I went to an ice hockey event last week, tres fun! I didn’t know most of the rules and it got a little chilly but I guess I can forgive them for attempting to keep the ice cold and the game going. Now, ice hockey here isn’t like the stuff they play over the pond. At least, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. The game I went to was kind of small and nobody knew how to work the score board and, even though there were fights, I imagine it was a pretty polite game all in all. Anywaddles! Beside the point! Because, upon reflection, I came up with a list of ways in which ice hockey reminds me of writing. This was, of course, after I threw a puck into the rink in order to try and win a tshirt because who can reminisce when there are things to be won? So. Things I noticed about le hockey:
1. Practice is pretty important, yo:
If you ask a writer how to write they’ll probably tell you one simple thing: just do it. Mostly I get sadpanda when people tell me to just do things without the HOW or the why or the when. But, in all honesty, those three things are maybe stuff we have to figure out alone without outside help. I can’t tell you why to write; you have to find that for yourself. Because the truth is writing is crazy.
There is no sane reason to write. Working until the small hours of the morning, agonising over something you’ve yet to show anyone is insane. If passion, and a great need to do it, don’t drive you to write then don’t. I feel like once you figure out why, the how and when just slot into place. Some days it is harder than others, and it won’t be easy, but keep hold of that little spark of light telling you that this is something worth fighting for. And fight for it. Write for it. Practice is half of the battle. If the guys on the ice rink get stretch and pep talk and practice, why can’t we?
2. Every now and then they move the goalposts:
In le hockey, I think this helps the guy with the thing that drives around heat up the ice to let it be shiny for the players but in writing sometimes the reasons for this are not so clear. Agents stop accepting certain genres, publishers fall in and out of love with types of books. The world shifts. We can’t stop trends any more than any other industry can. But you know what that means? You are allowed to stop aiming. Don’t stop writing, but definitely stop shooting so closely for a goal that is always on the move. Goals shift and merge and collide far too quickly to keep up with. Better that you’re not aiming straight at the goal when you score. Better that you control where it goes.
3. Sometimes it gets violent:
It’s easy to let frustration take over, and to belittle others when you know you shouldn’t. Just like it’s easy to get into a fight in an ice hockey match 😉 The more it means to you the more frustrated you’ll be at times! It’s important to chill a little though. Patience! I always find patience pretty easy but that’s mostly because the thought of masses of people reading anything I write still scares me so, uhm, yes.
4. There are rules, but nobody seems to know what they really are or how to follow them or even why:
Um. Yeah. I mean, even leaving aside grammar some peeps consider certain stories to need certain structure except other people don’t and then there are the people who aren’t even aware of them. This is just something you have to get comfortable with. It’s good to know most of the rules, yes, but in all honesty some of my favourite books break all the rules. I don’t love them only because of their reckless abandon though. I love them because of the story. So if the story calls for you to break a rule or two I say do it! Yes! Woooohooo!
5. You can’t win every day:
And we learn to realise that’s okay.
Any tips on the violent thing I feel like I leapt aside and just let the train hit you guys there?