Wow, we had a great beginning to December with the YA Scavenger Hunt! Thanks to everyone who participated. I will email all the winners of the Possession paperback today.
Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about being coachable. I recently spoke to a class of 6th graders, which I think is a pivotal time in a young person's life.
I first talked about Michael Phelps. He didn't just show up at the pool one day and win 8 Olympic gold medals. He's been swimming and training for years. And years. And years.
And I ask: Do you think he achieved such greatness by himself?
I don't. Behind every great thing we see, there's a support system. I've watched enough 30 in 30's to know. (Don't watch this? It's an ESPN feature that I find highly inspirational. I love sports documentaries! My favorite one is about Tom Brady.)
Michael Phelps has a coach. Someone who tells him what he's doing wrong, what he needs to do to get better. Because in swimming, you can lose by 1/100 of a second. And a good coach can tell you how to turn at the wall faster, or dive into the pool faster. And that 1/100 of a second can mean gold or no medal at all.
I think writers can learn a lot from athletes. They are coached to the extreme. They're told ALL THE THINGS they're doing wrong and they're asked to get better, and better, and better.
Writers need to be coachable.
I teach elementary school children, so no one over the age of 12. They are coachable. I can train them to do exactly what I want them to do, and with a few exceptions, they actually feel bad if they make a mistake. Children are coachable, because they don't know everything, whether they know it or not.
Teens are, for the most part, uncoachable, because they think they know everything.
I hope we can be more like the little child, and not like the teenager. It's hard. We don't want anyone telling us what to do, because it makes us feel like a failure. But it doesn't have to be that way.
We need to surround ourselves with people we trust to coach us in our writing. If you can do that, you're destined to have a golden experience.
Do you have writing coaches? How's that working out for you?