(IWSG Post) Sporty Nerves and Anxious Writing

I have not been completely honest.

A long time ago, in this very galaxy, I liked sports.

Okay, I never enjoyed playing the damn things. There is nothing worse than being picked last or striking out in front hordes of 1970’s elementary school kids.


Don’t believe me? Go back and watch The Bad News Bears. That movie nails my childhood. I am Timmy Lupus – with more than a smidge of Tanner Boyle thrown in. I never would have survived without a little Tanner..

I enjoyed pretending to be good at sports. I played out scenes in my bedroom where I single-handedly won the big game, knocked out Leon Spinks, or outran and out-jumped the future Caitlyn Jenner. My dad set up a pitching net that I could throw the ball against in the backyard (behind a six-foot privacy fence). I even caught the ball a few times on the bounce back.

When no one was looking, I was practically a jock. I liked stories that went with sports even if the actual events made me want to hide. I loved narratives in which I was secretly fast, strong, or agile. I just hated it when reality showed up to prove me wrong.

On a bad day, writing can be a similar horror.

I am currently 27,659 words into my next middle grade novel, Moon Bait.

The word next might give you pause. What happened to my previous novel?

Well, I didn’t think it was good enough so I never truly marketed the poor thing. My standard writing strategy is to work my butt off on a piece, workshop it with the best readers and writers I can find, and then come up with a reason not to expose myself to rejection. I may send out a handful of queries, but I never give it my all.

Just like in sports, it’s all about pretending. The novel I’m working on will be a smashing success. I know it. Only once I finish the thing, I’m less certain about putting it out for everyone to see.

Thing is – I’m a much better writer than I am an athlete. There is no reason to sabotage myself. I’ve won awards at writing conferences, published in small-press magazines, and received positive feedback from established authors.

So I am making a promise right here in this blog.

I’m going to market the next one. This one. I mean I’ll get behind the book I’m working on right now. I’ll do a full-court press, throw a Hail Mary, and give 110 percent to Moon Bait. If the book doesn’t get picked up, it won’t be for lack of courage.

There, I said it. Out loud and everything.

That’s the equivalent of telling my fourth-grade friends I’ll be trying out for little league come spring. Once a kid puts something like that out there, they got to follow through.

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Note: this is my first time participating in the Insecure Writers’ Support Group. To read many excellent posts on writing and insecurity, check out the rest of the posts at:  Insecure Writers Support Group


7 thoughts on “(IWSG Post) Sporty Nerves and Anxious Writing

  1. I love this post! It truly is exciting to be starting and working on a project, but once it’s done, the doubts creep in. You’re blinded as to whether it’s really any good or not. I sure hope you take the plunge and query Moon Bait consistently when it’s finished (coz it rocks so far!)


  2. Welcome to the IWSG, David! I’ve been a member for about a year now, and I really enjoy participating in the group. I thoroughly enjoyed your post ~ like your voice! There’s nothing like hearing a rejected manuscript dropped with a thunk on your doorstep by the mailman ~ If you’ve heard that sound you’ll never forget it. And once you’ve heard it, well the worst is over! You’ve just got to keep putting it out there (says me the unpublished novelist who written a published short story and newspaper articles). I can say this having watched my sister get two books published with a third out making the rounds. Worse than the thunk is never getting that book out there. When my next manuscript is done, I’m going to keep sending it until it doesn’t boomerang back! Happy writing!


  3. Thanks Louise,

    This seems like a good group to hang around with. And I appreciate the support. Most of my rejections, and my few acceptances, have come through an email, The thunk on the doorstep sounds horrifying.


  4. Hi again, David! Your Victoria comment intrigued me, and since I’m wiped out from a long day of traveling yesterday and a night I was awake until daylight, I had time to go back and read your blog posts for Sept. and Oct. I’m useless for much else today. I had just meant to skim and see if you were still living in British Columbia or elsewhere in Canada.

    But I had to keep reading because you have a unique, real, and funny voice ~ not to mention a lot of insight into the human heart. And your stories! Woah! I thought they were both excellent and horrifying. I think “Out of Shadows” taps into the horror of what it feels like to be sexually abused. I haven’t experienced this, but I could feel the soul-stain of it in your story. Chicken editor missed the chance to publish an unforgettable story!

    I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression throughout my life, and I realized just a couple of years back that I’m also somewhat ADHD! Ironic for a retired elementary teacher who worked with so many ADHD kiddos. Your daughter has her head and heart in the right places, and a dad who can guide her into adulthood. She’s already an awesome human being and will be just fine.

    I won’t touch on all the funny things you wrote about sports. When you mentioned soccer and hockey, I thought, “Well at least he stayed clear of curling,” a sport I’ve tried to explain to the sports-rabid regulars at our neighborhood bar and restaurant where I try to blend in wearing my Broncos t-shirt and using all your tips. Duh! I just realized that curling doesn’t have balls, only stones, which this geologist connects with. Sorry for the long comment! I’m usually much, much briefer when I reply! Happy writing!


  5. Thanks Louise!

    What a wonderful comment. You made my day.

    I have family in the Seattle area. We would visit them every summer and we often took the ferry to Victoria. I took my kids there about five years ago. Love the place.

    I look forward to following your blog.


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