Monday, July 8, 2019

Teamwork and the Writer by Peter Leavell

We like to think writing is a solitary, confined activity. However, with a toddler on one arm, someone talking in another ear, and a Cheshire cat on the keyboard tapping 45,835 pages of the letter ‘M,’ writing is hectic.

And then the teamwork begins.

Growing up, I was a runner. I loved the solitude of jogging South Dakota’s endless country roads, sometimes 10 or 15 miles. A skinny kid with speed, I did okay zooming past strong farmer boys in cross country and track.

My college life began in Iowa. If someone wants to jog in Iowa winters, they lengthen shoes so long they called it cross-country skiing. Meh. So, I was surprised to land on an intermural basketball team. Yay.

I was faster than everyone else. Every play, I dribbled past the first dude, weaved through the next two, spun around the tall defender, leapt high for a layup, and missed.

The coach, Donahue (name changed to protect Larry), was verbose and gentle. “Idiot. Don’t shoot,” he kindly explained. “Pass. Or I’ll stuff you in a snowbank.” He removed his fingers from around my neck.

I dribbled the ball past people, then threw it to someone else with the same shirt color who, while slower, knew how to get the round, bouncy thing through iron hoop that held a useless net thing. Yay. Points.

The Writer’s Life

When I received my first edits and rejections, many were as kind as Larry, and I felt some resentment. But I recalled lessons from Larry, er, Donahue. There are holes in my game. Like shooting. And as much as I think I’m the next Shakespeare, they helped me see problems in my writing. Like someone cried in every scene. Or people were forever brushing up against something. Or that I numbered the chapters all wrong.

I relied on feedback from contests. And then colleagues. Editors. Agents. And then finally teamed up with a traditional publisher who, I discovered, like team players. So, I was a team player. And still am. We can win if we work together.

Listen to those in the industry. They want to win as much as you. And I want you to win, too. Build and rely on a team, and you’ll find your work stronger than ever before.

Writing is teamwork. Anyone else who says differently is still trying to get published. #writerslife #seriouslywrite @peterleavell

How do I strengthen my writing? Create a team! Read more at— #writerslife #seriouslywrite @peterleavell

Teamwork and the Writer. Listen to those in the Industry. They want to win as much as you do. #writerslife #seriouslywrite @peterleavell

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and currently enrolled in the University's English Lit Graduate program, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. A novelist, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at