Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Break 'Em All!

You know that old saying if you don't aim at anything, you won't hit anything? (Something like that.) I really understand this as I used to compete in trapshooting. Making analogies between shooting and writing became so easy for me.

Let me tell you just a little about trapshooting. In trapshooting it is tricky because a clay target is thrown out of a traphouse by this machine that only has so many angles, but you never know which way it will come out. You stand on one of five stations, and each time you change stations, the picture changes. There are things like wind, heat (that gun can get hot!) and distance to contend with your shot.

A shooter looks down the sight of her 12-gauge shotgun, and even the recoil can mess with your shot. Especially if it hits you in the face and you begin to "flinch" when you shoot. (Kind of like getting bad reviews or rejections.)You get someone beside you or even behind you saying or doing something annoying, and that can also play with your shot (and play with your mind.)

So many things. You pull the gun in tight, place your face against the stock, and look into an area above your gun. You call for the target, and expect to see it rise up above your gun. Once it comes into your sight ("touching" the end of your gun in the sight) you pull the trigger. If you are behind the target, it's a miss. ("Loss!") If it has gotten out too far before you pull the trigger, you miss. Sometimes you shoot too quick. Sometimes you shoot too slow. (Just like reading the market!)

Over the years everything I do seems to come down to what I learned in shooting. I found I could apply the lessons I learned from my coach, Kay Ohye (an amazing mens' champion) to most of my life. I could hear his voice in my head as I would shoot. ("Don't get too quick! Patience!"--My biggest problem was shooting too fast.) No matter how I shot on one trap, I had hope when I moved to the next station. The point was to move on. Don't dwell on the last shot--think about this shot. You didn't quit just because you missed every target on the first station. (Five shots, but if you hit the rest of them, you get a 95!)You didn't let down and relax just because you hit 99 straight shots and just had "one more." (There are a 100 shots/targets total--4 traps/25 shots per trap/5 shots per station.)

 If you just "throw" the end of your gun toward the target, you will not hit your target. Be steady, be focused, be calm. Focus. Focus on the target. This is the word I wrote down in my "goals" folder I started--Focus.

Think about what kinds of goals you have. Here's a template I use. You might want to try it.

Words for the Year: Crystal: Look/Focus/Act

Spiritual Goals:

Personal Goals:

Professional Goals for the Year:

(This is me in Savannah, GA competing in a Southern regional shoot.)This was in February, so I thought you'd enjoy the azaleas in the background.Unlike Indiana today.

Those of us in shooting have a saying to encourage our fellow shooters--"Break 'em all!"

Let me know some of your goals and I'd love to hear what your current "word" is that will help you with your goals. 

Crystal Laine Miller


  1. Crystal, Great post and good analogy. I enjoyed it.

    I live by the aphorism that "God is more willing to forgive the blotted page of endeavor, than the blank page of giving up." Missing the target is part of the learning process--we just have to keep trying.

  2. Liked the comparison, thanks for sharing this! I need to give this some thought and further refine my goals.

  3. To everyone reading, if you loved this blog then you'll love hearing Crystal speak at our next ACFW Indiana meeting March 6 in Indy!!

  4. Hmmm. If I had to come up with three words for the year they would be focus/determination/consistency. You of all people know my issue is with finding time to write and keeping my behind in the chair. :) I'm so easily distracted by life.

    Great Post, Crystal. You got me thinkin' =D


  5. Kenny, I love that quote!

    Sabrina, I'm holding you to it. :)

    Karen, get those goals nailed and let me know what you come up with.

    Thanks, Donna!

  6. Awesome post, Crystal. Michelle Weidenbenner and I have became accountability buddies. We share our writing goals and results each week. I'm amazed at how much this has helped us stay on track.

    I went skeet shooting with my husband on a business trip to San Antonio. We had the opportunity to shoot at the NSSA course there. It was fun but my arm was black and blue by the end. I am so impressed with your skill!

  7. Lisa, I'm convinced that if you have an accountability partner, you can meet your goals. It sure helps! Doing it weekly will pay off soon!

    LOL, that 12-gauge shotgun isn't kind, is it? Yeah, I've had my share of bruises and bloody shoulders! (and my cheek) I lifted weights to get into shape to lift that gun 300 times a round. So much fun--kind of like being addicted to writing...LOL. Beat up, but go out and try it again. Gluttons for punishment.

  8. Love the post and so proud of your blog! Way to IN chapter!

  9. Great blog, and picture, Crystal! I love the parallels you drew between skeet shooting and writing. You are one tough lady. Remind me to never get on your bad side. LOL My goal this year is to finish two full length historicals. My current words to help me reach my goal are from a Winston Churchill quote. "Never, never, never give up."

  10. My goal is to focus on the 5 Im/POSSIBLE dreams Debbie Macomber encouraged those of us at ACFW conference to formulate. These goals are in my Bible, on my bulletin board and in my head. I'm blown away that I've had "nibbles" on 3 of them!

    Great blog, Ms. Crystal.