Dancing Like Ray Lewis

Near my writing station, I keep a photo of Ray Lewis, the former NFL linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am absolutely crazy for football. I live and breathe the stuff during football season: high school, college, pro – it don’t make no never-mind to me, folks. I love it all.

But that’s not why I keep the photo of Lewis in my line of vision when I sit down to write – nor is it because the Ravens, my old hometown team, were last year’s Super Bowl Champs. (Sorry, just had to work that in…)

Nope, I keep it for one reason only: Ray Lewis dances.

image

Exuberantly, joyfully, free of inhibition, he dances.

At each home game when his name is announced over the stadium’s loudspeakers, the music suddenly changes tempo. The home crowd braces in eager anticipation. And then! There he is – Number 52, clad in purple, emerging from the Raven’s ‘tunnel’ and dancing his way onto the football field. The fans go crazy. It is a moment of communication and exaltation: let the game begin!

Lewis has since retired.

But what a sight he was to behold. His dance was his own creation and, until he retired, it was a staple at home games. It communicated his passion for the game, his delight in it, the anticipation of the ‘battle’ about to be fought – and his assurance in the victory to come. Lewis was the poster boy of self-assurance, displaying no worry as to how his dance would be perceived or whether its strutting nature could hold up to his performance on the field. No – he just danced. He went for it.

Dance like a Raven, baby! Let yourself go, and dance, dance, dance!

What does this have to do with writing? Or my insistence in keeping Lewis’ photo near my work station?

Attitude.

That’s what it’s all about.

When I look at Lewis’ photo, I am caught up in his joy, his passion, his determination. And when I look at my darkened monitor, I think about this: sometimes, you just have to do your dance.

You have to allow the spirit within you to completely take you over. Put simply, you gotta go for the gusto and not be overly concerned what others might think, or whether they are dancing along with you.

I worry too much about my writing, and sometimes I allow my personal inhibitions and insecurities about whether I’m ‘good enough’ to paralyze me. I spend too much time wondering if my paragraphs are structurally sound; if my characters are too-over-the-top or (worse) too boring; I agonize over whether I can communicate to my readers the passion I feel. Will they get a glimpse of what I see? Will they care? Understand?

As a consequence, I end up frittering away valuable time in exploring the web or on emails because it is a diversion from the fear of failure – and I don’t get nearly enough productive work done.

Focus, baby! Sometimes, you just have to do your dance.

Cast away the fears that threaten creativity. Clothe yourself in self-confidence. And hope your readers join you in your ‘dance’.

I want to do what Lewis did all those years in Baltimore before he retired: I want to dance! I want my thoughts to fly without restraint from my brain to the monitor facing me. I want to infuse my fiction with passion. I want to communicate!

It’s my dance. I want to dance across the pages of the books people read. I want my readers to be as caught up by what I’m feeling as I am. I want to strut my stuff – and I want my readers to join me in the celebration.

I want to write. I want to dance.

Yeah.

image

Dance like a Raven, baby!

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
This entry was posted in Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Dancing Like Ray Lewis

  1. orthodoxmom3 says:

    I’m not a football fan but I loved this post! What a great idea to have a photo like that of someone you admire so much by your desk to help with motivation and determination! Hmmmm…. I don’t think a photo of Ray Lewis will do it for me….but….. I think coming up with someone else whom I admire may just be a really good idea! I’ll have to think on that…

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi orthodoxmom3, thanks for the comment. I’m sure you’ll find the photo or, perhaps, quotation that works for you. I find having a reminder nearby sometimes just gives me that little kick I need to “get on with it.” 🙂

  2. Nice to meet you Kate. Your words speak to my soul. About toughening up, determination, finding your own voice, making yourself vulnerable by showing your work and fear of not being good enough. Despite all that, writing means more to me than asking the world to like my work, and that is something new for me. Great post 🙂

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi Susan, thanks for following my blog.

      Glad this post was meaningful to you. I liked your next to last sentence – that writing means more to you than asking the world to like your work. I feel the same – and that’s why Lewis’ dance sort of ‘danced’ into my head with regard to writing joyfully and with abandon.

      By the way, I was looking at your blog earlier – very nice!

  3. T. D. Davis says:

    I miss Ray. Hope the team makes it to the playoffs this year. Hope you make it too.

  4. jamborobyn says:

    I can totally relate to what you have written here, not that I know anything about football. I love to dance, I love to write, although I am still learning. Thanks so much for the follow.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Thank you for your comment – and your follow, too! I think we all try to dance in one manner or another… either through physical movement, song, writing, painting, mothering, whatever. It’s about unleashing the joyful, uninhibited, positive parts of our nature in a life-affirming way. 🙂

  5. librarylady says:

    I have to agree with heatherbcosta. After “Beam Me Up Scottie,” I went to some trouble to track you down so I could read some of your past stuff. I like the idea of writing / dancing.

  6. Based on your wonderful and insightful blog posts, I have to say that I rather like the way you dance 🙂

  7. Kate Loveton says:

    Great story, Nina… that little dragon is a touchstone for you! While the original met its demise in a lawnmower incident, it is nice the memory still holds.

  8. Nina Kaytel says:

    Don’t hate me, but I know little about football, save the kicky thing after a touch down, but I too have something similar. A white dragon TY benie baby (I recently re-bought it.) But as a child this was the toy I carried around, played with, learned to sew so I could fix it. When I started writing (at 10) this toy ended up acting out scenes I wrote. Now, as an adult it is a beacon of inspiration and a reminder of freedom to do and say and imagine everything in the creative world. Sadly, the original toy met its tragic end at the blades of a lawnmower.

  9. Yeah baby, another football fan! WHOO HOO! I loved watching Sugar Ray dance and it brought a huge smile on my face (I miss him and the Ravens do too)! You gotta dance to free yourself from the constraints of grammar 101, Kate. Let your inner Raven do its thing and then rest will come naturally. As a writer, there are far too many things that can distract us. Don’t worry and just let go. Your true writing voice won’t speak until you release the chains of S&W. That comes later when you are editing! 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s