It’s a football term, but if you’re an American football hater, don’t zone out! I promise Forward Progress, whether football related or otherwise, is a good thing.
Here’s the actual (well as actual as Wikipedia can get) definition and if you’re bored or just don’t care, read the bolded stuff: The exact moment at which the player’s forward progress stops is subject to the judgment of the officials. In particular, for the protection of the quarterback, he is considered down as soon as an official judges that he is in the grasp of an opponent behind the line of scrimmage, and the tackling defensive player(s) will be awarded with a sack. If he is driven backward by the opponent, the ball will be spotted where his forward progress was stopped.
Right now as I write STORYSPINNER’s sequel, I can relate to a running back who gets the crap knocked out of them on a by-down (or daily) basis. I’m moving forward, I’m gaining yardage (word count), I get tackled by a two-hundred-and-fifty pound defensive end (or writer’s block/plot failing/burn out moment), and tumble backward, sometimes beyond where I started.
This morning, for the third day in a row, I deleted more than fifty percent of the stuff I wrote last night.
It felt a little bit like this:
(FYI: That’s Jadeveon Clowney laying down one of the sickest hits in NCAA history. It hurts me to watch it)
I tell myself to shake it off. Get back in the huddle and be grateful for the progress I did make.
Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes I want to lay back and give in to the frustration. Or be like that poor Michigan RB and just not get up.
At the time I’m posting this, I’ve written 1451 words today–that’s a positive gain of 780 words since yesterday. By the time I roll into bed, I’ll probably have 1,500 words I’ll keep. That’s forward progress, that’s closer to The End(zone). It’s not important how many words I had to delete to get to the right ones; what matters is that I have the right words now.
Writer’s block as a defensive end is one angle I haven’t heard before!