Work Smarter

20 Jun

Some of you may know that I love the game of baseball.  It has a sentimental value for me because it was the game my father taught me, a game he and I spent many hours playing together.  Some of my earliest memories are of me at four and five years of age, waiting for dad to come home from work, so we could play ball across the street from our home on an empty lot.  He would hit ground balls to me, and fly balls, and he would patiently teach me how to properly field them all.

As I got older he worked with me on pitching, how to properly release the ball, how to throw a curveball, and a knuckleball, and eventually I became good enough to pitch on my high school team, and then for the college team until my shoulder was injured my junior year and I had to stop playing.

I remember one game in particular, back when I was about thirteen.  I could throw pretty hard for a thirteen year old, and most teams I could handle simply by throwing the ball past the opposing batters.  They simply could not catch up with my fastball.

Until one day in July we played the second place team, a team with a lot of talented batters, and it took them about two innings to zero in on my fastball, to get their timing fixed on it, and suddenly every pitch I threw was being hammered for a hit.  One run, two runs, three runs . . . finally I got out of that inning after giving up four runs, and I was one frustrated baseball player when I got to the dugout to sit down and rest.  It seemed the harder I threw, the harder the other team hit the ball . . . really just a matter of physics, but I was in no mood to discuss physics when that inning ended.

I was getting a drink of water when my dad met me at the water cooler.  He asked me, with that grin on his face I remember so well, how my day was progressing.  I was almost in tears when I told him that no matter how hard I threw, the other team was just killing my fastball, and I didn’t know what to do.  Dad said just two words to me and then walked back to the stands and sat down next to my mother.  He said “throw smarter!”  I knew exactly what he meant.  If they were hitting my fastball then I needed to throw smarter and start throwing my curveball and knuckleball.

We won that game 5-4 and I didn’t give up a hit the last five innings, and a valuable lesson had been learned.

It is that lesson I pass on to you today.  Work smarter!  Make a priority list.  Realize that you may not be able to do everything you want to do as a writer.  Hell, you may have to drop some of your goals, and concentrate on the big goals, or you may have to seek help to fix a problem you can’t seem to fix . . . work smarter!

I hope you all have a fantastic week of writing . . . and living!  Remember how gifted you are.  Remember that probably one percent of the population can do what you do as well as you do it…one percent!

You are extraordinary!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

42 Responses to “Work Smarter”

  1. Janine Huldie June 20, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    Aw, loved that story more than you even know. What a great memory of your dad. And I do agree with sage advice and how you also applied it to writing. I have in recent years done more of this myself, because sometimes we just can’t do it and still be productive. Therefore, the smarter thing to do is concentrate on the bigger goals at hand. Truly well said and thanks for the walk down memory lane, too. Happy Tuesday once again!! 🙂

    • Billybuc June 20, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

      Thank you Janine! I find myself falling into that trap from time to time, trying to do too much, and by doing that everything suffers from lack of attention….glad you enjoyed the baseball story.

  2. ericdierker June 20, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

    Bill I never learned a thing about society if it was not on a field of play. Strategic commodities trader, Trial Lawyer, Global Internet Strategist are all just offshoots. My day as player and my day of the coach taught me far more. And that doctorate serves me nil compared to playing ball with dad or child.
    “the field of play” along with love teaches us the best in all of man. And as my elder son tells me the very best is that field where dad is present!

    • Billybuc June 20, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

      Your elder son knows of which he speaks, Eric. You raised a wise boy, my friend.

  3. Nellieanna June 20, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

    An inspiring account, Bill, with a valuable lesson.

    • Billybuc June 20, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

      Thank you very much, Nellieanna! I appreciate you.

  4. froggy213 June 20, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

    More great advice… Thanks Bill!

    I am in the process of another book while also freelancing like crazy.

    Guess I just have to work smarter… LOL

    • Billybuc June 20, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

      You and me both, Greg! You are not alone, my friend.

      Thanks buddy!

  5. Linda Lum June 20, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

    Oh Bill, what a sweet memory of your dad. Work smarter, and let’s hope that you can find some enjoyment in what you are doing. He taught you some valuable lessons that you are now sharing with us. I hope I get to meet your dad some day. I’m pretty sure I know where he is.

    • Billybuc June 20, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

      Linda, I’ll tell him to make sure and introduce himself when that day comes. Thank you for the kind words. It’s a great day to be alive, my friend.

  6. Mike June 20, 2017 at 5:22 pm #

    Hello Bill – Great story. Thanks for sharing such a nice memory.

    • Billybuc June 20, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

      Thank you very much, Mike! You would have liked my dad.

  7. Sageleaf June 20, 2017 at 10:14 pm #

    That’s great advice, Big Bro. I have often thought this: work smarter is about efficiency and creating systems. Now…to get more efficient and create systems. Haha.
    You’re a great storyteller, Big Bro. You got a talent for it. Good thing you’re a writer. 😀

    • Billybuc June 22, 2017 at 1:46 am #

      Thanks a bunch, Lil Sis, and thank you for sharing it….hoping your summer is the best ever, and those decisions are easy to come by….hugs from Olympia

  8. Michael Milec June 20, 2017 at 10:28 pm #

    Memorable words “throw smarter” as if dynamo continue energizing intuition where the children respect their parents. I see you implementing them my friend. I remember my father only once asked “could you do it better” – the answer is still going on … (I do ‘try’ my best)

    • Billybuc June 22, 2017 at 1:47 am #

      I love that question, Michael my friend…could you do it better….and of course, in my opinion, I could always do it better. 🙂

  9. rollyachabotbooks June 21, 2017 at 3:15 am #

    Hi “Twister” Bill…
    Two of the best words your dad could have told you that day. Good for him and for you for listening. A great application saying for writing as well…

    Hugs from Alberta

    • Billybuc June 22, 2017 at 1:47 am #

      Thanks Rolly! So much wisdom in two simple words, and as long as I remember them I’m in good shape as a writer…..hugs from Oly

  10. June 21, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    Indeed, we all are extraordinary indeed!! Great lesson!

    • Billybuc June 22, 2017 at 1:48 am #

      Indeed we are, my friend. Peace,Manatita!

  11. Sarah Potter Writes June 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    After reading that, Bill, I think I’m going to contemplate on the literary equivalent of the curved ball and knuckle ball throws, and get to it! Your dad sounded like such a wise owl, and his son has taken after him 🙂

    • Billybuc June 22, 2017 at 1:48 am #

      Thank you Sarah! I’m never quite ready to call myself wise, but I do appreciate you doing so.

      • Sarah Potter Writes June 22, 2017 at 11:23 am #

        Dear Bill, your modesty is one of the things that makes you so endearing 🙂 Best to leave others to say complimentary things. People who keep blowing their own trumpet are such a pain,

      • Billybuc June 22, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

        I most definitely agree with your last sentence, Sarah. They bore me intensely.

  12. MartieCoetser June 22, 2017 at 9:15 pm #

    William, I wish I could see your priority list. You are most certainly the most prolific writer I have ever met. It seems to me that doing everything smarter is your personal rule, and you most certainly achieve success as far as you go. My hat off to you and you father! He installed the qualities of a winner in you.

    • Billybuc June 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

      Thank you Martie, and thank you for signing up to follow my blog. Much-appreciated, my friend.

  13. phoenix2327 June 23, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    How serendipitous this post is.

    I’ve just returned from a week-long holiday in Wales. Upon arriving at our accommodations, my husband explained we wouldn’t be able to access the internet. Noting my look of horror, he reminded me we were here to relax and enjoy ourselves. Resigned to my fate, I did no writing. We had a lovely time and I was surprised how little I missed going online. We visited cultural attractions, walked along the beach, did nature walks. I remembered your post regarding observation and made mental notes of the people we saw, took photos of the places we visited. Imagine how pleased I was to discover the world I had been struggling to write about was right if front of my eyes. I can now refer to those photos whenever I need inspiration.

    A couple of years ago, I tried my hand at writing sci-fi. I struggled with the story and abandoned it. While walking along the beach with my daughter, she showed me some shells she found. As I admired them, I felt an urge to resurrect that story and have another go at finishing it.

    You may be wondering where the ‘work smarter’ comes into play. You learned that you shouldn’t depend on your fastball alone to carry you through a game. I’ve learned that no matter how imaginative I am, I shouldn’t depend on that alone to carry me through a story. Or through life. I need to get out more.

    Thanks again, Bill, for your pearls of wisdom. Have a fabulous weekend. 🙂

    • Billybuc June 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

      Great story from you as well, Zulma. I was imagining that look on your face when you discovered there was no internet. I’ll bet it was priceless. I’m so happy that you found writing value in not writing, but just observing. It’s an amazing world out there if we just take the time to notice it.

      Thank you for sharing that with us, Zulma. Great lesson!

      • phoenix2327 June 24, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

        Your are most welcome, Mr. Bill. 🙂

    • Sharilee Swaity September 8, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

      I love this story, too! I often reminded to get out and live, instead of only writing. 🙂

  14. Andrea Stephenson June 24, 2017 at 6:44 pm #

    I greatly enjoyed this story of sharing with your dad and all the lessons he taught you.

    • Billybuc June 25, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

      Thank you very much, Andrea! He was a good man and he is still with me.

  15. Lawrence Hebb June 26, 2017 at 9:26 am #

    Finally catching up on some things. I like this idea.

    • Billybuc June 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

      Thank you Lawrence! I appreciate it!

  16. Christy B July 4, 2017 at 10:51 pm #

    Thanks Bill for the great reminder! I’m working through a priority list and not getting as far as I hoped so your post is a reminder to be easier on myself and instead focus on a few things – we cannot do it all! Happy 4th ((hugs)) ❤

    • Billybuc July 6, 2017 at 12:36 am #

      No we can’t, Christy, though if you are like me, that’s a hard pill to swallow.

      Thanks so much and hugs back atcha

  17. Shauna L Bowling August 17, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

    Thank God our elders pass on the wisdom they learned through trial and error, huh Bill? Hopefully, we can do the same for the generations that come after us.

    • Billybuc August 17, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

      That is the hope, Sha! I’m still working on it. 🙂 How ya doing? Well I hope.

      • Shauna L Bowling August 17, 2017 at 10:53 pm #

        I’m doing well. I should probably call you; it’s been a while since we spoke.

        I started a new job on July 31st. Kinda scary, since I’m 60 and getting real tired of working, but it is what it is. I’m still doing accounting for a general contractor. I’ve been in construction for over 30 years. But this company is only 4 miles from my house and the benefits are great (company paid health insurance and 90% – 100% company match on 401K). Plus I’m making almost 4 grand more a year than the job I left. Lots going on. Let me know what are good times/days to call you.

  18. Billybuc August 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    Hey Sha… the late afternoon things have settled down around here….four o’clock my time most days. By then I’ve just gotten too tired to continue outside. LOL It would be nice to catch up with you.

  19. Sharilee Swaity September 8, 2017 at 3:53 pm #

    Thanks, Bill. I need this reminder, too. My mind conceives of so many ideas but my body, and my time limits me so much! I so often get that dangerous condition called “shiny object syndrome” and chase after a new writing tool or waste two hours setting up twitter updates when I should be doing my first priority … getting my next book out. Take care. Stay safe.

    • Billybuc September 8, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

      I understand completely, Sharilee, and I doubt seriously if you are the only one who has that condition. We are, after all, only human. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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