When an interviewer asked Babe Ruth what he thought about when he struck out, the legendary baseball hitter had a simple answer: “ I think about hitting home runs.”
What great advice — and how helpful for us as creatives! When “the Babe” had a strike out, he shrugged it off — he let it go. Instead of focusing on where he’d been, he focused on what he wanted to do at his next at-bats— on hitting home runs.
How can we make this work for us in our writing life?
While we’re not standing at home plate and swinging for the bleachers, we writers have “strike outs” of our own. We might strike out with a rejection from a journal we submitted to and had high hopes for. We might strike out with a sluggish work session that makes us stalled and as if we’re not making progress on a project. Or we might hit a rough patch in a plot or proposal and feel tangled up in our words and ideas.
When these stumbling blocks crop up, let’s us the Babe’s approach:
Shake it off — Just let it go. Instead of dwelling on your strike out, simply see it as a natural part of the writing process. You’re going to have ebbs and flows in your writing life — accept it and move on.
Use the “Law of Averages” — Babe Ruth knew that if he kept swinging, he’d get more hits and more home runs. But to get a hit, he had to step up to home plate and risk striking out again. The same is true for us. We need to keep writing, keep submitting, keep revising — to get those home runs.
Focus on the future — The Babe always kept his eye on the prize. He focused on taking action and making something happen. He learned to shift his attention to the promise and possibilities ahead of him. He looked forward, not back.
Like baseball, writing is as numbered game. The more savings you take in baseball, the more likely you are to get a hit. And the more we write, the more likely we are to hit on a winning idea or a better way of saying what we want to say. So let’s step up to the plate and start swinging as we all write on!
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