Monday, 2 April 2012

B is for Balls

Welcome to letter B in my A-Z series, "26 Things that Made Me a Writer".

Balls. Yes, you need these if you want to be any sort of writer. Ladies, you too. I don't know if there is anyone who still thinks writing is ideal for shy and retiring types, but unless you only want to write for an audience of one, at some point you are going to have to put yourself out there for scrutiny, be it from an agent, critique partner, or just a friend. A nerveracking experience for many of us, given the intensely personal nature of our work - it's not just about our stories, but our values, our worldview, who we are as people.

I am shy and retiring by nature, so this is a contradiction for me, as I suspect for many of us. Where do my balls come from, so to speak? Maybe it's because I consider my work the best representation of me, so when I do put myself out there, I'm only doing it with my best foot forward.

On that note, you do have to give yourself permission to write rubbish in order to write better, too. You have to have the balls to write balls. And be open to suggestions for improvement.

So, where do your balls come from??

NB: This is a prescheduled post as I am away from April 2-6. I will respond to all comments on my return. 

11 comments:

Krista McLaughlin said...

Balls. Very interesting - as a lady, I'd say that I have the balls not to give up. Just not the real ones, that would be awkward. :)

Cynthia said...

My "balls" come from knowing that if I don't try to live out my dreams, I'd think back on this in the future with regret. I'd rather say, "I tried my best but..." than "If only I'd tried..."

Jay Noel said...

My balls came from a bunch of different places, but mostly from lots of rejection over the years.

Luckily, I've received encouragement from lots of great people, including a beloved creative writing professor (unfortunately passed away a few yrs. ago).

Eric W. Trant said...

"Why do people say 'grow some balls?' Balls are weak and
sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina. Those things take a pounding."

Supposedly Betty White, unconfirmed.

- Eric

Suze said...

'I don't know if there is anyone who still thinks writing is ideal for shy and retiring types, but unless you only want to write for an audience of one, at some point you are going to have to put yourself out there for scrutiny, be it from an agent, critique partner, or just a friend.'

Well-stated.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

HA! Well said. I've grown cast iron balls ... er actually, ovaries ... just by hanging in there and surviving all these years, and keeping my sense of humor in the face of whatever life's thrown at me. Happy A-Zing.

Sarah Pearson said...

My 'balls' come from someone very close to me who I love very much (and who loves me) who is convinced I will never finish a novel.

Ciara said...

Mine come from wanting to inspire my children. If mommy can sell books, they can do anything.

danneromero said...

balls come from lessons learned. what works. what doesn't. what's important. and like you said, balls are what represent you.

ballsy post. :D

C.B. Wentworth said...

I can identify with being shy. I've spent most of my life hiding in my shell, but I'm slowly coming out because I've realized my writing is worth more to me than the safety zone I've created. We must be bold!

Nick Wilford said...

Krista - Yep, it's important not to give up.

Cynthia - Better to try and fail than not try at all.

Jay - Rejections can really galvanise you to try harder, I'd hate to know they made anyone give up.

Eric - What a great quote! I'll have to find out about Betty White now...

Suze - It feels like ages ago I wrote this. I was thinking, what a great comment, then realised you were quoting me! Glad you liked it.

Susan - A sense of humour - also an invaluable weapon in this game!

Sarah - I can understand that, you would like to prove to them (and yourself) that you can do it.

Ciara - That's a great motivation.

Danneromero - Life lessons are very important.

C.B. - I feel the same as you. I have to be more "out there" if I'm going to give my writing a chance.