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athlete's mindset writer

The Sport of Writing: How an Athlete’s Mindset Can Help Bring Your A-Game

Picture this: a competitor in fierce pursuit of a goal, pulling off incredible physical and mental feats, and letting out a huge roar after a win.

Can you guess who this is?

If you answered, “An athlete,” you’re absolutely correct.

If, for some reason, you said, “A writer”… you are right as well!

Let’s face it: when we visualize writers, we don’t exactly think of impressive physical specimens like Dwayne Johnson or Serena Williams. Though some of us (especially me) could probably use a protein shake or two, we have every right to feel like a Grand Slam Champion.

Why? Because writers, in essence, are athletes.

I have been a sports fan since childhood, with basketball holding a special place in my heart. (I’m from the Philippines, you see.) After devouring so much sports content over the years, I can confidently say that the winning qualities of athletes are the same ones that drive writers to success.

In this article, I’ll assemble my own starting five by discussing the top qualities that writers can pick up from the world of sports. By adopting all these characteristics that define the mindset of an athlete, writers can get past every obstacle, beat the clock, and score a slam dunk. Or a home run. Or a touchdown.

Do we have to do the Griddy every time our work is published? Up to you. While celebratory dance rituals are short-lived, these five qualities will help you last long in the writing industry.

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patience as a writer

The Importance of Developing Patience as a Writer

Remember the excitement you feel when different ideas come to your mind? You choose the best among them, you start researching, and begin to work on a draft of your text. 

Perhaps then you go a bit back and forth, reworking paragraphs, deleting words and lines, adding quotes.

Then you read your work, getting this fabulous feeling that it looks good. So you get ready to hit send or publish.

Stop right there. 

That unrestrained flow of thoughts needs to be reined in because it’s a trap. If you don’t think deeper about the main themes of your article, it could be a sign that you have rushed your writing.

You might be thinking your writing is great—trouble-free—because your thoughts rain words and phrases, helping you to work fast. Nope. False alarm.

Getting frustrated and having feelings of giving up are signs I consider positive because that will make you work better by forcing you to take a break.

Working on a highly creative project, like writing, without breaks, might indicate you lack patience.

So let me walk you through the bumps and hurdles that you might encounter in your journey to becoming a writer by sharing my experience on what I lost due to my lack of patience when it came to writing. 

Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes and help yourself use your gift of writing to its fullest. 

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writing with rap

Hip Hop Hooray: Ramp Up Your Writing with Rap

Many of us tune into a specific playlist when we write. This soundtrack helps the mind weave words into meaningful clusters of thought. For some writers, it’s a classical selection of Mozart, Beethoven, or Bach. Others lean into soothing lo-fi and jazz. 

Me? I blasted J. Cole on my headphones as I wrote my master’s thesis.

Hip-hop has been in my ear since the sixth grade, back when Nelly was topping the charts and Baby Keem was a toddler. I blame Eminem for starting it all: “Lose Yourself” was a morning routine along with breakfast and academic lethargy. When I got to college, I had T.I. telling me to live my life and Drake hooking me on “Forever.” (My high school hip hop presence was John Cena. Don’t ask.)

Now, I’m a grizzled professional still listening to rhymes and beats. After all these years as an ardent rap fan, I realize that this genre is not just background music to me. Far from being banal Spotify stimuli, the art of rap directly influences another one of my passions: writing.

So now, I’m putting together a mixtape of advice for my fellow writers. In this piece, I’ll be breaking down how rap music can revitalize your writing. Whether your affinity for rap is limited to Ludacris’ verse on “Baby,” or you’re a true aficionado waiting for Dr. Dre to drop “Detox,” you can find rhyme and reason in these writing tips. At their core, rappers are writers themselves, so we can learn a thing or two about what they do, ya dig?

So now … like the late, great Big L, let me put it on.

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Creating Characters That Make Your Readers Care

A jester with a hammer, a sponge fry cook, a boy trying to catch ’em all. There are details about characters that transcend names and faces, certain things that just can’t help but stick out in your mind when you hear a name or a franchise. 

Thinking about your favorite movie or TV show, what part really drew you to it? What makes you watch it over and over? Elements such as music, camera angles, casting choices, even catchy trailers are a good start to draw attention to a show. But what really keeps you coming back episode after episode? 

Even musicals need more than a soundtrack to hold attention, and the captivating landscapes can only take you so far. People really remember stories for the plot and dialogue, or that twist at the end that gets you every time. 

All in all, the real selling point of media is their characters. But what’s the difference between a lackluster impersonation and the iconic killer robot that pops into your head when you hear those words?

The simple answer is depth. That is, really spending time to develop more than just a name and goal for the main movers of your story. Be it a written story, a movie in production, or even just a tabletop game you’re playing with some friend; you don’t need a big budget to add memorable elements to any character you create. In fact, if you watch any TV at all, you’ve already got a pretty good head start.

So, if you feel like you’re struggling with giving your two-dimensional characters those three-dimensional elements, hold my hand; we’re going on this journey together.

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