Wise Words for Writers: Wayne Gretzky

Yes, Wayne Gretzky, though he was not referring to writers at the time, I find the quote very apt.

 “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

How many stories have you written?  Really, how many have you finished?  And how many have you sent to a publisher, agent, magazine, other venue…….

Some people manage never to finish.  I know a book that is in the twentieth rewrite.  I kid you not.  Did you ever read Camus, The Plague?  There was a character in that story who wanted to be a writer and searched for the perfect opening sentence.  Well, the plague came and let’s just say he never finished that sentence or anything else!

Some people just like to dream (fantasize) about fame and fortune.  It isn’t just writers, but I think it may be epidemic among would-be writers.  There is the fear of rejection, and form letters can read like you never even got a shot on goal.  But hey, a hockey game is not a short event.  How many shots per game did Gretzky actually get in all that time and how many times was he turned back without even having the chance to shoot?  And how many times did he score?

You see, you must write and finish it.  Then you must send it out and keep sending it until sold or until you (temporarily) run out of places to send it.  By then you should have one, two or three more making the rounds.  Tim Allen said it well in that great-dumb movie Galaxy Quest:  “Never give up.  Never surrender.” 

Gretzky is 100% correct.  “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

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