19
Apr
09

Martial & Literary arts

by Diana

My daughter is about to turn five, and this afternoon we had her birthday party at her karate school. While watching her enjoy herself, I had two thoughts that related to writing. (Actually, three thoughts, but the third was, Good grief, every week I tell myself that I’m going to write my Saturday entry ahead of time, and every week I write it Saturday afternoon. But that’s beside the point.)

The first thought was about the similarities between martial arts and writing:

In both you have people working for years to achieve proficiency, working toward an ultimate goal (black belt/novel sale.)  There’s a slow progression of refinement, where you start out awkward and stilted, and then after much practice and effort everything finally smooths out and it begins to look effortless.

In both you have people who’ve achieved a certain level of proficiency become convinced that they’re ready for the big leagues. In my martial arts school we called it green belt syndrome, i.e. when someone had been training for about a year and was ready to pick a fight with anyone. I think the equivalent would be the nanowrimo finisher who KNOWS that their novel is Fabulous and sends it out to agents/editors immediately.

In both you eventually realize that the ultimate goal (black belt/novel) isn’t as ultimate as you thought it was once you reach it.

In both you get to hang around in your pajamas a lot.  Oh, wait…

My second thought was about the similarities between writers and five-year-olds.

I’ll leave that one as an exercise for the reader.

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1 Response to “Martial & Literary arts”


  1. April 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Awesomely timely for me, Diana. My two goals for this year are to get to the point where I’m “allowed” to attempt my black belt, and get my novel to the point where it’s not so embarrassing I can’t show it to anyone. I’ve tried to explain to people how similar these goals are, but no one gets it.


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