Okay, so I was at my tennis team practice the other day. We were running drills that mostly consisted of getting a ball cannon-balled at you just short of the speed of sound. You won't find any wimps on our team. And after returning some, missing some and getting hit in RIGHT IN THE SOFT PART OF THE INNER THIGH, thanks for that really, I ran wide for a backhand and caught it weird. That ball shot out an an angle and hit the plastic scorekeeper between the courts. That happens sometimes. But this time it hit and lodged in the home-side #4.
If you're not sitting back, awestruck, amazed at such an occurrence, then you don't understand the one in a million aspect of the event. This was a hole in one, a lightning strike, a bonified shark attack.
But after I had made the rounds of high fives, it was back to business, returning balls, missing balls and dodging a certain teammate's death overheads. And I was enjoying the heck out of all of it. What was I going to do, be all sad and depressed because every single ball I hit for the next hour and a half wasn't a hole in one?
And as always, I was reminded of my art and writing life. Surprise! I love making a sale of one of my books - love, it, love it, love it. It makes me make rodent squeals and I then jump around like a velociraptor after chugging a case of Red Bull. But news flash, I don't make a sale every day. So does that mean I'm never happy in my creative life when I'm head-down practicing my craft? What a bummer that would be.
In Spinal Tap there's that great scene where Nigel patiently explains that their amp goes to 11. When pressed as to why they just couldn't have an amp where 10 is simply louder, Nigel reiterates that they have one that goes to 11, because clearly that's one better, isn't it?
Those days we get an agent or make a sale are definitely an 11 moment. But if that's all we lived for we wouldn't last long, because those 11 moments can be few and far between. And you know, in my old age, I've decided that I'm going to be happy at all the other numbers too.
When I get good feedback at my critique group I glow because that's probably a 4, if I figure out a character problem I smile and get a cookie thinking I just cleared a 5, If I make myself sit in that chair for one more extra hour to finish a chapter then I tell myself that I've been a very good dog and consider that a 6. No 11s but still totally happy.
So go for those 11 moments - sweat, endeavor, strive.
But don't forget to be happy along the way.
Remember - it's all a grand, glorious game - emphasis on game.