Thursday, August 18, 2011

How Darth Vader and Decapitation are Like Writing

I'm always amazed at the little gems of wisdom that drop from my kids' mouths. My husband teases me because he says I can make anything about writing, but's what's on the brain most days so when I hear something I just naturally apply it to my writing world :)

Since this week is Write On Con (have you guys been reveling in the awesome!!?) I bought my kids a few bribes to make up for their absentee mother. My son got a Star Wars Wii game. He's been glued to the thing. Its level is a bit old for him but he's been doing very well at it.

He came into my office yesterday very excited and I thought for sure he'd done something spectacular on his game. He said:

I made it to Level 3! And then Darth Vader chopped my head off.

I congratulated him, happy that he was excited about his level progression and wasn't upset over getting killed so soon after achieving it.

Now what, you may be wondering, does getting your virtual head chopped off by Darth Vader have to do with writing?

Making it all the way to Level 3 was a major accomplishment for him. He's playing a very hard game and is doing extremely well. Sure he has some help here and there (compliments of my husband who stayed up until midnight playing that game :D ). And sure he has some moments where it seems like it's too hard and he wants to give up (sound familiar?). But he stuck with it. And he's progressed.

And then....he got his head chopped off.

How often do we make it to the next level only to get knocked back down? How often do we finish that chapter, complete that tear-inducing revision, write THE END on a new manuscript...only to find yet another problem that needs fixing? How often do we send out queries only to get rejections? Or feel the euphoria of a request only to have that rejected too? Or finally sign with Agent Awesome and go out on submission only to find that no one wants to publish your book?

More often than we'd all like to think about.

So what should we do?

Do what my son did. Come in with a smile on our faces and a bounce in our steps because of the major goal we accomplished. And then ignore the fact that Darth Vader just chopped off our heads and get right back to it...determined to beat the Dark Side if it's the last thing we do :)

I think it gets a little too easy to focus on our defeats. We don't spend nearly enough time reveling in our accomplishments. So that's my challenge to you. The next time a whizzing lightsaber comes at your head, don't let it get you down. Don't let it stop you from continuing your journey. Hit reset and get right back to the battle :) Because that's the only way you'll win in the end :)


  1. That's great advice! And I love the attitude! :)

  2. Wow. This is such an excellent, encouraging post, even with the head chopping. :-D I've experienced the defeat of having an advisor tell me I had to rewrite my chapters for the sixth time and even "chop off" (to use your analogy) the dead weight of scenes that didn't work for her. The manuscript was all the better for it.

  3. Here's to defeating the dark side! What a great post about optimism. Thanks!

  4. Aww, I love your son! He's always teaching me lessons about writing and being grateful for what I have. ;)

    Brilliant analogy. Being disappointed after a full request is JUST LIKE making it to level 3 and getting your head chopped off by Darth Vader. Exactly! It's scary how well this metaphor works. And I love the inspirational ending.

  5. I needed this post today. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I shall don my lightsaber and return to battle.
    Michelle, I think you have some Yoda in you.

  6. Great timing for this. I'm not writing today because, well...I just don't want to. A bit frustrated at how slow my pace is these days. This is a great reminder that we all get discouraged now and then. I will climb back into my X-wing fighter tomorrow.

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

  7. Great post, and so true! I couldn't sleep at all last night worrying about all the work I had left to do, and I seemed to forget that I already have a 100k YA Epic Fantasy completed, and I've revised it four times. Yeah, there's a lot more to come (and I'm totally stressing out) but thanks for reminding me that I've been doing a good job :)


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