Michael Jordan’s Guide to Writing a Book

19 Jun

Okay, MJ wasn’t a writer, but he was an expert at what he did. And, surprisingly, a closer look at his basketball skills can teach you a lot about writing a good book.

It’s Okay to Fail

Did you know that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team?

I know, huge surprise! But he got passed it. He moved on, learned from his mistakes, and kept trying. Even when he was in the NBA, he still had failures. Twice he played a game where he only scored two points!

Did you know that JK Rowling collected eleven rejections before Harry Potter was published? That Kathryn Stockett received over forty before The Help was accepted? Getting rejections is part of writing.

And it’s totally okay. Getting rejected doesn’t mean you’re not a good writer.

Don’t ever stop trying, and you will publish.

Get the Basics Down First

Michael Jordan didn’t start off by doing crazy dunks and alley oops. He practiced dribbling. Then shooting.

Writing is just like this. You can’t begin by trying to nail the intricacies of subplot and prose unless you have a solid foundation of plot, setting, and character. Make sure you have hammered solid your understanding of the basics before you begin working on the flourishes.

Learn the Nuance of Your Craft

I know I just said to make sure you have the basics, but every player in the NBA knows how to make a basket. Being strong in the details, that was what made Jordan truly great.

So, once you have the basics down, be sure to learn the nuances of writing. Soak in all the advice you can. Every bit of information you gain and integrate into your work will get you closer to publishing. And when you are published, it’s the deeper craft of your story that will set you apart.

Anyone can write a story. (Just how many boy-goes-to-wizard-school novels are out there?) It’s how you write it that will make you great.

So, any MJ fans?


6 Responses to “Michael Jordan’s Guide to Writing a Book”

  1. Pinar Tarhan June 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    I’m a fan of his “failure” story.:)
    I also love the fact John Grisham couldn’t get his first book, A Time to Kill, published. He managed to sell his second book, The Firm, and sold A Time to Kill after.

    Just like you said: You have to believe in yourself, practice and keep going.

    • Jessica Flory June 28, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      Wow, perfect example! I didn’t know that about John Grisham. What would’ve happened if he had given up after his “failure” with A Time to Kill? It’s hearing things like that that keeps me motivated! I had a writing teacher once tell me that if you keep writing, you will publish. So keep writing! 🙂

  2. Pinar Tarhan June 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    I’m such a John Grisham junkie that at one point my dad thought I was going to become a lawyer. Thankfully, I knew very well that the real life of a litigation lawyer is nowhere near that interesting…:) I’d love to create (legal) thrillers like that, though. And Hollywood hasn’t even begun to dig into some of his best work.

    Yeah, keep writing. And writing is a lot of fun! It’s the marketing bit that I’m not that crazy about. 🙂

    • Jessica Flory June 28, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

      Yeah, I agree. Marketing is hard, and it’s hard to know what to do and where to put your money.
      Let me know when you publish your legal thriller 🙂

      • Pinar Tarhan June 29, 2013 at 9:39 am #

        I think I will work on the romantic dramas first. Given that I already have drafts…:)

  3. Jessica Flory July 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    Haha for sure! Sounds awesome. Good luck finishing those up! 🙂

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