Today I welcome Luke Murphy, retired hockey player turned published author. I wanted to know what the difference was between hockey and writing and his answer was a bit surprising.
As a child, I never dreamed of writing a best-seller, never aspired to write the next classic novel, I wanted to be an NHL superstar…period.
With the death of my mother in 1992, losing a battle to cancer, I sensed it was time to get serious about reaching my dreams, and moved away to pursue hockey.
From 1992-1995 I noticed a shift in the game of hockey and realized that the odds of making it to the NHL were unfavorable for a kid who stood 5’9’’ and weighed 160 pounds. So, my goals shifted. I accepted a hockey scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology.
In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged. From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books.
One day, with an idea in mind, I sat down in front of a computer and began writing. I wrote a little every day, around my intense rehabilitation schedule and before I knew it, I had completed my first manuscript.
I didn't write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. I continued to “hobby” write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.
Then I made a decision – I enjoyed writing so much, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further – write a story with the intention of being published.
I've never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I attended writing conferences and made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions and learning what it took to become successful.
Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.
I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel to point where I could create the best possible novel.
I sent out hundreds of query letters to agents. After months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by Ms. Jennifer Lyons of the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.
After months of work with Jennifer, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books.
So, exactly how smooth was my transition from playing hockey to writing books?
Many people might not see a connection between writing and hockey, but there are many similarities in not only your preparation, but “musts” once you’re there.
In both hockey and writing, you need three things: patience, persistence and thick skin.
For both, it takes hard work and practice. There are many critics, and you need to be able to take criticism with a grain of salt. In order to find success, in both you need to be persistent and confident. It’s all about taking a chance, putting yourself out there to be evaluated by your peers. That’s the scariest part.
My one piece of advice for all aspiring hockey players and writers…you’ll get a lot of “no’s” along the way and people trying to bring you down. But remember, it only takes one “yes”.