Writing Tip #70

Nike lies.

While their slogan "Just Do It" might be the best three words marketing has ever seen, it's still just hollow advice. Because at the end of the day, we can't just do it. Not when it comes to sports.

Sorry, but to quote another well-known slogan by Gatorade, we all can't "Be Like Mike."

Sports first and foremost requires talent. It requires God-given abilities that you're either born with or you're not. Things like your height and weight, your stamina, your flexibility, your eye-hand coordination--I could go on but you know what I'm talking about. You can JUST DO IT until you're heaving over puking and you still might not even make the JV basketball team.

Encouraging post, huh?

No, here's the encouragement. And I've said this time and time again.

When it comes to writing, you can improve.

Nike's ad should be for writers.

Because you can work on your voice and your style and your craft. You can become a better writer over time.

I love this slogan because it reminds me to do what I've always done. To just go for it. To try for something big and then try again. And to keep trying.

I'll be the first to tell you that I still feel like I have a long ways to go. But 40 is the new 27 so I'm doing well, right? And I'm going to keep at this thing. I'm going to keep doing it over and over and over again.

I was reminded of this again today. I began working on something big and ambitious and potentially unwieldy. It was time so I started it.

Yet for a little while, I began having doubts and second-thoughts. This is the start and it has to be great, especially for this. The thoughts went around and around until I saw the Nike swoosh in my head.

Just do it, Trav. Like you've done time and time again.

So I did.

It didn't hurt. I didn't bleed anywhere. That Nike slogan takes the pressure off me to just go ahead and write. I can always throw the writing away or cut and chop away at it. But it's a start. It's not everything, those first few pages. It's just several pages at the start of a story.

This is the mindset you need. The writing can be brilliant or it could bomb. Don't worry about that now. If you're worrying and waiting and wondering, remember the Nike ad.

Then keep remembering it for another 300 or 400 pages.

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