March Madness and You (Part II)

So what does all this March Madness mean to us writers?  Have you ever worked in a situation where every action you took mattered?  Not just your physical actions but also your emotional state of mind mattered too?  Now imagine TV cameras on you, your coach shouting, a ref watching your every move, and a stadium full of screaming fans—half hate you and the other half is rooting for you.  (There’s so much more going on, but I don’t want to get distracted from the topic).  My point is this: these young players come to The Game with a certain amount of training, preparation, mindset, fans who believe in them, and negative forces working against them—just like writers.  And when the whistle blows, it’s all on them.  They either have it or they don’t.  Here’s what they do, and I believe it’s what makes the madness so riveting:

1. They give it everything that they got

2. They don’t leave anything on the table

3. They know they have one shot to show what they’re made of

4. They step it up—they play to the level of the competition

5. They stay focused, brushing off the distractions and setbacks

6. They have a team—they’re not in it alone

What if you only had one shot to show what you’re made of?  Would you write differently?  Would you choose the project you’re working on now?  Are you putting everything you got into your project?  Are you leaving anything inside you that should be on the page—in other words, are you holding back?  Are you still writing for the love of it?  Are you stepping up your game?

March Madness is full of suspense and drama.  Some dreams come true and other dreams are shattered.  But one thing that I admire of all the basketball players is their heart and desire to win.  Every game means something.  If you are lacking enthusiasm and drive, turn on a March Madness game and get caught up in the infectious intensity.  See the fire in the players’ eyes.  Feel the passion and camaraderie.  You can’t help but be inspired.  And ask yourself this: would my game change if I wrote with this kind of relentless intensity?

Click to read Part I

March Madness And You Part II

Duke University March Madness

March Madness and You (Part I)

Ever wonder what all the March Madness hype is about?  Are you surrounded by basketball fans that seem crazed and single-minded? Instead of running in the other direction, I’m suggesting you take a moment to assess what’s at the root of the madness.  I’ll admit I’m one of those fans who may seem possessed at times.  But I think writers (and everyone else) can benefit from a closer study of this annual phenomenon.  Let’s examine the behavior of the basketball players, not the zealous fans, and maybe we can find a way to harness some of this enthusiasm.

First a brief background: As you know, college basketball players don’t get paid to play.  They are there for the love of the game.  (Only a few get scholarships).  By the time we get to the month of March, the regular season is just ending and we go in to conference play.  Everyone vies to win their conference title. Everyone wants to go to the big dance—also known as the sweet sixteen—though nowadays there are more than 64 teams.

As exciting as the conference playoffs are, when it ends is when March Madness begins.  March Madness is the big dance.  It’s where all the television cameras are on.  Teams that never get any airtime have the opportunity to make a name for themselves.  There is the chance that a modest, unknown college can win the title.  These are known as Cinderella teams—teams that come out of nowhere to beat a favored college.  And they don’t just beat one team—they keep on winning, moving up in the bracket.  This possibility is part of what makes the madness exciting.  Fans know it is always possible.  Possible that a team with little hope can pull it together, find their mojo, and win.  It also means a beloved team can lose at any time.  In other words, E-V-E-R-Y game matters! 

Click to read Part II.


March Madness And You

March Madness