The weekend of March 30-April 1, I was in College Station, Texas playing a Guinness World Record game of baseball. I and 55 other players took the field for a total of 49 consecutive hours. We played in rotations, so I got about 17 hours of play time.
How did I get into this? A friend of mine runs the charity called Mercy Project, which gets kids out of slavery in Ghana, Africa and launches projects that teach the people there to do well economically without the use of slavery — thus creating a culture where children stay with their families. For the past three years, Mercy Project has broken Guinness World Records as fundraisers for their cause. They needed more female players this year, and I got drafted with the caveat that my baseball-playing son could come and be a bat boy.
I’ve been around baseball for many years, so I know the game a bit. However, I haven’t actually played much. So my skills are wanting. I did fine overall — only striking out three times in all of my at bats, fielding reasonably well, assisting on some outs, and even catching one fly ball. My teammates, most of whom were men who had played baseball quite a bit, gave me tips to improve my game as we went along.
At one point — maybe day 2 or day 3, it all runs together after a while — I was “on deck,” meaning I was next to bat and warming up by swinging a piece of wood around. The batter coming up behind me, Chris, came over to give me a tip. He said, “Just remember this,” and I leaned in expecting some piece of brilliance that would help me whack that ball into left field. Chris said, “Don’t suck.”
Wow. Thanks, Chris. What words of wisdom!
But in fact, it was his way of telling me to lighten up — that this one pitch and one hit would hardly make or break me as a player. Moreover, the more I played, the better I got.
And it’s true with writing as well! Sometimes, we get uptight about this one day or week of writing performance. Did I make my goals? Did I write the best scene ever? Did I knock it out of the park?
Relax. Don’t suck.
That’s not to say that you don’t want to achieve your goals and write fabulous books. But as long as you don’t suck, as long as you’re putting your best effort into it, you can keep getting better. So let’s see how I did with week one of ROW80 Round 2:
- Log 5,000 words per week on young adult novel, SHARING HUNTER. This should result in a completed first draft. Wrote 7,001 words from Tuesday through Friday. I admit to slightly wanting to go back and remove one word so that it would result in an even 7,000. Does that make me like Monk?
- If first draft is finished, edit once through SHARING HUNTER.
- Work on pitch and synopsis for DFW Writers’ Conference (taking place May 20-22).
- If I get all of that done, edit through THE YEAR OF FIRSTS, my middle grade novel which is in second draft form and has been gathering dust for a few months. Hopefully, I will be able to take a fresh perspective of what I wrote there and turn it into a beautiful book.
- Read one writing craft book. My choice this round is Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. Gene Lempp, fellow sponsor and awesome blogger, highly recommended this book. I started the book.
- Read through March/April issue of The Writer’s Digest. I have read a few articles so far and went through all of the May/June issue during a Boy Scout meeting.
- Take course from Tiffany Inman Lawson on 77 Secrets to Writing YA Fiction that Sells from the Margie Lawson Writers Academy. Yippee! Can’t wait. Coming up!
- Read 10 books keeping to my At-Least-3 Reading Challenge for 2012. Reading GETTING RID OF BRADLEY by Jennifer Cruisie, whom I haven’t read before.
- Post ROW80 updates on Sundays. (Yes, I know that we are supposed to report twice weekly, but I have found that to be difficult. Moreover, that ends up giving me three posts from Wednesday-Friday, which is a bit much for my readers, I think. So I’m sticking to Sundays. Hope that’s okay with the Powers That Be.) Done.
- Exercise three times a week — length of time to be determined. I am counting my 17 hours of baseball over last weekend for this one. Plus, my husband and I walked once. Next week, I’m back with Zumba and my newly purchased coin skirt.
In case you’re curious, here are a few pics from my sleep-depriving, soreness-inducing, record-setting baseball weekend.
Since the Guinness rules do not allow you to wander farther than a certain number of feet from the playing field, we slept in tents. (That is, when I wasn’t playing baseball from 1:00 to 3:00 a.m. or from 4:45 to 7:00 a.m.)
The following is my team of players, one of whom played college baseball. (Thanks, Greg, for having my back over and over.) And the rest of them, too. Mr. “Don’t Suck” is the guy in the black shirt.
Here’s the whole lot of us with the Guinness World Record clock. My son is also in this photo. I wonder if you can pick him out; he looks a bit like me.
And here’s me at bat! I asked my friend to take photos. She missed the one where I had a nice drive to the shortstop, but she did video my strike-out. I am not posting that one.
I haven’t received any phone calls from Major League Baseball scouts. But I still don’t think I sucked.
How was your ROW80 week? Suck or not suck? And be sure to wish the other ROWers well; you can find them at THIS LINK.
Mercy Project raised $49,000 with its 49 hours of baseball. Of course, they accept donations year-round, so if you feel inclined, check them out. I vouch that these people are the real deal — compassionate and responsible.