor alone. There are no cheering crowds, no coach to spur us on, no huge field with pennants waving. It’s just the page and us — that’s our field of play. We may spend some of our time fantasizing about having our own personal “championship season” — getting our books published, winning recognition, sharing our work with adoring fan-readers who applaud our work and clamor for more.
But all this is just icing on the cake. First we have to bake it. And that takes time: We have to gather all the ingredients, measure and mix them, adjust them for taste, get messy, and then put our creation in the oven and wait.
Before we can eat the cake and celebrate, “showing up” is the name of the game.
Showing up means finding time to write or organize our thoughts in the midst of a day when we are distracted or off-balance.
Showing up means taking that tough paragraph, the one that isn’t clear enough, and polishing it until it sparkles. And then doing the same with the next one.
Showing up means being OK with making just a little progress as long as you are moving forward, knowing that tomorrow you’ll be putting in more time and inching ahead.
Let’s be champions-in-the-making. Let’s show up for practice today. Write on!