Writers’ batting order—creativity leads off

writers' batting orderAs I said goodbye to the 2017 baseball season yesterday—well for my Mets, anyway—I got to thinking about the magic of the batting order.

You want your swiftest runner batting first. Second, you want a player likely to move that runner along with a base hit or a well-placed bunt. In the third spot, you want someone who can deliver a big hit. And to make sure the opposing pitcher doesn’t pitch around Mr. Big Hit in the third slot, you want a cleanup hitter (the fourth slot) who can reliably hit the ball out of the park.

And then I got to wondering—well, the Mets were down 6-0 in the fifth; there wasn’t a lot of game to care about—I got to wondering what my writers’ batting order would look like. This is what I came up with:

Creativity
Confidence
Commitment
Communication

How I set my writers’ batting order

Some people might flip the first two batters. What do you need first: Creativity to generate the idea? Or confidence to get you to the computer? That would make for a lively discussion if there were a literary equivalent of the sports bar.

But I put Creativity first because you can have all the confidence in the world—not that I’ve encountered many good writers who have all the confidence in the world…But theoretically you could have all the confidence in the world when you sit down at the keyboard, but if you don’t have an idea how are you gonna make those words appear on the screen?

So Creativity leads off on my team. But then you absolutely need Confidence next. That’s what gets your butt in the seat. What keeps your fingers pounding the keys, even when you’re writing badly. Because not even Confidence bats 1.000. Confidence reassures you that even if you have an off day—hey, even the best hitters only reach base about a third of the time.

Commitment’s up third. Confidence may get your butt in the chair, but Commitment keeps it there. And keeps it coming back every day. Whether or not you want to—it’s not up for debate; you’ve made a commitment.

Those three Cs set the table for the fourth one, the one that pays off all this hard word: Communication. You get to share your ideas, your creativity, with the world.

You’re not going to hit a home run every time—and if you expect that you will, you’re in for a big disappointment, my friend. But if you do your best, “take your hacks” as they say in baseball, you have every reason to be proud.

But you have to step up to the plate. You have to try. So stop reading this and write something. Yes, now.


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Also published on Medium.

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