You know the scripture. Acts 26:28. “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
King Agrippa wanted to believe, and he had an open mind toward Paul’s preaching, but he stopped short of that final step. Almost wasn’t good enough in the end.
I know it’s a big jump, but let’s talk about horseshoes, hand grenades, and our writing.
You know the old saying, “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”
Horseshoes is a game where you throw horseshoes at a post and whoever hooks the post or gets the closest wins. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if I get the hand grenade close enough to my target, it’ll do the job.
I read one comment that sums this up pretty accurately, “I almost won the lottery! I was only off by one number.” lol
So, what does it mean to be “this close” to some of your publishing dreams?
Let’s throw out some oft-heard comments…
~ I was this close to entering that contest.
~ I'm this close to finishing my manuscript.
~ I was this close to winning the The Genesis, The Golden Heart, The Rita, The Carol (take your pick).
~ I'm this close to landing an agent.
~ I'm this close to publication.
~ I'm this close to another contract.
~ I’m this close to landing on the NYT Bestseller list.
You can be “this close” for a long, long time in this business.
So what can you do to tip the odds in your favor? Hmmm, let’s take another look at horseshoes and hand grenades.Take a gander at TheBest Horseshoe Pitcher Ever. But come right back. We’ll be waiting…
This video was posted in 2010, and it says, “Alan Francis has won the horseshoe pitching world championship the past seven years.”
Seven years? Wow!
Did you see the still shots in the video? Pictures of Alan as a kid, and as a teen throwing horseshoes in competition? Intense concentration. The right attire. The right form. He even has his own horseshoe pit in his backyard. And practice, practice, practice. Even though close would be good enough, he’s not taking any chances, and it looks like most of his throws are dead ringers!
I didn’t find a Hand Grenade Champion. Go figure.
But I did find specific throwing instructions for hand grenades. Obviously, soldiers are trained to throw grenades to maximize the destruction of the target while keeping themselves and their buddies safe. I’ve never thrown a hand grenade. I’ve never been trained. I would probably panic and blow myself (or someone else!) up.
It stands to reason that the more someone practices throwing a grenade, the more control they’ll have over their throw, and the closer they’ll get to the target every time. Sure, close works for a hand grenade, but dead on target (pun intended) is even better.
We’re all holding our thumb and forefinger about an inch apart and saying, “I’m this close” to something.
Whether it be finishing a manuscript, entering that contest, or waiting for the phone to ring with the news of a contract.
Or does it?
Keep holding your fingers close together.
Because that gap between your thumb and forefinger could close with the click of an email, or the ringing of the phone.
And then you will be THERE.