When I was about 8 years old I tried out for Little League Baseball. The competition was fierce because you had to impress the coaches to draft you or you didn’t play.
Both of my best friends then had already made it because they were a couple of years older than myself. They made me do drills every day to improve my skills.
At the end of Tryouts, I found out that I had made a team. I was thrilled. The next 4 years were the best years of my life.
I went on to play pony league, county league and then softball. My youngest son loved baseball and I got to be his coach twice a year every year for 10 years. I never forgot the lesson about working on your skills.
I know a lot about our favorite pass time. I have a library of baseball movies. I watch the playoffs and the World Series every year.
Last night I watched Zach Greinke of the Houston Astros pitch 6 innings and only allowed one hit. Now a lot of pitchers do that during the year.
What made it so special for me was that he is 36 years old. Doesn’t throw terribly fast or have a great curveball. But there was one thing that stood out about his mechanics.
He pitched the ball the same way every time because you see, that was his process.
Baseball is all about the process.
It doesn’t matter if you are Zach or any other player, your process is everything.
Look at hitters. The good ones do it the same over and over.
Baseball is not about brute strength or even about deep thinkers. It is a game of a million statistics. In order to excel you ignore the statistics and concentrate on refining, you’re process.
”..anyone can master a skill with 10,000 hours of practice” Malcolm Gladwell
I won’t argue Malcolm’s quote in his book “The Outliers” but when you understand how long a Major League Baseball player has been refining and perfecting his process to make himself or herself better you understand what it takes to accomplish a great feat like being a top producer for Medium.
Most Major League players start at an early age around 8 years old and they continue to excel and beat the odds until they are drafted somewhere between 18 to 22 years old. But it doesn’t stop there they continue to practice and improve their process until they are older.
This is really what the minor leagues are about. Teaching fundamentals and how to apply them to your individual process.
In Zach’s case that is 28 years, he has practised becoming the pitcher he is today.
I don’t know how long he will continue to play but he can’t stop improving or he is toast.
I believe if you work hard and you continue to adjust your process for the better you will eventually succeed at your appointed field.
Writing is a lot like baseball.
We have to find a process that helps us improve as writers.
We have to continue to listen to coaches in our lives that show us what we are doing wrong so we can tweak our process.
We have to find better ways to write a headline or an opening statement. We need to continue to be creative in finding ways to put a different slant on the same old boring subjects to help others find their way in life.
It doesn’t matter if we are writing short stories, novels or blog post just like it doesn’t matter if you are a pitcher or an outfielder.
You still must practice your craft over and over again to improve and be successful.
My Writing Process.
I begin by starting to experiment with headlines for the subject I have picked to write about. I run it through Ubersuggest to get good keywords and more ideas.
I then start typing into a document on my computer. I have several digital resources to help inspire my headlines.
This usually takes a couple of hours and I do it early in the morning while my mind is well-rested. I try to come up with a minimum of 20.
Next, I work on a first sentence to get readers into the content portion of my story. I try not to tell much about my intentions right upfront to encourage reading the story.
By now I am frothing at the bit to get into the meat of the story and get people thinking on small bits of information at a time.
I give up the main point of the article to give the reader some satisfaction and inspiration to hear what I am saying and how it applies to us both.
I end with a takeaway to bring all the main points up once again and to finish my story by circling around to the start.
Next is the Call-To-Action (CTA). Here is where you can sign up for my email list for more information.
The end of the line.
Your process doesn’t have to be complicated, but you must follow it every time.
Zack followed his last night, all the way to the 6 innings and he pitched a magnificent game.
The younger guys came in and failed to close it out letting the Washington Nationals win the 7th and final game. They tried to do too much to win and forgot about their process. It was so evident after watching Zack.
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