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It’s like that time I went golfing in Scotland

I’ve been a busy girl lately. Besides the usual shenanigans that come with stay-at-home-motherhood, I’ve decided I’m going to be a writer. A published writer. Yes, someday, someone out there will pay me for my words. At least, that is my hope. So, in pursuit of this dream, I have done the things I think I need to do. I have amassed a small library of books on the craft: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, The Elements of Style, The 3 A.M. Epiphany and The First Five Pages. I have created a web presence for myself: this blog and a Twitter account. I have joined a community of writers online in the hopes of absorbing information, getting critique of my work (while helping others by critiquing theirs), commiserating the process, and general chit-chat and friendship. I have begun to research the ways of the industry. And I have started stalking agents via blogs and twitter.

I was driving home from Barnes and Noble today and it struck me: I feel a bit like I did that time I went golfing in Scotland.

What?

Well, in my pre-Mommy life I was an event planner. My company sent me on a trip to Scotland to oversee a golf tour we had organized. I was to make sure the six men on the trip made it to their outings each day; that the transportation company showed up on time and got us to each destination golf course (transportation companies were always a wild card); and I was basically to be at the beck and call of the clients: their wish was my command.

My boss informed me that I needed to “look the part”. You do not just show up at golf courses with “Royal” in the name without looking like a golfer. He told me to take the company credit card, head to the nearest golf supplier and get myself proper clothes, shoes and rain gear for the trip. I felt a bit like Julia Roberts from the shopping scene in Pretty Woman. It was awesome and I certainly looked every bit the golfer on my trip.

The problem was that I was not a golfer. I had golfed on a few occasions, but I was far from good.

Everyday of the week-long trip, the guys would ask me to join them on the course. I was starting to feel bad turning them down so many times, so I told them on the second-to-last day I would join them for their round. I told them I wasn’t any good and that I would just play best ball (where I would hit my shot, pick up my ball and hit the next from wherever the best of their shots landed). These guys were scratch golfers and a novice like me would seriously hold up the game. Well, it was beyond embarrassing. First of all, my tee-shots were terrible. I think I whiffed every shot three times at every hole. Next, I couldn’t hit the ball more than about 10-feet. If I had been playing for real, I would have taken a week to finish 18 holes. Just…mortifying.

We finished up our round and one of the guys actually said to me, “Well, I give you credit for even trying. That was very brave.” Talk about feeling like you are 10 years old and your dad is consoling you after not making the school play. Yikes.

What is my point? It is that the clothes did not make me a golfer. Only training and practice could do that. Golf is a sport that requires culmination. Looking the part may save you funny looks in the locker room, but it won’t save you on the course. Writing is the same. Knowing everything there is know about the publishing industry will not make me an author. Owning books about writing does not make me a writer. Only writing my book will do that. So that is what I must do: write, write, write, write. And when I am finished with the writing: revise, revise, revise, revise. I must face critiques. I must face rewrites. If I am lucky enough to have my first novel be worthy, I must then face the process of queries and edits and submissions. But before ALL of that, I must write.

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9 thoughts on “It’s like that time I went golfing in Scotland

  1. First off, I’m so happy you know this key difference. Many get stuck on the technicalities and go, “look, I’m an author, I know prose, I know editing, I can spit out this information.” But when push comes to shove, they can’t really write. Therefore, they’re not authors.

    Second, The Elements of Style is your best friend. Seriously, I love that thing.

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