Tuesday, July 30, 2019

How to Best the Box Jumps in Your Writing - Part 2

by Kristen Hogrefe @kjhogrefe

Kristen here. I’m happy to report I haven’t bruised my shin on the box jump this week. Level 4 is still slightly out of reach, but I’ll get there. That’s what my husband James tells me, and I choose to believe him.

Last time, we saw how the “box jumps” of fear and failure can prevent us from reaching our writing goals, and today, we’re going to learn how to combat them. Yes, these obstacles present challenges, but the good news is that we can overcome them with some help and tenacity.

You need a cheerleader. 
This person is not our editor or agent, although those people play vital roles in our writing career and can also provide encouragement. Instead, a cheerleader is someone who is going to encourage us regardless and will be biased for us. They love us, even in the form of tough love when necessary.

Cheerleaders are the ones who say, "You’ve got this" when you really don't. James is one of my cheerleaders at the box jump and in my writing.

The other day, he told me, "I think you have a four [box jump level] in you today." I definitely did nothave a four in me that day, and even though I resented his sunshine optimism at the time, I also secretly appreciated it. I knew it meant he will keep cheering me on, regardless if I hit the four or not.

As writers, we need sounding boards, and cheerleaders are willing to listen. Sometimes, just talking out our thoughts and ideas helps make them clearer or makes clear to us we need more practice. I'll never forget the time James asked me to explain one of my story concepts. I strangled that pitch badly, but at the end, he said, "I still don't quite get what it's about, but I'm sure I'll love it."

His honesty told me I had some serious work to do, and his loving confidence provided the motivation.

You need practice.
In other words, our cheerleaders give us the affirmation we need to press on and keep practicing our craft. Recently, I took a blogging class by Thomas Umstattd through the Christian Writer's Institute. I've been blogging for many years now, but even still, I'm always learning. One fact he shared struck me in particular. He said that in almost every case, before a person writes a viral post, that writer must first publish at least 100 posts.

That's a lot of posts! That's a lot of practice.

When my students ask me what tips I can share from my publishing journey, I don't share any glamorous truisms. I tell them to practice and keep practicing. It's probably not what they want to hear, but it's the truth.

You need the right mindset.
Last but not least, we need the right attitude. I constantly fight this challenge. Once when James and I finished our box jump practice, he told me, "You killed it in there."

"What??" I asked. "I did not.”

"Well, after you freaked out the first few tries, you nailed it.”  

In box jumps or in writing, we have to fight "freak out" moments. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? I can't do this. I'm not good enough. It's too hard. I'll just get another rejection.

Fight those lies with truth! You can do all things through Christ who is your strength (Philippians 4:13 paraphrase). Sure, we're going to fail, but that doesn't make us failures. It makes us fighters.

What's your box jump right now? Which of these ideas might be the missing piece to your victory plan?


Don't Miss Kristen's YA Trilogy! 
(It's one of my personal favorites)

Kristen Hogrefe is an award-winning author and life-long learner who enjoys starting her day with Jesus and coffee. By day, she teaches English for Alpha Omega Academy, and by night, she writes fiction for young adults and the young at heart. Kristen and her husband live in Florida, the perfect setting for their many outdoor adventures. Join her at KristenHogrefe.com.


  1. Well said young lady. The winner is the one who gets up one more time than they go down!

    1. Thanks, J.D! In the words of Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never give up." Blessings to you!

  2. What a great follow up to yesterday's post.
    Thanks, Kristen. May you reach level 4 and beyond.

    1. I appreciate that, Ingmar! I'm going to keep practicing for sure. One day, I'll get there. :)
      May you also reach your goals, writing and otherwise!

  3. Many days I feel like the coyote splattered on the tunnel that isn't there. But getting up or peeling me off the wall, it's good to keep going. ;)

  4. Lol! We writers do have to be that flexible and resilient but hopefully less "wily" than that coyote. ;)
    Wishing you all the best as you press on with your writing!