Friday, December 6, 2013

Pay Attention To The Story, Not The Money

My wife's grandfather was amazing at Blackjack. Apparently, he could sit at a table for hours on end and do nothing but make money. I did hear he had two rules that he lived by though. The first was that after the third loss in a row, he got up and left. I am assuming it was because the "MOJO" wasn't there any more. The second, however, is probably the most important rule. He said that the moment he started thinking things such as, "On the next hand I can make up the loss from this one," he would get up from the table and that would be the end of play.

In other words, the money was the focus and not the game.

Although I am not a football fan (I love my baseball), living in Seattle right now forces all of us to focus on the team.


There, I did my cheering. In any case, I bring up the team because of the comments the media has been making about our quarterback, Russell Wilson. After the trashing of the New Orleans Saints on Monday, suddenly the media is talking about Wilson being in the running for the NFL MVP award. This guy was class though! His comment? "If I win it that would be fun, but this is the least of our worries. We [The Seahawks] focus each week on being 1-0." In other words, his focus is only on that game. Not anything in the past. Not anything in the future. Just that game.

Now what does all of this have to do with writing? A LOT!

I do believe that writers today are far too focused on the money, on the contracts, and on the prize or being on the NY Times or USA Today Book Lists. I also believe that a lot of writers, once they make that first or second contract deal, start thinking about all of these other things and not so much about the book.

What is it that we [editors and agents] tell writers all of the time. "Focus on writing the best damn book you can write." Quit obsessing over all of these other things.

I think you will find that your success will come quicker and be much bigger if you do this.

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