Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Monday Musing: The Ovechhead

No one would ever think of Alexander Ovechkin, international hockey star, as being a writer. And yet, he’s got a great piece of advice in this commercial from a couple of years back, when he was shilling for CCM:
In the event the sound (or the Ovechhead’s accent) isn’t clear, he says, “No one ever gets better at hockey by bowling. More practice for you.”
Sadly, after two commercials featuring the Ovechhead (you can see the other one here), Ovechkin signed a sponsorship deal with Reebok, whose commercials are far less entertaining.  I’m not sure what it was that made me think of this commercial recently, but it just popped into my head (so to speak). The way I see it, there are three ways to get better at writing:
  1. Write more
  2. Read more
  3. Get critiques/give critiques
Note that bowling is not on this list.
Then again, writing is not quite like hockey, though it certainly feels like a full-contact sport from time-to-time. Yes, our greatest improvement will come from planting butt firmly in chair with fingers not just poised over the keyboard, but actually typing and making things happen. Howver, you can’t write all the time, and you can’t spend all your non-writing time reading. It’s not healthy for the body, and it’s not healthy for the mind.
We need to take time away to re-fill the creative well. Stepping away from the computer or notebook or whatever also gives us the opportunity to observe others, listen to the ebb and flow and rhythm of conversations, maybe even pick up a tidbit or two that can become part of a story. Hell, go bowling, even. You might open your bag and get a surprise.
Thanks to Lisa L. Regan for giving me a nice award last week, it’s much appreciated. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that I can pass it on appropriately – I’m pretty sure it’s been given to just about everyone I follow, so I’ll cop out for now and promise to think about it. Thanks again, Lisa!

11 Responses

  1. I find that the moments away from the keyboard are often quite useful to my creative flow. Especially if I'm having trouble moving forward on something, an activity unrelated to writing can sometimes help jar things loose in my head. Great post!

  2. I never thought I'd learn something from Ovechkin. I'm somewhat horrified. *Grins*

    That reminds me! Did you see Road to the NHL Winter Classic last year? They had this clip of Ovey saying, "They chose me, so it means I have a very good face." It was hilarious!

  3. "with fingers not just poised over the keyboard, but actually typing and making things happen" This made me smile. But yes, some time away from the keyboard can definitely be a good thing.

  4. Congrats on the Stinky! She gave me one, too!! I could not agree with you more in regards to your post. Writing, reading, and critiquing are the best ways to improve your writing, but often, one needs to take a huge step back to gain some perspective. Whenever I feel that burnout, I've learned to do just that, take a step back. I just managed to write the first chapter of my next WIP using this method. And while I'd love to do a little bowling, it's way too expensive!!

  5. I've never seen that commercial–it's great. And true. But so are the points you make. I know that when I take a break, get away from the work for a little bit, I am refreshed and the writing/ ideas/ creativity flows more freely when I return from that break.

  6. Great list. And it's true–though writing is the only way you're going to improve at writing, you also have to take breaks now and then.

    Congratulations on the award!

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