Monday, August 29, 2011

Getting Back in the Game

     It was a tough day for my son on the ball field on Saturday.
     Playing right field, he couldn't get a handle on a couple of line-drive singles. He missed the cut-off man on another. Hitting-wise, the shortstop threw him out on two infield grounders. His coach took him out of the game after four innings.
     As we drove home, he was full of excuses.
     "It was hot."
     "The ball was hit too hard."
     "The sun was in my eyes."
     "I was bad, wasn't I?" he asked.
     His head wasn't in the game. I could tell by his slouchy posture, how he kicked at the grass, and watched a bird fly overhead while his teammates focused on the guy at the plate. I didn't say that, though. Instead I said, "Everyone has their 'off' days."
     "Maybe I shouldn't play next year."
     I shrugged. "That's your choice," I said.
     As a high school freshman next year, he'll have to make a choice between playing baseball or joining the track team since they share the same season. He threw discus in track this year and really enjoyed it. But for now, he's in junior high baseball. And he's discouraged.
     "Everyone's better than me," he said. He slumped down in the seat, pulling the cap over his eyes. "But I love baseball," he mumbled.
      I looked at him, and something dawned on me. He sounded like, like....me. He sounded like me on the days when I'm wishing that I could get an acceptance before I get another rejection. That my computer wasn't so slow. That I could write as lyrical and fresh as that shiny new author at Big Publishing House. Some days I'd rather complain than compose. It's all just so hard, I think. Why bother?
     On days like that, I just want to wallow in self-pity. And nothing and nobody is going to stop me, by golly. But I love writing, so I'll be back at the computer the next morning if I'm not there the night before. I can't imagine a time when I won't be writing. It's just not possible. It's who I am.
     So go ahead and allow yourself an 'off' day if you feel one coming on. Embrace it. Wallow with chocolate, Ben & Jerry's, or whatever your vice.
     Then dust yourself off and get back in the game. 

24 comments:

  1. You're so right, Dawn. Why is it so much easier to give that advice to our struggling children then to take it ourselves? We all have our off days, and if you love something you always come back to it - you can't not!

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  2. I agree. Sometimes you've got to allow yourself the wallowing to come out fresh on the other side.

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  3. Sometimes giving up does seem like the simplest choice, even if it's not the best choice. I need a better wallowing system. :)

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  4. I agree, sometimes we need to remember that it's okay to have an 'off day'. One day is not the rest of our lives.

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  5. Great inspiration Dawn! Fellow campaigner here, just wanted to say Hi.

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  6. @MG Higgins: The quality of the wallowing system is directly proportional to how fast you get back in the game! =)
    @ Joanna: Welcome - thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Wow! Poignant and brutal...so true for all of us writers. Thanks for the camaraderie!

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  8. I love this. We all need this kind of inspiration. I hate "off days." I hate feeling that way. It sucks and I do wallow in chocolate or ice cream. But I love when I get back on the bandwagon and go for it again. Things that challenge us make the victory so much sweeter. Thanks for this post!

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  9. Oh, man, thank you so much. I can feel myself heading into an "off day" and it really helps to hear something like this from another writer. Now where's that chocolate... ;-)

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  10. Sometimes I get my best ideas wile I'm wallowing. Just don't wallow for too long.

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  11. Great thoughts, both about wallowing and then about dusting yourself off and getting back in the game! Thank you.

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  12. Great advice--we're all allowed an 'off' day now and then. The key it to not let it become an off week, or month!

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  13. Great post! We all have off days and sometimes we need them. They can serve as a kick in the butt.

    Fellow campaigner here. I write just about everything - from PBs on up to adults. Looking forward to getting better acquainted!

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  14. Ben & Jerry's, definitely. ;-)

    Hello from a fellow Campaigner. *waves*

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  15. Nicole & Tara - welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. Hello, fellow campaigner! I'm not in your group, but I still wanted to check out your blog and say, "HI!"

    That's a great story. "Get back into the game." Those are words to live by. :)

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  17. Hi Dawn,
    I'm a fellow campaigner and not only did I enjoy your post but I think I'm having one of those days today. I guess checking out some more posts is my attempt a dusting myself off. Tomorrow will be better, right?

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  18. @David: Thanks, David! Glad you stopped by!
    @Bridget: Whatever it takes, Bridget. Hope you're back in the game tomorrow, though there's no hard & fast rule that says you have to be. Sometimes we need TWO days!

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  19. Hello Dawn. Just a fellow campaigner stopping by to say hello. Looking forward to getting to know you. What an interesting blog. We all have our off days -- mine was yesterday.

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  20. Sorry to hear that, Patricia! I hope today is looking better for you. Thank you for stopping by!

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  21. Wallowing with you! Fellow Campaigner saying hi, we share the same background on two of our blogs! Yay! Looking forward to reading more!

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  22. I'm with Morning AJ: shrewd wallowing can be a very creative process, giving you all sorts of useful ideas. My favorite time to wallow is when I'm pulling weeds, but when it rains, chocolate is a great stand-in.

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  23. I have 7 children that have played sports and for every great game there are so many "off" games and practices. That's life, to enjoy it all, the ups and the downs and just being on the field.

    I enjoyed your post. Looking forward to reading more.

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  24. Everybody's got those days. Sometimes it's hard to pick yourself up and get back to work. That's what I love about the writing community. There's so much encouragement and support. I know when I need a kick in the pants or a big squeezy virtual hug, all I have to do is log into any number of blogs (apparently this is one of them) and then I'm good to go.

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

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