Friday, November 26, 2010

The art of Losing.

Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile know that I fight. Yep, as in boxing. Yep, in a real ring with a real girl who throws real punches. (oh, don't I know it)
And here's the thing. Boxing is a lot more like writing than you would expect.
To win a fight you have to want it. You have to train hard and be hard and box harder. And when the other girl is up in your face and you are deep into the third quarter and long past the ability to suck in a decent amount of air you have to remind yourself how much you want it. And when it's all over you have to hope that was enough.
And sometimes... sometimes it isn't.
Tonight it wasn't.

I lost my boxing match tonight by one point.
One. Point.
Got any idea how many times I have been over the fight in my head and saw all the places I could have picked up one measly point? I'll tell you. Too many times.

And writers, it's the same thing with books. You gotta want it and train hard and writer harder. And when the hours are long and lonely and the book up in your face demanding things of you you aren't sure you can deliver, you have to remind yourself how much you want it. And when it's all over you have to hope that was enough.
And sometimes... a lot of times. It won't be.

What do you tell yourself then?
What is your internal dialogue like when the thing you want you can't have and you really have no one but you to blame?
There is an art to losing writers. An art to not getting what you want.
In boxing there is an art to getting back into training the week following a losing fight. There is an art to saying, "I did what I could and it was not enough." And then going after what you want again.

In writing there is an art to writing another book following the one no agent wanted. Or re-writing the query letter and manuscript after enough rejections to wall paper you house.

That people, is what separates the true fighters out there. And as writers we fight too. We fight everyday for what we want and who we want to be. In fact no matter who you are or what you want, life is far more about art of losing than it is winning. Because most of us will spend more time losing than winning. It's what you do after you gave everything and failed that really determines what you are made of. That, I think, is the art of losing.

For now, though, I'm off to bed. Cause I kinda hurt. In my head and in my heart. (Some of my ribs don't feel to great either) Tomorrow I'll have a little chat with Me. Me needs to hear that she fought a good fight and lost. I'm proud of her. And she needs to hear that next week she will be back training. Yes body. I did say next week.

Night all.
Especially if you too are learning the art of losing.


  1. WooT! I love this post! I'm sorry you lost but there will be fights you win!!! Keep on, girl. :-)

  2. Sorry you lost, Tabitha. Thanks for this lovely post. Everything you wrote is true. :)Thanks for reminding us to keep fighting as writers. :)

  3. Sounds to me like you won anyway. With that attitude, you will never truly lose and I sincerely thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    My whole life has been about fighting in some way. Now, I feel better about it and I'm inspired by your words.

    Get some rest and feel better. And thanks!

  4. You are mad! You need to soak in a hot bath full of soothing bubbles! Never mind about getting back in the 'saddle' again......stay there!

    I am liking these words though; muchly. Sometimes, I think it is the only way to grow.

  5. I'm sorry you lost by one point. But on the upside, you channeled it into a powerful post. You're like Rocky Balboa in more ways than one! And you're way tougher than me.

    When we write, we're knocked down over and over, but we have to keep getting up.

  6. In my mind, you won simply by getting into the ring in the first place...but yes, what you do after a "loss" says it all.

  7. Wow! I think you are a winner for every fighting at all! I'm sorry you lost, though. And I love the analogy. The problem for me is the exercise and in writing. It's hard to make myself just do it sometimes.

    Great post!

  8. ''Tomorrow I'll have a little chat with Me. Me needs to hear that she fought a good fight and lost. I'm proud of her''.

    nice strategy

  9. YOu are so right, Tab -- boxing and writing are very similar. Who would have thought. I'm in NYC right now - there is something happening here that will require me to fight like i never have before. Thanks for this post.

  10. Sorry you lost your fight, but you have much more by the expereience, with any loss you gain much more, that's what I have found in life,

    Take care.

  11. You didn't lose.
    You won.
    Because you Colossians 3:23-ed.

    You persevered. Check THAT one out in the Concordances.

    I'm posting about this in two Mondays.
    In the meantime, you go.
    I am pulling for you.

  12. I'm just amazed that you wrote this before you went to bed! I definitely can relate to your analogy--thanks for sharing!

  13. Thank everyone for your comments. I am learning to lose with grace :)

  14. My husband once gave out a consolation award in a golf tournament. On the envelope he wrote "Congratulations! Farthest From First." Something about the word "lost" or "last" that has no measure except as place holder. It omits all the heart, the effort, the tenacity, the sheer WORK! I just don't believe in "lost"

  15. Losing would be to not box - or not write.

    Thanks for your post.

  16. I seriously heart this post. Well, I heart any post that promotes fighting long past the time you thought you should have given up. Me and St. Jude are tight.

    You, good lady? Are awesome. Keep on kickin' ass.

  17. Right on, lady. Seriously awesome post! Thank you.

  18. Hi Tabitha -
    I've had some amazing boxing champions in my life and I've learned alot from them. Keep on swinging...knowing what you already know makes you a champ.

  19. Wow Tabita! Your boxing pains sound like my Fibromyalgia! Sometimes i do feel like a loser when i go down for the count, but then i remind myself that not too long ago i had days my feet were so swollen i could not put my shoes on. It would have been easy to give up..but that's not my nature and i Thank God it's not Yours either. Listen; while you're fighting the "Good fight"; Pudgilistically & 'Literarily'(is that a word?);think of me fighting right along side you, dressed to the shoes...k.o? ;)

  20. A beautiful analogy Tabitha and an honest one. And if we take the pain from the loss, turn it to energy, we long to fight another day.

    Sorry about the one point, next time just kick butt and take names :D
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  21. How did I not know you did that. I think you're a winner just by stepping into the ring, although it does suck to lose by one point. Like Jules said, kick butt next time.

  22. Going back into the ring to face the next challenge takes courage. And courage is winning no matter how many points gained on my score card. Way to go T!

  23. I'm so sorry you lost but everytime I think of losing I remember that Aerosmith song "Dream On":
    you got to lose to know how to win

    Sometimes losing is winning when its looked at like you did here. Writing, boxing, anything we do if we never learn from the loss of a battle how could we ever win the war?

    Okay that's quite enough analogy for one comment lol. Thanks for this, I'm at a place in my novel's first draft right now that makes me want to give up but I won't!

  24. All the great athletes talk in some way about all the losses it takes to get to the big wins. You've expressed that principle so much better than they did. I wish you a speedy recovery, and a quick back-on-your-feet. Your words are particularly timely for me right now. Thank you.

  25. This reminds me of that quote by wise George Orwell *The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.*

    It tells me it's better not to start it at all- and if you did lose but got something out of it, maybe it was worth the fight...

  26. Yikes, boxing. I'd be the girl going "stop hitting me!" LOL. You have my full admiration just for stepping into the ring.

  27. I see such determination in your post. The ability to want to win and start again. Encouragement regardless. Thank you for sharing TB.