#ROW80: Don’t Suck

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.

24 thoughts on “#ROW80: Don’t Suck

  1. Ultra-cool on the Mercy Project benefit – what a stellar cause for a noble reason and kudos to all of you for your efforts.

    By the way, there are quite a few of us that only check in on Sunday’s. The main part of the week is hectic (which is an understatement) and ROW is the challenge that knows we have a life – which is to say, relax, the powers that be are copacetic with our plight and choice.

    Now – leave that one word alone *laugh* – give it 99 brothers and sisters and it all will be well.

    Thanks for the linkage and I think you’ll find Writer’s Journey to be informative and beneficial. Have a great week, Julie 🙂

    1. Thanks, Gene! And that bit about the Sundays is definitely worth knowing. I had noticed that there were more reports on Sunday, but I didn’t know whether that was intentional or us writers just not having enough time on Wednesdays. Have a great ROW80 yourself! You’re such a valuable sponsor.

  2. Wow I was wondering how you stayed awake and the tents and naps make sense. Very cool. Looks like you have a lot on the go for this round. See you on twitter at #row80. 🙂

  3. So cool! The Mercy Project seems like loads of fun! I’m sure you’re proud for being part of it! Cheers to you 😉

  4. Fantastic batter’s stance, Julie! You must be pretty dang sore right about now. 🙂 (Better stretch and rest up for our WANA dance-a-thon in Dallas. LOL…

    Your goals are magnificent and you will love Jenny Crusie – I highly recommend Faking It and Anyone But You. Agnes and the Hitman with Bob Mayer rocks as well. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks, Jenny! I had my son and husband coaching me for two weeks before the game because I didn’t want to suck. LOL. What is this about the WANA dance-a-thon? My interest is piqued!

      I’ll put those Cruisie titles in my queue. Thanks for the recommendations.

  5. What a great charity project! I love playing softball with Grace, and I’m looking forward to her getting her cast off.

    Love your advice about not taking ourselves too seriously. I need to keep that posted on my computer, lol. Great week!

    1. Thanks, Stacy. I’m impressed with you playing softball with your daughter. How fabulous! I used to throw a baseball around with my son until he got really good and it hurt my hand to catch his pitches!

      And yes, I should probably post “Don’t suck” on my laptop as well! LOL.

  6. Great fundraising for a terrific cause, Julie! Thanks for sharing the photos.

    Your phrase for the weekend reminds me of one from My Cousin Vinny. My husband and I love to quote Lisa’s character, when she’s giving a pep talk to Vinny about his first experience as a court lawyer: Don’t f%$* up!

    Our adult daughter shared with us she writes the quote as a mantra at the top of her college exams. Once, she forgot to erase it. That must have been an interesting conversation with her professor. :O

  7. I love that, don’t suck. I’m working on making my day stress free AND reaching my goals, so I loved this!! The Mercy Project sounds pretty awesome.

  8. Wonderful job with the fundraising, Julie! I love all the photos. Little snapshots of those memories are wonderful. They will remind you of all the amazing things you’ve done with your life.

    I don’t think you ever have a week where you suck. You’re always making tons of progress in the direction of your dreams. Every time I read your goals, you lift me up. Keep it happenin’.

  9. What a fun sounding project, and I’m totally not a baseball person! And, dang, you totally blew your word count goal away. Nice job. Wishing you tons of words this week!

    1. Thanks, Katherine! It was exhausting, but everyone had such a great attitude that the game was indeed fun. Of course, that higher purpose kept us all focused too. (Because at 2:00 in the morning, you have to mumble to yourself, “It’s for the kids” to keep going. 😉 )

  10. Awesome on your record! That must’ve been amazingly tiring, but wow – how rewarding! Anyone who’d play ball (or do anything) for enslaved kids doesn’t suck! You are kickin’ it in your goals, too! I’m one of those who only checks in on Sunday – partly because of the time aspect, but mostly because I don’t get much writing done in the early part of the week due to other responsibilities, so I don’t have much progress to post. Keep up the great work on yours!

    1. Thanks, Jennette! I love your statement that “anyone who’d … do anything for enslaved kids doesn’t suck.” When you see the pics of these young kids on fishing boats and looking so sad, you want to give anything to get them out of there. I know there are plenty of charities that tug at people’s hearts the same way. There are so many small ways we can make the world a better place.

      Thanks for letting me know about Sunday. With yours and Gene’s comments, I feel better about that. Best wishes for ROW80!

  11. Great pictures, great update, and great advice. Don’t suck. You can’t say it much better.

    I’m the opposite OCD on 7,001. I would have changed 7,000 to 7,003 or something so it looked like a “real” number and not some arbitrary one I made up. I always hate when the number is 1,500 or something, because what are the odds?

  12. Nice job on the baseball endeavor, Julie – woot! Your goals sound so exciting and ambitious! Good luck with DFW, too! And you know what? It’s ok to suck – YA author Maureen Johnson has an entire video called “dare to suck” – http://youtu.be/Nyhv80HDSj4

    All the best,

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