"Why do I care?" you might be asking. "What on earth does Shark Week have to do with writing?"
"Plenty," I reply. "Let me count the ways."
Lesson: you never know how many stories you have inside you. Sometimes you think you're gestating one, when it turns out there's a sequel attached.
2. Speaking of gestation, for the frilliest of sharks (aka the Frill shark), gestation can last 3.5 years.
Lesson: for the frilliest of stories (aka complex, detailed and rich), gestation can take a lot longer than we're prepared to carry that story around inside of us, so be patient and allow enough time for the story to fully develop.
3. Basking sharks are the second largest shark, and they use their enormous mouths to gobble up not giant squid, but teeny-tiny plankton.
Lesson: sometimes it's the small things that nourish us -- a smile from a reader, a compliment from a critic, a kind word in a crap-laden rejection letter -- so don't miss those crumbs because you're focused on taking the cake. Or the giant squid.
4. Thresher sharks attack with their tails, not their teeth.
Lesson: attack your manuscript with whatever tools are at your disposal, not just the ones you're expected to use.
5. The Japanese Wobbegong shark is a weak swimmer who gets around by walking along the sea floor on its fins.
Lesson: writers aren't the only weirdos on the planet.
Embrace your weirdness and use it to get where you want to go.
Lesson: reindeer? Really? I guess slow and steady really does win the race.
Lesson: writers can see everything except what's right in front of our faces,
so employ a critique group or partner to help you see what you're missing in your own manuscript, then do the same with theirs in return.
8. Most shark attacks on humans occur in shallow water.
Lesson: don't just dip your toe in--
If you dive in with everything you've got, maybe you won't get eaten alive.
Lesson: develop a thick skin to protect yourself from the biting words of other writers (and editors, agents, and critics),
as well as from writing demons like the Snickerdoodle Demon (yes, that's a real demon! See A COMPENDIUM OF WRITING DEMONS if you don't believe me.)
10. Thanks to ecotourism, today sharks are worth more alive than dead.
Lesson: your stories are worth a lot more when they're out in the world being viewed by others, so get them out there!
Eleven is my lucky number, so here's a
Don't be swallowed by the beast
(or shark, or demon)
of perfectionism -- As my mentor always says, perfect is the enemy of the good. So break free of the grip of perfectionism, make your manuscript good (not perfect) and throw it out into the deep blue. You'll never get any bites if you don't.