In test cricket, if your team is batting second and chasing a large enough total, there is a chance you will be bowled out before you get within 200 runs of your opponent’s score. At that point, your opposition may choose to have you bat again, if they think it’s in their best interests to win the game – or if they really just don’t want to bat again!
In life, sometimes things don’t work out the first time. We can put a lot of effort into something, and for whatever reason it falls flat and fails. At that point, at the very least we have have more information than we had before we tried. We then have the opportunity to think, before we make the decision to try again or move onto something different.
Life doesn’t work in definitives as often as cricket. As in: sometimes it’s not easy to tell if whether we’ve made it close to our goal or, to prolong the cricket analogy, we are more than 200 runs behind. When I am writing a short story with my dad to enter into a competition, we do not know exactly what the judges will value. We can think up what we believe is a good idea, carry out diligent research, write and go through a bunch of edits to bring the characters and the setting more to life, but we can’t know what we have written is what the specific judges of the competition are looking for. So far my father and I have entered half a dozen short story competitions in just over a year.
We have made exactly zero long lists, let alone any short lists. What we are doing through the process of writing each story is learning how we can better write as a team, and take some of this to individual writing projects we are working on. Maybe the stories we have written were good, but needed an extra edit or two to really refine them. Maybe they were not the right style or setting for the competition. Maybe we completely missed the mark. Each time we get a “thank you for your entry, try again next year” email, we take on board any feedback provided and move onto the next one.
In the creative avenue of music, when I finally get into gear and intentionally write something (not just a guitar riff or a drum line but an entire song) many of them sound less exciting than they did to begin with in my head. Not every song I write has to be the “new one I like the most,” but it feels like sometimes I strike out. I’m not the best musician, but I write things I like often enough that I think I’m sort of good at it. Maybe I even hit more often than I don’t when I try and put an album’s worth of tunes together. So I keep at it, and one day in the near-ish future I will release this music into the world.
Creativity and ideas help me start things, and perseverance helps me to follow through and finish things.
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Is there something you’ve put a lot of work into that hasn’t worked out yet?
Is there the opportunity to try again?
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Like cricket, sometimes we don’t get things right the first time around, but take heart with this comeback story, found on Wikipedia:
Hampshire were bowled out for 15 while chasing the 223 Warwickshire set in their first innings. Hampshire were forced to follow on, and managed to rack up 521 in their second innings. Warwickshire folded, and Hampshire bowled them out to win the game. At the time of writing this post, Hampshire’s first innings score of 15 runs was still the lowest total, in a completed innings, made by a team who managed to win the match.
Even when it seems like there’s no way to win, with hard work and perseverance we can get extremely close.