Writing To Our Strengths, or What I Learned From Barry Zito

For all of you out there who are not sports fans — in particular baseball fans — forgive me my self-indulgence. But this was just too good a “teaching moment” to pass up.

On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants played the fifth game of their National League Championship Series. The Cardinals had battered the Giants in the previous game, taking a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series, and heading into the fifth game the Giants seemed to be in real trouble. (I’m writing this before Sunday night’s game, so I don’t know what happened with Game 6. Frankly, it’s not important. You’ll see: This isn’t really about baseball at all.)

Moreover, the Giants’ starting pitcher for Game 5, Barry Zito, was not exactly the kind of pitcher who strikes fear in the heart of opposing batters or fans. At thirty-four years old, Zito is […]

Continue reading Writing To Our Strengths, or What I Learned From Barry Zito

The Next Big Thing

“Everybody’s talkin’ bout the new way of walkin’ Do you want to lose your mind?”

The lyrics above are part of “Walk Right In,” first recorded, apparently, by Gus Cannon and The Jug Stompers in 1929. Yes, I’m just that old. Okay, seriously now, when I sat down to write this article, that was the song going through my head. The reason is that everyone is always talking about the next big thing, but the problem is that by the time it’s been identified, it’s not really new anymore. It’s too late to lead the pack, though maybe not too late to get swept along in it.

The fact is this, in life or in fiction…you want to be a leader, not a follower. Sure, there are some genres that are struggling right now more than others, and knowing that you might decide to work on your fantasy novel rather […]

Continue reading The Next Big Thing