Ready to throw out a heat check for your writing? Wherever you are in your career, novice or published author, do something so audacious and take such a long shot that it seems a little crazy.
If you’re a basketball fan – or a fan of any sport – you’ve likely watched a game where a player gets in such a groove that he practically cannot miss. For a basketball player, it’s when he’s so “in the zone” the basket seems ten feet wide and the ball drops effortlessly as he shoots in a pure, unconscious act of poetry. Whether it’s Kevin Durant or LeBron James, Michael Jordan or Larry Bird, every shot seems to hit net as they cruise to a 50-point explosion. Those are the nights the player feels he can’t go wrong.
But in the midst of these sublime athletic displays, you’ll see something that might appear ridiculous: at some point in the game, the player will pull up from impossibly far out – maybe just inside half court – and let a shot fly. Those low-percentage, long-distance prayers are called “heat checks,” and they actually serve a purpose. It’s the player taking measure of just how in the zone they are that night, an exercise to determine just how much the basketball gods have blessed them in that given moment. When the mind and body are working in perfect harmony, confidence breeds confidence, and that is a great time to let a heat check fly and explore your limits.
Why let athletes have all the fun? Bloggers and authors, it’s time to take a lesson from them and do the same. And no, I’m not suggesting you lace up your sneakers and embarrass yourself at the local YMCA, I’m talking about throwing up a heat check for your writing. Wherever you are in your career, novice or published author, do something so audacious and take such a long shot that it seems a little crazy.
Are you trying to increase sales on your recently published book? Call the local (or corporate) Business Development Manager of Barnes & Noble and see if they’ll put your book on the shelves or even feature it. Are you looking to garner media attention? Write in to the Today Show or a local morning show in your area pitching your book as part of a story. Are you trying to grow your readership? Send your book to the President and ask for his review.
Will any of these sources say yes? Most likely, no, but what do you have to lose? You’re already in the groove, so this heat check is a throw away to tempt fate because maybe, just one in a million, your long shot will land and bring some reward. If you’re not wrapped up in a specific outcome, the poetry of the act itself is your reward. Even if you never hear back from anyone, it will do a lot for your perception of your writing career.
First, it’ll be damn fun, and after overcoming your awkward reservations the first time you try it, you’ll look forward to a new heat check every week. It can also bolster your confidence in ways you’d never imagine when you return to your normal work week. Were you apprehensive about approaching the owner of an indie bookstore? You just emailed the President of the United States! An email is an email, a phone call is a phone call, no matter who the recipient is, and your intimidation of playing a bigger game will soon go right out the window.
Second, the fearless energy you put out into the universe might be rewarded some way, some how. Maybe you’re not a fit for the local morning show right now, but the producer keeps your info on file and reaches out for you to contribute to a related story a few months down the road. Perhaps Barnes & Noble won’t stock your book, but they tweet about one of your blog posts, helping it reach a much wider audience. You never know how it’s going to come back to you, but I promise you, taking these chances and imagining opportunities will reap rewards and help you make build new relationships.
Why not try ridiculously brazen ideas, not just medium sized ones? Let your heat check fly from half court. Schedule your heat check for a Friday afternoon as a reward for a good work week, and for one-hour, think big … no, think huge! I’ve emailed David Hasselhoff, contacted the President of Costa Rica, and encouraged Miss America to retweet a blog I wrote about her. You’ve got a pass to fail on this one with a big smile on your face. And you never know, maybe, just maybe your shot will go in and you’ll get a “yes.”
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