Monday, June 30, 2014

A Writer's Guide to Hunting and Fishing

Post by Jenny 

I don’t often have the opportunity to observe how others approach the day-to-day details and big picture aspirations of their careers. My husband relates stories of the funny and frustrating things that are done by, and to, his coworkers, but my days are usually spent in the company of me, myself, and I. Yep, things are pretty quiet around the water cooler.

This is part of what made collaborating with Kerrie Flanagan on our book, Write Away: A Year of Musings and Motivations for Writers, so educational for me. Kerrie and I are like-minded in many ways, which made compiling the book pretty darn smooth and drama-free. But as we reached the end of that process, I noticed a major difference between us. As I was saying “that was fun, but now it’s done,” Kerrie was saying “what’s next?” Over coffee, she tossed out a few ideas. And a few more. I realized that what I saw as an ending, she saw as merely a stop along the way.

For those of you who don’t know, Kerrie likes to fly fish. I get most of my fish from the freezer aisle, but I do understand that fly fishing requires casting out the hook again and again. (Apparently, fish are not inclined to swim up and splash their little fins around while chanting “pick me, pick me!” in their squeaky voices.) The more casts, the better the chance of landing the big one. There’s no time to obsess about the bites that don’t happen.

My style is more like that of the hunter who spends long hours in a blind, waiting for the quarry to wander by. (Though in truth, I would use a camera instead of a gun.) I try to set myself up for success by doing my homework, getting up early, and making sure I’m properly equipped. Then I sit and wait for something great to come my way. Most days, frankly, it doesn’t, so I pack up and tell myself I’ll try again soon. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon. Really. I promise.

Both styles require planning, patience, and perseverance. Neither style guarantees success. Luck has its part, too. But for those of us who sit in quiet anticipation as our coffee grows cold in our hands…well, perhaps we should don our waders once in a while and jump right in.

Is your style more hunter or fisher?


Patricia Stoltey said...

Definitely a hunter -- and that's the kind of fisherman I am too. I like a rowboat anchored in a quiet cove, a little bucket of minnows or some worms, and a cane pole with a bobber. Maybe even a good book in case the fish aren't biting. :D

Deborah Nielsen said...

I haven't fished in many years. When I did it was with my Dad. We would carry our spinning rods and cans of nightcrawlers and walk along the creek banks looking for riffles or a deep beaver pond. When a likely place was found, by Dad, I would make two or three casts and if something didn't bite, I'd put the pole away and go find a nice shady pine tree to sit under and read. If there were flat rocks around, I'd skip a rock or two too close to where Dad was fishing. Which was a good way to get growled at. Or I'd go hunt for frogs or toads or polliwogs. And then go back to reading. I was never much of a fisherman, er, fisherwoman(?); fishing was boring. Nowadays, if I go walking along the creek bank, I carry a good book and a camera. It's called hiking by some folks; I call it looking for a good photo. Or for a nice shady pine tree to sit under and read.

Jenny said...

Yes, always have a book along just in case! And there's nothing better than skipping/throwing rocks in the water. Though the people with the fishing poles usually don't agree...

Sarah Sullivan said...

Sadly, I'm so much more of a hunter! I don't want to judge but in the game of writing it is probably better to be a fisher. I guess I should pick up my pole and start casting.

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