How Soccer Relates to Writing

This time of year I spend a good chunk of my waking hours on the soccer field. Not playing, mind you. Spectating. And we spectators are a hardy bunch. Rain. Wind. Fog. Bees. Snow. We’re out there. (Although I must admit, I have watched from the car a time or two!)

My son plays on two teams, one travel and the other his high school varsity team. My daughter plays on a modified travel team. They’ve both played since they were little so I’ve been spectating for years.

What does this have to do with writing? Participation in competitive sports (in this case soccer) teaches children valuable life lessons that can benefit us all:

1) You fall down, you get up. Fast.  
2) You miss the ball, you chase after it.
3) You get hurt, whenever possible, you shake if off and resume play.
4) You lose the ball, you do your best to get it back.
5) You elbow someone, you’re going to get elbowed back. (Same applies for tripping/cleating/jersey pulling.)
6) Your coach tells you to do something, you do it, or you won’t get to play.
7) You take a shot and miss, you keep shooting until you score. And then you shoot some more.
8) You win, you celebrate.
9) You lose, you practice harder, play better and put forth your very best effort to win the next time.
10) You never, ever give up…if you want to stay in the game.

Writing is hard work. It can be frustrating and lonely. But if you want to succeed, learn the lessons I mentioned above.

And consider this: A soccer team succeeds when one player is having a bad game so another picks up his/her level of play to compensate. When one player is down and his/her teammates pump them up. When the coach requests the impossible and the team unites in support of one another.

Become part of a team. Be they friends, family, or blog buddies. Find a supportive bunch of peers to accompany you on your journey toward publication. It makes the trip a little easier. (And a lot more enjoyable.)

Over the past year, since I seriously began to pursue publication, I joined my local RWA (Hudson Valley RWA) and GIAM (Goals in a month). Both have wonderful and supportive writers loops (thanks to Taryn Kincaid and Amy Atwell.) I’ve also connected with some terrific writers and blog friends who commiserate my disappointments, cheer my accomplishments, and encourage me to keep going. (As I try to do for them.)

So what do you think? Are you part of a supportive group or do you prefer to go it alone? If you’re part of a group, please tell us about them. 

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  • John Baron
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 2:18 AM | Permalink

    I'm guessing I'm in the minority here, but I'm a do-it-yourself kind of person: I go it alone.

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 3:24 AM | Permalink

    Hi John!
    I did it alone for over two years before I put my work out there for others to see. The first time I read my writing out loud at a women's writing group, I thought I'd throw up. But it wasn't until I told the world I was a writer and joined the writing community that I really started to progress as a writer. That being said, everyone is different, and if going it alone works for you….Great!

  • Heather P
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 6:25 AM | Permalink

    Hi Wendy
    I agree with your list and the advice about being part of a peer group is right on! I have joined Toastmasters as well as my blogger friends so I have some very good support out there. Best of Luck to you.
    Peace, Heather

  • Lacey Devlin
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    Fab post Wendy! I love the comparison. I've been going it alone for a couple of years too but I've recently joined a critique group who are willing to listen to me whine. It's nothing like I thought it would be and I'd love to say I wish I'd joined in sooner, but honestly I think I would have been pretty useless to the rest of the group if I had 🙂

  • Joanna St. James
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    I used to go it alone till I got to that vital stage when I could not go it alone anymore.
    I know have an online group I work with and its pretty fabulous right now.
    I hope your son gets to play with LA Galaxy so u can meet David Beckham 🙂
    I love your ten tips

  • Christine
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    I'm so glad you are part of GIAM cause that's how I met you :-). I need my peers and support from positive people. Not all my supporters are writers, nor are all my writing friends critique partners, but they all contribute to cheering me on in the pursuit of my dream.

    Can't wait to see that first book when it debuts 🙂

  • Angela Ackerman
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    I love this. *\o_o/*

    When I started writing, I thought it was something I had to do alone. It was only when I reached out to the writing community and found others that I really saw my writing grow by leaps and bounds. Writing seems like a solidary pursuit, but it doesn't have to be, not by a long shot. The more we have to learn from, the more we grow. Now, when someone I know succeeds, I feel so happy for them and it reminds me that if I staty true to the path, one day I will be celebrating too. 🙂

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    Hi Heather! And Welcome! I'm glad you've found a supportive group of peers.

    Hi Lacey! Critique groups can be very helpful if they remain positive and give you honest, constructive feedback. And I agree, you need to know a bit about writing before you can give an effective critique.

    Hi Joanna! I agree. There comes a point when you need the help of other writers to progress to the next level. AAhhhhh. David Beckham…If only he didn't like his women so thin!

    Hi Christine! You are one of the most positive people I know. You're blog is wonderful. And meeting you is one of the best things about joining GIAM.

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    Hi Angela! You have a great attitude. Each time I learned of a new writer who sold I thought…if they can do it so can I. That doesn't mean I didn't get a bit envious or frustrated at times. But I stayed focused on the goal. And I would like to point out, based on the number of followers on your blog, you are FAR from solitary now!!! (And I'm glad.)

  • Liz
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    Nice list. Writing is a lonely business so I to belong to HWRWA as well and have a couple of writing friends I meet with in Middletown.

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    Hi Liz! I know I don't make many of the HVRWA meetings because I live over an hour away, but I find the loop a wonderful addition to membership.

  • Shoshanna Evers
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    I'm part of several writing groups – HVRWA of course, but I'm also on yahoo loops with other Ellora's Cave authors and then in RL with a group of women I did NaNoWriMo with last year (can't wait for this year's NaNo!). I also meet up about once a week with another writer and we just sit and write at Panera, lol. Writing can be very solitary – which I like, don't get me wrong – but it's fun to have friends to talk shop with!

  • Suzanne Jones
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    I find the support of other writers important. Since I've joined the blogging community, I've found a couple of crit groups (one for romance and one for short stories) and a lovely local writing friend. Local friend only lives five minutes away, but I'd never have known if I hadn't happened on her blog. You'd think that with all this extra activity my writing would suffer, but the opposite's true – and my output has increased dramatically.


  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by, Shoshanna! I don't know how I'd get by without my writer friends. And I mean to stop by at Panera one of these days!

    Thanks for stopping by, Suzanne! My productivity has also increased dramatically since I became active on writers' loops. Seeing what others are accomplishing is a good motivator. Although I do need to curb my Internet time…I'm quite addicted to blogging!

  • JL Walters
    Posted October 24, 2010 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    Wendy, I went it alone for years and while I was selling, there was no one who knew exactly how one feels when they have a sale or a rejection. Joined HVRWA and before long one of the members Jane Toombs sold one of my books to her editor. Have remained with the group since then. I also belong to EPIC a very important group for electronically published authors. Then there are the author's loops for my publishers and also Jewels of the Quill a promotional group. Guess I really have a lot of groups in my life these days.

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    Hi Janet!
    You are a great support to us new writers. Thank you!

  • Jen FitzGerald
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    Great post, Wendy.

    I started off alone, too, but found a writing group fairly quickly (thanks to a friend). Just being around other writers who can sympathize or have a conversation about suspending disbelief or BBMs or any number of other writerly topics is a huge source of enjoyment. Of course, I've learned so much about writing in the last seven years, but really the abiding friendships are the true benefit of a group. It took me most of those seven years to really connect with someone in my group, but we get along great guns and have started a critique group that benefits us both, but we are developing our friendship aside from the writing and that has been so good for me this past year.

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Jen!
    BBMs? I know what BMs are…as they pertain to potty training. But BBMs?

  • Jen FitzGerald
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Big Black Moments 🙂

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    Got it! Thanks!

  • abbi
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    Hey, Wendy!

    I am a part of several groups because I don't think I could do this alone. Plus, I really like to help others. It's part of my nature.

    I was wondering if I could add a couple of items to your list based on my experience with my oldest son's Boy Scout Raingutter Regatta this weekend. He didn't win a trophy but he should have. The volunteers keeping track confused another child for my son and that child won a trophy.

    Item #1: In games, everything isn't always fair.

    I knew Kyle should've won a trophy but I didn't say anything because we've been trying to teach him another important lesson about competition and games.

    Item #2: Do your best to keep a positive attitude. It will serve you well in the long run.

    Kyle used to always get upset when he didn't win. This time, he cheered for his best friend (the one who got the trophy).

    Well, I hope this makes sense. Hope you are doing well also.

    Abbi 🙂

  • Joanne Stewart
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

    Hey Wendy!

    I'm a bit of both. I'm naturally a very go-it-alone kind of person. Very naturally shy, and I do tend to enjoy my own company for the most part. But I've had to learn to come out of my shell a bit since I had the one book published. These days I belong to a several author groups through the publisher. And of course the cp's I have and other friends who all tend to collect around facebook. I find them all wonderfully supportive and I do enjoy that.

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

    Hi Abbi!
    Fair is one of those words I don't let my children use. I am forever saying, "Life isn't fair." That and keeping a positive attitude are lessons best learned early in life. And I'm sure you're a wonderful mom! So many times things bother me more than they bother my children.
    As far as groups, you are a great helper and friend!

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

    Hi Joanne!
    For someone who goes it alone you have quite a few followers on your blog!!! From our e-mail interactions I've gotten the impression you are much more outgoing than you say you are….definitely a great critiquer regardless!!!

  • Joanne Stewart
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

    The blog followers…that was part of the support from the author groups. We all helped each other out. And yeah, haha, I fake it rather well (the outgoing thing). lol

  • Taryn Kincaid
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the mention.

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 27, 2010 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by, Taryn!

  • Amy Atwell
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    So glad you're finding GIAM to be helpful and supportive, Wendy! That's how it was conceived, and we're so proud of the many members who've sold.

  • Wendy S Marcus
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Amy! And welcome!
    You are an amazing support to your fellow writers. All your hard work is MUCH APPRECIATED!

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