Do You Want It Bad Enough? by Chris Kincaid

In 2006, Alyssa Lampe made history in Wisconsin when she became the first girl to place in the WIAA wrestling tournament. She finished second in the boys’ state meet, at 103 pounds, becoming the first girl in history to earn a medal in the event.  From there, the Tomahawk native went on to wrestle in college, then in international competition. She tried out for the 2012 Olympics, but didn’t make the cut. Earlier this spring, she made yet another bid for Olympic gold.

I’ve met this young woman from my home town, and if I didn’t know the facts, I would never peg her as someone to get down on the mats and wrestle competitively. She’s a very sweet girl, but not so sweet that she can’t take on anything. Anyway, she once again missed out on going to the Olympics and at 28 years old, this was probably her last shot.

When I asked a friend of hers what happened, she told me, “She just didn’t want it bad enough.”

Didn’t want it bad enough? How can someone not want to go to the Olympics bad enough? In one interview I read, her coach said that she had told him her goal was to be number two. Number two? Who settles for number two?

Well, as proud as I am of Alyssa for making it as far as she has, I am not in her head. And I’m not supposed to be. I am in my own head and need to ask myself, “Would I want to make it to the Olympics? Would I want it bad enough?”

Am I willing to work that hard, make those sacrifices, miss out on the fun stuff other people do, because they don’t have their eyes on the same prize?

What about you? Do you want to write that novel bad enough? Do you want to publish your book bad enough? Sell twelve articles this year? Win NaNoWriMo? What goal is at the top of your list and what are you willing to do to get there? Or are you willing to settle for being number two?

And even though you can write well into your old age, isn’t it time to go after it now?

~*~

Chris Kincaid

When Your Writing Needs A Shot of Something by Chris Kincaid

Two years ago in April, a co-worker thought we should run in a 5K on the Fourth of July. I had never run before in my life, but for some odd reason, I decided to add that to my bucket list. I bought a pair of shoes and took off running down my road each evening after work. Within a few weeks my left ankle was burning. I looked it up on-line and diagnosed myself with Achilles tendinitis. I bought some heel orthotics for my shoes, started doing some stretches and the pain settled down.

 

I took a year off, but as soon as I started running this past spring, that Achilles tendon started aching again. I bought not only new orthotics, but new shoes. That offered no relief. I asked a doctor who had a few more suggestions but I still got no relief. I kept running though; the ankle didn’t hurt when I was on it only when I tried to sleep at night.

 

Then one morning a month and a half ago, my right hip locked up on me. I could barely walk on it, much less run. I got some more exercises and started icing it. No relief. I talked to the doctor again as well as the physical therapist. I did what they said but still got no relief.

 

Do I accept my body telling me that I will never run again and that much of the time it will hurt just to walk? Or do I continue to fight it?

 

What do you do when you have writer’s block? Or no publishers will even look at your work? Or all you get is bad reviews? Or your computer crashes and you lose all of your work?

 

You take a break. You find a writing partner. You sign up for a course. You read something for fun. You write something for you and no one else. You invest in a new computer. You remember to back everything up when you are done for the day. You don’t quit.

 

The only thing I haven’t tried for the bursitis in my hip is a steroid injection. I’m not afraid of needles. I just don’t want to bother my doctor about this anymore. I don’t want to take that five minutes out of my work day. I want to give it just a little more time.

 

What about you and your writing? Have you really tried everything to give it a boast? Does it need a shot of something? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t be afraid to turn to the professionals.

 

Maybe today is the day I ask for help from the professionals.

~*~

Chris Kincaid

Trek To The Sea by Chris Kincaid

The other day, I saw an amazing video.

A slight depression in a sandy beach began to move and shift. A small black object wrestled to the surface, all flippers and new-born awkwardness the tiny sea turtle emerged. For a moment it craned its neck in all directions, then started off with determination towards the sea. Dozens of its brothers and sisters followed, all aiming for the same destination, sand still clinging to their backs. Their instincts told them to get to that giant body of water as soon as possible.

They traveled over beach debris, climbing what to them must have been insurmountable dunes. Occasionally they would veer from their route, but their instincts would send them back in the proper direction or the toe of a giant human spectator would nudge them back on course. Shadows from seagulls flying overhead crossed their paths, and only the handful of people watching the exodus kept the birds from snatching up the helpless babies.

Finally, the newly hatched sea turtles splashed into the water. Their awkwardness on land forgotten as they swam to safety and began the lives they were born to live.

As writers, we face the same hurdles to be overcome. We know what we want to write but we struggle to get those first words on paper. We don’t always know where our stories are going but we have faith that they are going in the right direction. We sometimes feel like we are all alone in our task, but in fact our companions are just inches in front of us or behind us. Predators surround us which would like nothing better than to steal all of our thoughts and our motivation. There are unseen supporters aiding us when they are able.

A few of us will not make it, we will not find our way to the sea of publication, or even to the lake of completion. If that happens, when that happens, we simply need to begin again to dig out of our nest in the sand. When our writing reaches the water and is set free, the fight will have been worth it.