Author Peggy Holloway

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What my friend and basketball coach taught me

Posted by peggyholloway62 on December 2, 2012 at 6:10 PM

What my friend and basketball coach taught me about writing:


For the first time since I started writing, I had become unmotivated. My friend, Kenneth Sanders, had been talking about the psychological aspects of a football game he was watching. I had made the comment, “It seems like when a team gets behind, they sometimes give up.”

He thought for a moment and then said, “Not always. Sometimes they become more determined than ever.” He went on to tell me some of the things he used to tell his basketball team. I didn’t remember most of what he said at the time

It wasn’t until a few days later that I decided to ask him about how he motivated his team and asked him if he thought some of the techniques would help motivate me in my writing.

I got the shock of my life when he told me I needed to take a break from my writing. That was just opposite of what I thought I would hear. I was expecting all kind of things like setting goals etc. That didn’t happen.

After questioning me about the different books I had written, my feelings about those books, and my feelings during the actual process of writing those books, he made a comment that blew my mind.

He said, “It sound to me like somewhere, between the fourth and fifth book, you lost your focus. It’s sound like you were no longer having fun. Your focus became more on your book sales and the money. You told me you decided to write after retiring because it was something fun to do. But you don’t seem to be having fun anymore.

“I’ve been watching you during this whole process and you seem to be putting pressure on yourself. You keep saying, ‘I’ve got to get 1500 words written today.’ Why? Why do you have to get any words written today or tomorrow? You said that your characters wrote your books and you just followed along, but lately it seems like you’re putting pressure on your characters to perform. Let me tell you a story about LeBron James.”

“Who?” I asked.

“He’s a basketball player for Miami,” he said.  This is the story he told.


"LeBron James was a star basketball player with Cleveland until Miami offered him more money. Once he got to Miami, he began to feel a lot of pressure and his game became cumbersome. Miami didn’t win the championship that year. During the off season, he had a “Come to Jesus meeting,” and realized he wasn’t having fun anymore. He took some time off, came back and they won the championship that next year. When asked what had changed, he told reporters that the game became fun again."


My friend, Kenneth said he could tell the difference by watching the expression on LeBron James’ face from that first season to the next. He said that, in the second season, LeBron James played with a smile on his face, but before, he had looked sad and unhappy.

This was a very important lesson for me to learn and, looking back, I can see all the times I have put pressure on myself, and have become less productive. It’s a lesson I hope I never forget.


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