Writing and the Creative Life: “The hard is what makes it great”

Wisdom about writing and creativity from the movie ‘A League of Their Own’.

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Jimmy Dugan: Taking a little day trip?
Dottie Hinson: No, Bob and I are driving home. To Oregon.
Jimmy Dugan: [long pause] You know, I really thought you were a ballplayer.
Dottie Hinson: Well, you were wrong.
Jimmy Dugan: Was I?
Dottie Hinson: Yeah. It is only a game, Jimmy. It’s only a game, and, and, I don’t need this. I have Bob; I don’t need this. At all.
Jimmy Dugan: I, I gave away five years at the end my career to drink. Five years. And now there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give to get back any one day of it.
Dottie Hinson: Well, we’re different.
Jimmy Dugan: Shit, Dottie, if you want to go back to Oregon and make a hundred babies, great, I’m in no position to tell anyone how to live. But sneaking out like this, quitting, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. Baseball is what gets inside you. It’s what lights you up, you can’t deny that.
Dottie Hinson: It just got too hard.
Jimmy Dugan: It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.

Of course you recognize that from the movie A League of Their Own, written by Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel. Wait, let’s go through that again, only the movie version this time because it’s a message worth driving home:

I’m prone to say to people who whine about the amount of competition there is for screenwriters, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” Now I know where I cribbed that quote. At least I steal from the best!

It’s a fact: What we do is hard. Almost everything about writing. From coming up with a great story idea to the months it takes to write a story to rewriting it to selling it, along with all the psychological stressors we experience every step along the way.

But think about this.

You know how in most movies, a Protagonist has to go to hell and back in order to achieve their goal? That’s pretty much what writing is about, too. And the fact that the harder it is for a Protagonist to achieve their goal, the better the eventual payoff, the same thing is probably true about writing as well. And frankly, the harder the process is, sometimes that’s when we are at our very best creatively.

So your writing mantra for the day:

The hard is what makes it great.

And to accompany this bit of intellectual wisdom, here’s a special dose of creative juju to give you a boost for your writing:

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Now go write a damn good story!!!

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