Be Ridiculous

I’ve been reading a lot of words of wisdom from soccer stars lately. Weird only because I’ve never seen a full game of soccer in my life. But these superstars and their words really resonate with me, especially those from Abby Wambach, “If they say you’re ridiculous you know you’re on to something.”

This is a variation of something I’ve always said about book publishing. You need to push outside the boundaries of what’s expected if you want to achieve true success.

Be Ridiculous

One of the downsides of critique groups and writing organizations is their propensity to preach some archaic set of rules that I’d never heard of until I talk to authors who have been constrained by them.

When someone tells you your idea is ridiculous, or even writing a book at all is ridiculous, you know you’re on to something. Being ridiculous is what separates the good from the truly great.

It’s also what pushes people to do things they’ve never done before. If you can face the ridiculous critics (see what I did there) you can face the real critics.

Don’t be afraid to be ridiculous. Write that story the way you think it’s meant to be written. If it feels ridiculous to you then maybe it’s not working, but don’t let someone else decide what is.

Imagine if someone told me that the idea of BookEnds was ridiculous. Oh wait, someone did. Being ridiculous sure feels good.

And if you haven’t yet read Wolfpack by Abby Wambach or One Life by Megan Rapinoe I strongly recommend them. Even if you don’t consider yourself a soccer fan.

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2 comments

  1. That truly IS wisdom! And I agree with it. I have always had the greatest respect for the way you started your own agency and made it work.

    OTOH conventional wisdom states that if an author expects to find an agent / be traditionally published, they need to be careful to write only what big publishing companies are certain will sell (or else be prepared to become a marketing mogul in addition to writing, because the only option for someone who doesn’t fit inside a conventional box is to self-publish.) How do you believe an author might balance these two concepts? That’s something I’d love to see you and James address in a video!

  2. Soccer … NOPE. Ridiculous!
    When my first two sons were of age, their mother signed them up for soccer in a community league. Then I got dragged into coaching … SOCCER.
    I never played soccer growing up, even in a neighborhood game. We played baseball and football and in the winter scraped the grass and dirt off the ice over a very shallow neighborhood pond (in Buffalo, NY) and tried to play hockey.
    Hockey became my game as it did for my two older sons (now in their 40’s with kids of their own) when they tired of soccer.
    Now my go to game is writing… After 40 years as a consulting engineer, I began writing about 10 years ago …Ridiculous!
    I’ve written eight books, seven published (independently) and one bouncing between my editor and me. I’ve also written six short stories … (5 published and 1 submitted for inclusion in an anthology)
    So, now I’m in search of an agent … I met Jessica Faust at the Toronto Bouchercon a few years ago. Thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and thought I’d reach out … see if she remembers me and might consider my bucket of work … Ridiculous.
    So, there you are ….
    I sit at home (Fully retired) and write. I’d enjoy a message one way or the other even if its “RIDICULOUS”

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