The lighthouse keeper's wife fishing

When I was dating my husband, he introduced me to fishing, something I never thought I’d be interested in. However, I did like spending time with him, so I gave it a shot. What I discovered was an experience where we  shared more than just catching fish. Now, four years later, we still enjoy  sharing this time together while we admire God’s creation and take time away from the world’s pace.

So what does this have to do with writing? The last time we went fishing, I noticed some amazing similarities between the two activities which I’d like to share with you.

One thing I’ve learned is that you have to have the right bait. Some fish like one kind of bait and some like another. Interesting enough, in the writing world, we talk about having the right “hook.” The hook is the opening line that pulls the reader into the story or moves her to the  next chapter. We need to hook our audience with the right bait.

As I said, there are different baits for different fish. I believe this is important to remember when you receive a rejection from a publisher who says your work doesn’t fit their needs. Just because it doesn’t fit their needs doesn’t mean it won’t fit another publisher’s. Plus, if you consider all the different genres like romance, contemporary, fiction, nonfiction, young  adult, suspense and so on, your story might fit better with another publisher (or fish) who likes your bait.

Something else fishing has in common with writing is persistence. If you want to catch fish, you have to keep trying. Just because you don’t catch any fish in one place doesn’t mean there aren’t any fish. They just might be somewhere else. Remember when Jesus told the disciples to put their nets on the other side of the boat when they weren’t catching fish on one side? You can’t give up if you don’t land a big fish right away. You have to keep fishing. And your chances of catching fish increase the more you fish.

Perhaps the biggest similarity I’ve found is the need for patience. And for me, this is the most difficult thing to learn. In this world of instant gratification, patience is seldom practiced. We grumble if our computer is slow, if we don’t get an immediate answer to our text message, or if we have to wait more than five minutes in the fast-food drive-thru. However, the writing world requires patience. We send in our manuscripts or our queries to agents or editors and wait for their response. You cannot hurry the response.

The same is true for fishing. You must wait for a fish to strike your line. Yet what I once thought was boring is not if the time spent waiting is used well. For instance, while fishing, my husband and I might talk quietly, or maybe just take in the scenery around us. In the same way, we can use the time waiting on responses to our writing to begin working on another story.

Remember – there are plenty of opportunities to land a fish, but you won’t get one until you start fishing.

Can you think of any other similarities?