Monday, June 29, 2015

The Writer's Game Plan

We just came home from one of our last tournaments of my son's baseball season. Over these months, I don't know how many times I have leaned forward with elbows on my knees, my fingers entwined tightly, and my teeth gritted as he threw his next pitch. I must admit, pride swells a bit when I see him up there. He zones in on the strike zone, keeps an eye on the runner at first base, adjusts the ball in his hand according to the catcher's call, and makes sure his foot is properly positioned on the mound.

Pressure comes at him from home plate, from the bases, from both dugouts, and his fans ( parents). All angles at the very same moment. And yet, somehow, in that pivotal second, he throws a pitch straight down the middle and strikes a kid out.

There something similar that happens in our busy lives these days—especially as writers or dream-followers.:) We have pressure and responsibilities coming at us from all directions, blocking us to write, or to even care to write at times.

We focus in on our book—the strike zone—but then someone steals second (or your spouse gets laid off...or your kids require extra loving care) and you must pay attention to a different part of your life. Then, right when you settle back in position on the mound—er, the keyboard—the obnoxious dugout filled with hootin' and hollarin' ball players (aka crazy children, pets, nephews, social media), pull your eyes away from writing...and just have to take a walk around the mound. Yep, leave the keyboard again, deal with the chaos, and hope for another chance to write soon.

Other times, you might just be too darn tired from the game to throw one more pitch, and you call “time”, heading to the bench.
It's no use pitching when the game has heated up and worn you out. There's no use writing when life brings heartache and you just need to regroup and rest.

The thing I found is, while baseball is the game, writing is not. Writing is just another part of the game called life. It's such an important part to me...probably as big in my mind as a major league player's career is to him (although, I know I'll never make his paycheck).;) But, really, there are many more things that take precedence over my current story—and I have to tend to those first, no matter if the “at bat” is incomplete.
That absence from the dream-tending, is just fine, really. I have gotten more at peace with the short spurts instead of the lovely, long writing sessions. Life's base-running forces me to have quality writing sessions when I do sit down at the keyboard. And just like a ball player practices during the week, building up ability for that next baseball game, the going-ons of life around me is a great workout for those few, or many, moments I actually focus on writing. My heart is on a journey, and when I am called to the mound, I have plenty of experience to get some fastballs, curveballs, and sinkers smack dab in my story's “strike zone.”

Batter up! Your turn—what's your game plan when life starts stealing your attention from your writing?

Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written five Historical Romance novels, has a Historical underway, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check out her author page at, her personal blog at and connect at:
Twitter: @angiedicken


Julia M. Reffner said...

My game plan for now is to focus on short projects, ie articles, etc. I was feeling disappointed the other day as I really want to dig into something longer. This helps me to see the big picture of it all.

Casey said...

Ugh, I'm bad at building a game plan for my own life. I think carving out time where I focus, free from distractions, to get things done. I find when I give myself a deadline, I work better and faster. Not to mention a short period of time to complete something and then reward myself with the thing I really want to do. Like read a chapter or watch a TV show.

I LOVE your graphics, Ang. :)

Angie Dicken said...

Julia, I think there are definitely seasons that prepare you for the next! It's good to write short stuff---you are still honing in on writing, just in a different type!

Angie Dicken said...

I am the same way, Casey! Short periods of time seem to have more productivity for me!