As a writer, it’s easy to get lost in the details. To zoom in so far that your entire focus centers around finding the perfect word or phrase. You pull out the thesaurus, anguish over the arrangement of a few words, before finally moving on to the next sentence. It’s a labor intensive exercise. And it’s needed. But not to before the story is written.
On the other end of the writing spectrum, is writing without giving much care to the sentence structure or words used. The focus is on the content and cohesion. Is the story flowing? This is the zoomed-out approach.
At different periods of the writing process, you have to bounce between these two extremes, focusing on the details or the big picture. But what do we do first? What’s most important? Best selling author James Patterson gave advice to budding writers, “Don’t write the sentences. Write the story.”
Often, new writers get caught up in the details. That the sentence is king. After all, put together enough beautiful phrases and an article or book will emerge. But Patterson’s recommendation isn’t to negate the impact of polished prose, it’s that polished writing is nothing if the story is not in place. The story is what matters.
Now, think about this lesson for coaching. We have the details level; individual workouts. And we have the zoomed out story level; the balance and flow of training. As coaches, we spend an awful lot of time obsessing over the details. Should we do 10x400m or 8x400m?…