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:
- Write more
- Read more
- 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.