Shots on Goal

One thing I really like about children is how fundamentally decent they are, and how wise. When I told William a little while ago that I was feeling a little worried and a little bad about this literary prize my novel’s up for, he said, “You know mom, it doesn’t matter if you lose and it’s nice if you win.” And then, to buck me up, he shared one of his own writing submission stories: “I didn’t win that scary story contest at school, but I don’t care. I kind of suck at writing scary stories.” Well, I didn’t win that Fabri Prize, although I got a really lovely note from the people at Boaz Publishing saying some nice things about my book, which doesn’t actually suck, but maybe wasn’t just what they wanted.

This experience isn’t going to prevent me from writing stories and books and sending them out over and over again. It’s just one of many shots on goal. That’s something I learned from soccer, a game I do not play, but watch endlessly, and even, one night when I had absolutely nothing better to do, read an entire book about. In that book, I came across an astonishing and life-changing fact: for every goal that is scored, a player has to make ten shots on goal. I love that fact. If you keep kicking in the general direction of the goal, and pay attention to where your kicks go, and try to make them straighter, truer and stronger, you will eventually get the ball in the net. If you are a writer, you have to take hundreds of shots, but that is the only significant difference between you and David Beckham. Well, almost. And that, my friends, is the only sports metaphor you will probably ever hear from me.

Have a great weekend — and don’t forget to show me when and how you’re going to be planning your own shots on the goal.


13 thoughts on “Shots on Goal

  1. Exactly, dear Charlotte. Shots on goal. (And really you can wear whatever you want while you’re kicking that ball, which is just not true for poor David Beckham.) I look forward to that well-cogitated plan.

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  3. BL, I’m sorry to hear about the outcome of the Fabri prize, but I truly love and admire your attitude. Could William give me a pep talk too?

    The sports metaphor is even working on me, and I have this problem where balls are magnetically attracted to my head. In fact, a soccer ball once smacked me straight in the face while I was walking past a playing field, just minding my own business. If only my own shots came so easily!

    Best of luck, BL. I believe in you.

  4. I’m sorry you didn’t win the prize, but I love the metaphor. I’m also sure, with your writing skills, you deserved it, so I’m blaming it on the judges (refs) and not on anything to do with you.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be posting my plan soon.

  5. Dear Cee, William’s a seasoned professional when it comes to shots on goal. I think many children are like that — not afraid to try, not too bummed out about not getting things right the first time. It’s a good thing to be around.

    Nova, One William PepTalk coming right up. Usually it’s delivered at an astonishing volume, but then sometimes that’s what you need — NOVA YOU ROCK! YOUR BOOK WILL GET PUBLISHED SOMEWHERE BECAUSE YOU ROCK! YOU ARE TIGHT! AND NOW LET’S HAVE A DANCE OFF. (cue really, really loud rap music. don bling. do a little pants lowering. not too low. your mom might not like that.) NOW DANCE!!!!! AND REMEMBER — LOOK OUT FOR THOSE SOCCER BALLS.

    Oh good Emily, I’ll look for that plan. And you know what? I’m so okay about someone else getting that prize. I like my book and am going to enjoy sending it out … after I get my plan together.

  6. I’ve been lurking around on your blog for ages. Time for me to jump out of the shadows…First, I’m envious and in awe of you for being nominated for the prize. I’m a writer and though I have been rewarded financially for my writing, I’ve never been awarded for it.

    What you said about the shots on goal reminded me of something my husband has said about submitting story ideas to magazine editors: You have to keep throwing something at the wall until it sticks. He’s right.

    Good luck with your next shots. One will be a goal. best, m

  7. Hi Mari — I knew that was you in the shadows! I just knew it. As for envy and awe, well, yesterday when I was buying coffee at Peet’s, our cool neighborhood coffee place, the twenty year old kid behind the counter stared at my cleavage for what seemed like a long time and then, just as I was starting to think I was going to have to tell him I was married, he informed me politely that I had rice on my chest. And it wasn’t a single ladylike grain either, but, like, a HUGE GLOB. With soy sauce on it. It was very embarrassing, so next time you have a moment of awe or envy just picture that. And yes, your husband’s absolutely right — good luck to you both and may many of your shots on goal go right in.

  8. Hi Bloglily,
    I am in the shadows too, and thought I’d just say hi. I loved this post about shots on goal, and its given me some renewed energy to strike back at my dissertation writing goal and re-emerge from a bad case of writer’s block.

  9. Yes, William is so sweet, and wise too. I think your shots on goal are dead on – at some point they will get past the goalie!

    Maybe you could do a PodLilycast of William’s PepTalk so that we all might benefit?

  10. Dear Debbie — We don’t actually need to podcast his pep talk. We simply have to open a window. It’ll come in loud & clear in Connecticut.
    (But he is sweet, isn’t he?) And thank you for the encouragement. You’re the best.

    Yay Alice — I just went over to your blog and I’m so happy to hear you’re rollin’ Good luck with that dissertation.

  11. The real prize was being picked out of all those thousands in the first place. After that, it’s a beauty contest – everyone deserves to win and the outcome is hopelessly subjective. Now you KNOW without doubt that your writing is good enough, so just keep kicking at that goal. Remember that I knew Ali Smith before she became famous and had her earmarked as a proper important writer, and I think the same thing about you. I have form in picking winners.

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