Hello Seekerville. Sandra here with more fresh oranges and tangelos from her tree. So help yourself to some Arizona sunshine as we get set to psych up for Speedbo.
|I've already picked a couple hundred and look how many tangelos I still have.|
This spring I have been playing in several pickleball tournaments. Last Friday I played in El Mirage, Arizona. Turns out the resort we played at is the same resort Marianne Barkman stays at when she comes from Canada to winter in our lovely state. Waving at you Marianne. She and her mom came to cheer me on as I played.
|Marianne and her mom |
In case you are wondering what pickleball is you can see videos and learn about the game at www.usapa.org.
So playing all of this pickleball made me think of Speedbo and writing. There are many similarities. If any of you have played a sport you will relate to this analogy.
I have taken the Seeker theme to heart. NO LIMITS
In pickleball this translates into me playing at a higher level than my rating. I’m rated a 3.0 and have won many medals at this rating. I could continue to stay here and get more medals, but I want to improve my skills and move up to the next level.
|Silver medal in mixed doubles with hubby|
How will I improve my skills? I play with higher level players. My partner, Jacquee, is a wonderful 3.5 level player and she took me on as a partner. I have learned so much from her. I also try and play pickleball with higher ranking players. Its harder on me, but playing with them teaches me new skills and improves my game. I appreciate the fact they will take time to play the game with me and many offer helpful hints and suggestions.
In writing, I got a taste of the bestseller list with the Seeker anthology
. I understand that I landed there because of the steller authors I was linked to in that anthology.
I decided I want to be on that list again through my own merits. I want one of my own novels on the bestseller list. No Limits! How will I improve my writing skills? I interact with excellent writers and listen to what they say.
Okay, don’t laugh. I have been with excellent writers for many years, but admit, I don’t always listen. (Hush up, Ruthy)
So those of you who hang out here in Seekerville are getting excellent craft workshops. When I started writing, the only way to get this info was through conferences. This is still an excellent way to obtain excellent training, feedback and motivation. Hang with published writers. Go to local RWA meetings, local ACFW meetings, workshops, conferences, etc. You not only meet other authors, you meet all the players in the publishing world like editors, agents, marketing staff, etc.
In pickleball, another thing I have to do is play every day. I sometimes play longer days than others, depending upon what activities are scheduled and where I am. But every day, I strive to play for at least an hour or two. When I am on a trip and don’t have the opportunity to play, it always takes extra effort to get back up to speed. Sometimes it even takes extra effort to get motivated to go out and play. It is easy to rationalize and say to myself “You are tired from this trip. Take it easy.”
|3.5 and 4.0 level players at Voyager Resort|
In writing, you also need to write every day. I know you have heard this from all of us Seekers. It is key to becoming a good writer. There come times and circumstances where you might say, “I can’t write today, taking care of this business is more important.” Well the business is important, but it is always possible to squeeze in at least an hour of writing somehow. I find if I don’t, I end up getting sidetracked and it takes a longer time to get back into the writing.
How does Speedbo help out with this? Speedbo is ramping up your writing so you get a book finished in a month. Well this is great training to becoming a continual winner in finishing those books. Once you get the hang of it and get in the routine of writing every day, which will happen in Speedbo, it is much easier to accomplish the task . By the way, last Friday, Tina posted a great article about getting started with Speedbo. Check it out here.
In Pickleball, the reason I play every day because as in any sport, what makes you a great and exceptional participant? Practice, practice, practice. Yep, you got it. And the same applies to writing. What will make you great? Practice, practice, practice.
|Hubby plays every day.|
In Pickleball, I am working on my serve. The serve is important because your team can only make a point when they serve. So if your serves are not making the mark, then your team loses points. I have a fairly average serve, but I need a stellar serve that shows I’m a higher level player. My husband has a dynamite serve and he obtained it by going out every evening and serving over 100 balls. I have been doing that also and it makes a difference. I also take classes or attend clinics that focus on the skill I want to improve.
|Clinic on serving here at Voyager Resort|
Notice, I’m focusing on one skill. This helps improvement if you focus on one skill at a time. This also applies to writing. Many writers go through their first draft and then go again, focusing on one or two skills at a time. Rather than trying to see all of the elements in one shot, it helps to focus on one or two and then really nail them.
For example, I tend to be wordy. I’m learning to just write the story and then go back and delete, delete, delete. Hopefully by deleting all of those unnecessary passages, I’ll recognize them as I write them and won’t put them in at all.
Other elements to focus on are show don’t tell, depth of character, back story, character arc, moral premise, GMC (goal, motivation, conflict), etc. These are all elements that the Seekers and their friends have addressed in previous posts. Check out the archives for those you want to focus on.
I want to improve my skills in writing and in pickleball. So how do I determine if I've accomplished my goal? In pickleball, I enter tournaments. How I place and how I perform with other skilled participants gives me good feedback to how I'm doing.
|Darlene and I celebrate and discuss our performance winning silver in Seaside last fall.|
In writing, I enter contests to see how I'm doing. In fact, most of you know that is how Seekers got together in the first place was through contest wins. Pre-published contests give great feedback on how your skills are progressing. Pubbed contests help you determine how you rank with other writers in your category.
Playing pickleball with better players does improve my game. But helping beginners and those at lower levels also helps me. Focusing on specific skills brings my awareness of my own performance on those skills to mind and helps me focus on improving them.
|Mentoring the beginners. |
One of the reasons RWA and ACFW are doing so well is they mentor beginners. These two writing organizations are the only two that I know of that dedicate themselves to helping raise the bar in their genre. Critiquing other writers really helps my writing. I can see weaknesses and strengths in other writing projects that I don't see in my own. We are too close to our own work because what we want to say is in our head. It might not be on paper so you have to really be trained to look for it.
That is what is so exciting about my participation in Seekerville. We have seen so many friends join us and go on to get published. They really work hard to improve their skills and I would wager they write every day also. Many of them participated in Speedbo. Yay!
As I mentioned earlier, I was in a tournament last Friday. Well I played poorly and even lost my serve, which is a sign of nervousness in my case. Reflecting back, I did not perform well but I learned two valuable lessons that applies to writing and Speedbo as well.
Not only was Marianne there to cheer me on, but other RV friends that I see during the summer were residing at El Mirage resort as well. They all came to support me. I was so excited to see everyone.
|My partner, Jacquee is next to me. In the middle is Diane, who is the craftswoman who made all those lovely kindle bags I've given away as prizes. Next is Pam and Pat who do the craft fairs with me in the summer. |
But because all my friends were there watching me in a tournament, I got so nervous that I lost my serve and missed several balls. I was thinking about what they thought instead of staying focused on my game. Now it wasn't their fault. It was mine. I let their wonderful presence get to me.
As a writer, you need to toughen up as well. I remember the first time I let a friend read my writing, I was so nervous. When we write, we go deep into ourselves and it is scary to expose all those inner feelings and thoughts. And we're thinking "what will they think?" If this is too scary for you then you don't want to become a writer. You need to toughen up.
Entering contests, getting rejections from publishers and working with critique partners and editors can become demoralizing if you let it. You have to toughen up and say "hey-good lesson to learn" and then move on.
The other valuable lesson I learned that applies to writing as well is that I lost my focus. I was busy chatting away and having a great time instead of paying attention to the business at hand which that day was playing in a tournament. Now it wasn't their fault because they were there to cheer me on. It was my fault that I became too busy chatting instead of focusing on my game.
In writing, we can let distractions take us away from our focus. We get on the Internet and let Facebook or emails interrupt our focus. We accept invitations to lunch or go shopping instead of staying focused on our writing project. Anyone else have that problem?
If you have committed to Speedbo, then it is like committing to a tournament. Yes, it is nice to see friends, but when you have a commitment and goal--you need to stay focused on that commitment and goal. Tell your friends that you can't visit during Speedbo. Shut off the Internet when you are writing. Stay FOCUSED.
So does this ramp you up for Speedbo?
If not, go out and play your favorite sport and get motivated.
We only have four more days to go to begin Speedbo. You can sign up now so you are ready on March 1.
You can sign up by sending an email to email@example.com with your personal goal listed. Sharing your goal is only for accountability. Seekerville will not be sharing your goal with anyone. Enter by March 1 at 11:59 pm for a chance to win a $25.00 Amazon gift card. Complete rules can be found here
Remember our theme this year. NO LIMITS!!!
Visualize your dream.
Pray about your dream.
Then JUST DO IT!!!
|Yummy Arizona sunshine oranges off my tree.|
Don’t forget to grab some fresh oranges and tangelos. We also have a juicer so you can squeeze fresh juice. There is Chocolate Velvet coffee (would I offer anything else??), hot chocolate and Teavana teas.
So tell us how you are Prepping up for your favorite sport and for Speedbo.
Those who comment have a chance to win a signed copy of one of my books, OR an available e copy of a Seeker book.
Sandra Leesmith writes sweet romances to warm the heart. Sandra loves to play pickleball, hike, read, bicycle and write. She lives in Arizona with her husband and during the hot summers she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project.
You can find Sandra's books here on Amazon.
Two of Sandra's most popular books are also audio books at Audible.
You can read more posts by Sandra here.