The boxing analogy

boxing_2_lgLet me tell you a bit about this sport called boxing. It’s tough and rough, no doubt about it. But the most difficult and painful parts are not the ones you see on TV. No, the fights themselves are just the parts that people get to see. The real fighting, the struggle, take place off-screen. The time spent practicing, hours and hours of physical training, shadow boxing, sparring. That’s the tough part. A few minutes in a ring with another fighter don’t even come close to what happens during a training.

Do you see a resemblance with writing?

I believe you do. You write and write, and edit, and rewrite, and then you present your story to the world. They read it and tell you what they think. Some might envy you for your talent, but the truth is that it makes you smile bitterly, because they don’t know how much you’ve struggled, how many times you rewrote that sentence to make it perfect.

The most difficult parts of writing take place far away from the reader. In a way, the most difficult parts of writing take place far away from anyone. They take place inside your soul, as you rummage for plots and characters.

What I find funny is that a lot of writers are afraid to share their works with the world. They’re afraid of rejection, of criticism, they’re afraid the world is going to tell them they’re not good enough.

But they never consider the fact that they’ve worked so hard that it doesn’t even matter what the world thinks. Simply put, the world can’t defeat them anymore.

I know it’s a cheesy line, but think of it this way: you spend a lot of time alone, doing your thing, deleting tens of thousands of words, rewriting the ones that survive countless times. Don’t you think the world deserves to read them? Let them judge, let them rate them, let them love or hate them, but don’t be afraid of the world.

It’s like stepping into the ring. Yeah, you might get shouted and booed by a lot of strangers, but they can’t hurt you any more than that.

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21 comments on “The boxing analogy

  1. jasminelena says:

    As I am actually boxing and writing myself, I have found this parallel too and yours is a nice post on fear of criticism and the world, basically. So thanks!

  2. Quite right. Having been a writing professor who used to moonlight as a pro wrestler, I can tell you the sense of aloneness when training or composing is similar…

  3. Peter William Carrillo says:

    Having been both a wrestler and a writer in my lifetime, I can only say that the analogy is actually pretty accurate.

  4. colin says:

    I think the way you share with us the experience is incredible. And in the end the boxer doesn’t really know what the outcome may be and the same applies to writer cause you. Excellent!

  5. The world doesn’t deserve to read them-unless the words are meant for the world-but if it is the writer’s desire to be read, then absolutely the fear of rejection is worth dissemination.

  6. “The real fighting, the struggle, take place off-screen” – indeed

  7. You have hit the nail on the head! I need to be reminded of this – I struggle to often share what I write.
    But you are right – what is the worst that can happen if someone doesn’t agree with what I say?

    Thanks :)

  8. Awesome inspiration; thank you so much for those words. I think we, as writers, forever seek the vulnerability in our work. As such, we condition ourselves to see only the weakness in the words, and assume others will do the same. We forget that, while we are critical, others are more prone to being appreciative.

  9. TEichstedt says:

    I love the analogy. Great reminder for myself to stop being so scared to show my love for words with my art of stringing them together to make a beautiful picture. Thank you! :)

  10. Lovely analogy and description of the writer’s dilemma, but at the end, it is the word that wins against the world and the writer is only a messenger to deliver a story which will either resonate, get rejected or embraced. In any way, the writer as you so eloquently mentioned, is a fighter, an artist, a scientist, a psychologist, a creator, a mastermind, but above all he is a winner, no matter what the outcome.
    Thank you Christian for yet another beautiful post.
    Nadine
    http://www.soulofagypsy.me

  11. boxing is my next carrer

  12. honimansi says:

    Fantastic piece of advice. I am so afraid that people won’t accept it that I don’t dare myself to write more and express more of myself. Thanks for this post. :)

  13. This is amazing! Really loved this, and it’s so true. I’m going to be braver with showing people my writing now :)

  14. I am not a writer. I try to write and it is very difficult for me. I have tried boxing. Not kick boxing but boxing. And it is very aerobic and hard. I am an artist. And you said something that you called cheesy but to me, it was so profound. About how we work so hard, that afterwards, no one can defeat or make us feel bad. Something like that. I will scroll up and write it down. Being competitive was what I learned in art school and having a “tough shell” comes naturally to me. I never knew that it was because of the fight “behind the camera” that made me strong. Good post!

  15. I’m not a professional writer. The most I’ve done with my writing, publicly speaking, is having a short story published thanks to winning third place at a local contest.

    But I write, I write a lot -and I don’t mean my business posts, but fiction-. I do it in Spanish, though. I know exactly what you mean. Many times when I’m writing, I feel like I’m going to throw up from all the emotions that move inside me. From all the doubts and self-criticism that arise… as well as the fear to share it with the world. It’s tough, but it’s cathartic as well and, therefore, healing in so many ways.

    Thanks, Cristian. Great analogy :)

  16. Ang ganda naman, Cristian. To translate that from Tagalog to English, “That was beautiful, Cristian.”

  17. This really fit my sport Arnis. Every training is painful and bloody but the worth of winning and achieving your goal as a fighter satisfies your hunger to win and also as writer when you satisfies the mind of a reader.

  18. This resonates so much with me. Away from readers, a writer is a soldier, a solitary soldier.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post.

  19. Good. But I have a question. Dunno if you wrote previously somewhere but this entry just reminded me: do you copyright your work before showing it to people? I mean, right in the process before edition and publication, when you are making it public for criticism. Thank you and keep up the melancholic-never-giving-up spirit. We are too alike.

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