I know. What do any of those things have to do with one another? Not much, really. But today is another snowy day and I took time from writing to watch the UCONN Husky Women beat USF in the American Athletic Conference semi-final.
Anyone who watches women’s basketball knows the Huskies have dominated the landscape for the last twenty years, winning an unprecedented 11 national championships. The reason they win is yes, talent, but not just talent.
Talent alone does not a winner make. These young women work their asses off. Their work ethic is inspiring and unusual. Most people simply don’t want to work that hard to get what they want.
That brings me to something I read recently by Flannery O’Connor in her essay “The Nature and Aim of Fiction.” Mystery and Manners 1969
Mary Flannery O’Connor wrote short fiction, essays, and novels during her short career. (She died at the age of 39 from lupus.) In the essay Flannery writes:
“. . . very few people who are supposedly interested in writing are interested in writing well. They are interested in publishing something, and if possible in making a ‘killing.’ They are interested in being a writer, not in writing. . . . in seeing their names at the top of something printed, it matters not what.”
Those words are as true today as they were when Ms. O’Connor wrote them. So many of the writers I hear from in my writer’s group are looking for the easy. They want to make a million with only one or two books and become discouraged when they learn it isn’t that simple.
If you want a writing career because you love to write and can’t imagine doing anything else you have to be like a UCONN woman basketball player. You have to put in the time, you have to practice, practice, practice, and you have to study and learn, and write, write, write. Most of all you have to love writing.
Well, look at that. I managed to tie it all together after all. Snowy day, UCONN Women’s Basketball, and writing. It’s a wrap.