What Writers Can Learn from the Seahawks

I’ve had a real slump in my writing life recently. And not one that people see. On the surface everything looks great. I’ve got a fantastic picture book out, reviews are excellent, and I’m having a blast doing school visits and helping young children with their stories.But in my daily life I am struggling. Despite many drafts that I love, I’ve been thinking lately that maybe I only had one really good book in me.

I watched with incredible dismay on January 18th as my team fell apart. Russell Wilson could neither run nor throw a pass. Correction, Wilson could throw a pass to the Packers defense without any problem. I’m not sure that the Seahawks even made a first down in the first half of this crucial playoff game.

After the third quarter and another interception, I thought, okay, we’ll be back next year. Even a great team can have a horrible day.

Then I thought about my writing. Why wasn’t I giving myself the same break? Sometimes the day-to-day setbacks of the writing life — rejections, meandering plots, and flaccid characters — stop me cold. I won’t write for weeks. How stupid is that? I have dozens of stories in my head demanding to be written.

The Seahawks, unbelievably, turned the game around.

And this isn’t the first time that they’ve pulled a win out of their ****. (Okay, I can’t think of a substitute for a rather rude but accurate description of where the Seahawk’s often bizarre victories appear to come from.) The Seahawks have a pattern of winning games they shouldn’t. Often the other team looks better. It drives my California relatives, 49’ers and Packers fans all, into red-faced rages.

The truth is that the Seahawks never give up. Richard Sherman playing defense with an injured elbow may have been one of the stupidest moves in pro football I’ve seen, but it speaks to heart. He wouldn’t leave the field when his team needed him.

Forget that you are down by 16, that your quarterback has just thrown another interception, and that your fans are saying goodbye on Twitter and filing out of the stadium. Do you want to win the game? If so, forget the yard markers and the calls that go against you. Ignore the score and keep playing with all you’ve got.

No matter what the outcome this Sunday, or what your team, the Seahawks are a great example of how to keep working when the game becomes impossibly tough.

seahawk 12