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Thursday, February 8, 2018

How Writers Can Be Warriors



23 Tips Writers Can Pick Up From the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors
        by Mike Larsen, Author, Author Coach



The Golden State Warriors are a phenomenon worth celebrating. In June, they won their second championship in three years. They also have the league’s best regular-season record for those years. They are a young team, better than last year, with years of success ahead of them. The Warriors transform a job into joy, making them a joy to watch.
The Warriors are the best sports team ever, not because of their achievements, but because of what they are. What makes them unique is not their victories but their vision, ability, and character as individuals and a team. More stars changed teams this summer than ever to compete with them. By setting an example that is transforming basketball into the best game it can be, the Warriors are reshaping the game.
At away games, fans sometimes cheer louder for the Warriors than the home team. But the Warriors are also America’s team. The game is going global. Many teams have players from other countries. The starting center, Zaza Pachulia, is from the Republic of Georgia. Back-up forward Omri Casspi is from Israel. The team’s trip to China showed that the Warriors are our best ambassadors.
            Here are twenty-three ways for you become a peaceful writing warrior. Please feel free to read them in any order or just read the advice in boldface.

1. Stephen Curry
2. Steve Kerr
3. Heartwork
4. A Sense of Mission
5. Practice
6. Teamwork
7. Sacrifice
8. The Second Team
9. Creativity
10. Communication
11. Relationships
12. Knowledge
13. Pride
14. High Fives
15. Fans
16. Confidence
17. Toughness
18. The Third Team
19. Accepting Uncertainty
20. Marketing
21. Taking the Long View
22. Community Involvement
23. Commitment
Becoming a Peaceful Writing Warrior

1. Stephen Curry
The Warriors are considered unbeatable for the championship. Stephen Curry is the biggest reason why. In the history of professional sports, he’s unique. He’s the captain and the heart of the team. Chosen twice as the League’s most valuable player—once unanimously--he runs the offense.
Curry’s unselfishness, creativity, fearlessness, and his ability to pass, dribble, defend, move without the ball, drive to the hoop, find the open man, and make a dazzling variety of often quick-release, off-balance shots make him riveting to watch. He’s the best three-point shooter in history. Curry embodies humility and confidence. He looks up and points heavenward after making shots. He is handsome, modest, religious, and irresistibly likeable.
Curry’s wife Ayesha, is a cookbook author and a rising star in the foodie world. They have two young girls, one of whom, at the age of two, sat on Curry’s lap during a post-championship press conference, charming fans and the media.
But Curry endured injuries and unsuccessful seasons with the team before luck, unpredictable trades, his developing skills, injuries on other teams, and the Warriors meshing as a team enabled them to win a championship.
In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell describes how Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and the Beatles spent 10,000 hours to master their craft. Curry has spent more than that mastering his. Coach Steve Kerr thinks he’s at his peak. He said Curry’s skills are the ”powerful force that drives the entire organization.”
            You are the Stephen Curry of your team. You’re not the son of a professional basketball player with a accomplished athlete as a mother. You haven’t grown up with the game, devoting your life to it. But you also haven’t suffered the injuries Curry has and the uncertainties that followed them. You haven’t endured failures in front of fans and television audiences. And you haven’t been overlooked by college and pro teams because of your size.
You have your own unique gifts and potential. Continue to develop your gifts and skills as a writer, community builder, and communicator, and you will succeed. Become the best you that you can be.

2. Steve Kerr
The Warriors have a unique, remarkable coach, Steve Kerr, who has suffered much and triumphed greatly. His has five championship rings from playing with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. His fairness, intelligence, perspective, sense of humor, righteous anger, willingness to accept mistakes and ideas from players, and his desire for players to have fun and find joy in their calling makes him universally liked, respected and revered. Players elsewhere would be thrilled to play for him.
With the help of first-rate assistant coaches, Kerr prepares the game plan and decides when to rest players and how best match them up with opposing players.
You need mentors who can coach you on the skills you need to be a writer who  com                                           municates through your work and by serving the communities that help you. But you are the coach who provides the vision, knowledge, and inspiration for your team.

3. Heartwork
The Warriors miss shots. They lose games. But they don’t lose heart. Even when they’re behind, they know they can come back and that during the course of a season, they’ll succeed. What the Warriors do is a labor of love. They love playing, being part of the team, and the perks and adulation victory brings.
            Traveling tens of thousands of miles a year to play eighty-two games, followed by up to twenty-one games in the playoffs is a tough grind. But the players are well rewarded for doing what they love to do.
You, like the Warriors, will fail your way to success. But learning from mistakes makes them victories. Mistakes are essential steppingstones to becoming the best and most successful writer you can be. If writing and communicating are labors of love for you, you are already a winner.
           

4. A Sense of Mission
The Warriors are united by a sense of mission. They know they’re making sports history and are part of a culture they will never experience again. They’re driven to keep proving they’re the best against ever-stronger competition. They take the floor ever game “locked in” to their mission: winning the next championship ring.
            But every game the Warriors face teams with their own mission: beat the champs. Opposing teams bring their best game to the floor, so the1 Warriors must play as well as they can. If they don’t, they risk losing.
            You need to bring your best game to your work. You need a sense of mission about your writing and your career, the feeling that you’re doing what you were born to do, that challenges may slow you down but nothing can stop you.

5. Practice
The Warriors always practice the fundamentals of scoring, defense, and their set plays. It’s an endless, demanding process, but they know it makes them better as players and as a team. The great pianist Wanda Landowska said: “I never practice. I always play.” The Warriors use music, variety, and scrimmages to help make practice play.
            You need the discipline to keep practicing your craft. Workman once published a gardening book and promoted it with a tote bag that said: “The more you garden, the more you grow.” The more you write, the better your work will become.

6. Teamwork
The Warriors’ ability to:
·         Pass without slowing down
·         Keep moving without the ball
·         Play more than one position
·         Know where teammates like to get the ball for a shot
·         Set screens to free other players to drive or shoot
·         Communicate with each other
·         Switch to cover their teammates’ man
make the Warriors the best team in the league in offense. The Warrior have the best shooting trio on one team in the league: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson, whose father was also an NBA pro.
Other teams have two chances took prevent all of them from shooting for forty-eight minutes: slim and none.   The Warriors’ relentless play often catches up to other teams in the third quarter when, even if they’re behind at the beginning of it, enables them to pull away from other teams.
You need to build engaged, win-win communities of people who know, like and trust you. Assembling, coordinating, growing and serving your team is essential to your success.

7. Sacrifice
Players sacrifice:
·         Greater salaries and sometimes more playing time on other teams to stay with the Warriors, because what they have is irreplaceable. All-star forward Kevin Durant, who’s at his peak, gave up 9 million dollars so the team could keep players together.
·         Their egos by passing instead of scoring as many points as possible to inflate their stats and egos. If one player is hot, they keep getting him the ball.
·         Playing time. They trust Steve Kerr’s judgment of how best to use them, knowing that in the course of a long season, he’ll call on when they’re needed.
·         Their personal life. During a season that runs from September to June, players sacrifice time off and time with their families and friends.
            You have to sacrifice time, effort, money, and personal interests. Your literary and publishing goals have to justify your sacrifices.

8. The Second Team
The Warriors have the deepest team in the league. Giving players all the playing time they’d like is an impossible challenge for Kerr to meet. Many players on the second team, which include two extremely smart, experienced former all stars, David West and Andre Igoudala. Even though he comes of the bench, Igoudala was the MVP of the Warriors first championship series, the first time a sixth man has won it.
The second team enables Kerr to rest the starters and if the score allows, take them out of the game early. The second team’s energy sometimes turns a game around. Injuries and Kerr’s precaution of resting player to keep them fresh also gives second-team plays opportunities to get more playing time and prepare them for the playoffs.
            You will need allies you can trust to act on your behalf, as your career develops, professionals you can count to do what you can’t or don’t have the time to do. Build your second team before you need it.

9. Creativity
The Warriors have offensive sets, and players are assigned to defend an opponent. But set plays don’t always work, and players lose the men they’re guarding. Basketball is jazz, theme and variations. When plays don’t go as planned, the Warriors improvise the best alternative. Kerr’s free-flowing offense requires players to keep moving without the ball. Watching the team whip the ball around the court to find an open shooter is a tremendous pleasure that builds excitement.
Kerr encourages players to be creative. This leads to bad passes and plays that go awry, but are fun to watch. The Warriors’ failures are often more exciting than the successful plays of other teams.
You need to be creative about how you approach every aspect of being a writer. Your gift for creativity and innovation is the secret sauce that only you can bring to writing and promoting your books, and setting yourself apart from other writers.

10. Communication
The Warriors communicate extremely well with each other. For example, they can switch defensive assignments instantly, set screens, and create plays.
            You need to communicate through your work and to your communities. The better you communicate, the more successful you’ll be.

11. Relationships
Basketball is the players’ professional lives, and the quality of their lives depends on their relationships with each other and the organization. They spend ten months practicing, playing, eating and traveling. Along with respect and friendship, a sense of humor and practical jokes help sustain their relationships.
            You need to keep creating an ever-growing network of win-win relationships with your fans, publishing pros, and the media.

12. Knowledge
The Warriors are a very smart team. Lifelong students of the game who follow other teams, players use what they learn to prepare and improve. Their knowledge and experience enables them to anticipate what will happen next and how to prepare for and respond to it.
            You need to be a lifelong learner about writing, publishing, promotion, technology, and trends and changes that affect your work. You also need to read as many books as you, especially those like yours, and learn about authors, so you can find models for your books and your career.

13. Pride
The Warriors take great pride in their play and their achievements.
            You want to be proud of your books. Pride comes from doing your best, regardless of outcome.

14. High Fives
The Warriors encourage each other with high fives, even during practice. 
You need and deserve a community of friends, family, fans, champions, and other writers to encourage you and celebrate your victories. As Oprah said: “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

15. Fans
The Warriors always sell out at Oracle Arena, which is so loud, it’s called “Roaracle.” One player said that having 19,000 screaming fans urging you on is like having a sixth player on the floor. When the Warriors received their championship rings this year, Stephen Curry said: “We do it all for you.”
            You will grow your fan base by convincing fans to know, like, and trust you. You do this by continuing to satisfy their endless craving for books, information, entertainment, and a relationship with you. Content is king, so your books will determine your future. But readers also want a connection with authors whose books they love.

16. Confidence
The Warriors have four all stars in their starting five: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. They take the floor confident they can win. The score usually justifies their confidence.
            You need confidence in your ability to write, get your work published, make it successful, and build your career.

17. Toughness
The Warriors are a finesse team that relies on skill. Some teams rely on big men to clog the middle and intimidate opposing players. Thanks in part to the trash-talking “Defensive-Player-of-the-Year” Draymond Green—the driving force of the Warrior defense--the team can play as “physical” as needed. Klay Thompson is the best “two-way” player in the league, because of his skills as a shooter and a defender.
            You have to be tough to meet the continuing challenges you face. They’re more psychological than physical, but they can be intimidating. Becoming successful is not for weak-hearted.

18. The Third Team
The Warriors thrive, in part, because of the respect and friendship of everyone in the organization. The Warriors are three teams: the starting five, the back-up players, and the team behind them that trains, coaches, supports, travels with, and takes care of the players. The Warriors have the best leadership in basketball:
* Bob Myers, twice chosen as the best general manager in the league, genuinely cares about the team and the players. With the help of players, scouts and other executives, Myers is brilliant at finding new players that fit into the team. He hires for character and ability, knowing Kerr and the players will integrate new teammates into their system.
* Owners Joe Lakob and Peter Guber bring an enlightened vision of running a team and provide the means for the team to have what it needs.
* Twenty-two coaches help the players.
You need a support team to help you succeed: mentors and engaged communities of friends and family, readers, writers, fans, authors, publicists, influencers, organizations, reviewers, media people and booksellers as well as backroom functions like bookkeeping and administration.

19. Accepting Uncertainty
The Warriors live with the inevitable uncertainty of injuries. An injury can transform a game, a career, a season or a team in a second.
You can’t control the wind, but you can control your sails. You can’t control outcomes, but you can control the goals that keep you motivated to achieve them. How publishable your manuscript is and what you bring to the challenges of making it sell will determine how it will be published. You live with uncertainties. Accept uncertainty, but control what you can. 

20. Marketing
The Warriors have one of the strongest brands in sports. They spend millions of dollars a year promoting the team and make millions on branded merchandise and broadcasting rights. The bestselling T-shirt in the world has the number 30 on. If you can’t figure out whose name is on it, go back to number one.
            You need to promote yourself and your work. You can reach more readers in more ways and places faster and more easily than ever for free. Be consistent about when and how you communicate to set yourself off from other writers by building your brand.

21. Taking the Long View
The Warriors lose games because of injuries, a letdown after gaining a big lead, or not playing their best. They depend on three-point shots, and if no one is making them, the team can dig itself a hole. But forty-eight minutes is a long time, and they know they can come back.
The Warriors lost the first game of the season last year and this. But for them, losing a game is an incentive. Their next game is a make-up game, and their opponent will face an even more determined adversary. They rarely lose two games in a row, even when they’re playing back-to-back games on the road. 
            You may need to publish five or more books to build an audience for your work. Take the long view in developing your craft and your career.

22. Community Involvement
The Warriors contribute time and money to their community and other worthy causes.
            You need to contribute to causes you’re passionate about. Individuals, like organizations, are judged in part by their willingness to serve. As Theodore Roosevelt advised: “Do what you can with what you have where you are.”

23. Commitment
The Warriors are committed to the team and to becoming the best players they can be.
You need to commit yourself to continue to improve every aspect of your calling. The more joy you bring to your work, the more you will enjoy fulfilling your potential as a writer.

Becoming a Peaceful Writing Warrior
My partner Elizabeth Pomada and I were lucky enough to be the agents for Dan Millman’s autobiographical novel, Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives. But when it was first published in 1980, it failed. Then Dan found a small publisher for it, and it`s been translated into twenty-nine languages, has sold more than a million copies, and is still selling. If your books deliver, they will, with luck and service to your communities, make their way into your readers minds and hearts.

I hope that you find ways to apply this advice to other fields and your personal life, and that your efforts enable you to become a peaceful writing warrior.

By Mike Larsen, Author, Author Coach
www.michaellarsenauthorcoaching.com
Co-director, San Francisco Writers Conference:
A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community
San Francisco Writing for Change Conference:
Writing to Make a Difference
1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109 / 415-673-0939 

Please Attend SF Writers Conference in February 2016:

www.sfwriters.com  



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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource."
            



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