The Four P’s Approach to Writing: Pride
“I wanna have pride like my momma has, and not like the kind in the Bible that turns you bad.”
-The Perfect Space, The Avett Brothers
Everybody wants to do well, everybody wants to be a winner and have a winning book. This is probably a given for most writers. I doubt anyone who wakes up every morning and says, “Today, I am going to write the crappiest stuff I can possibly write.”
Pride in one’s work and pride in one’s reputation is essential. Quality comes from drive and drive is fueled by pride. Taking pride in the product, either on the field or on the page, takes commitment, drive and dedication. Hard work is the magic. There is no way around doing the work.
Pride drives you to do your best. It almost becomes a borderline obsession. Back in the football coaching days, between a Friday night game and a Monday meeting with our team, I would watch our 48 minutes of game film for 4-6 hours to grade how my lineman position players performed. On Saturday afternoon when the opponent’s game trade films arrived, I would spend another 8-10 hours scouting their film. Charting every individual play for game situation, formation and personnel by watching each play 6 times at least, followed by watching sequences of plays in order over and over and over again to pick up any tendencies the opponent may fall into. Borderline obsession.
With writing, it is much the same. You feel the need to push through this 50th edit because you want the manuscript to be perfect. You read one more book, one more article, you read the original patent application for a late 1860’s repeating rifle just to get the details right. You find you still stink with commas, so you brush up on grammar for the umpteenth time. Pride drives excellence.
Exercise: Reflect on something you think you can improve on as a writer. Jot down a plan of attack.