I used to play a lot of lawn bowls, to a fairly decent standard. There has been a lot going on recently in the lawn bowls world.
The World Championships were held in Australia last November. Australia took five of the eight titles on offer, with Scotland claiming the other three.
The World Indoor Championships are going on as I type.
All this lawn bowls activity reminded me of an article I wrote for AuthorHouse a little while back. I thought I would share it today.
The AuthorHouse Lawn Bowls Literary Championships
I don’t know if you are familiar with the sport of lawn bowls? If you have heard of it, you probably associate it with elderly people who gather on Sundays in their whites and have a sedate afternoon’s roll-up around afternoon tea.
I have played a fair bit of bowls in my time. I was a reluctant beginner, however. I started bowling at the age of 21 and I was one of those who considered it a sport for old people. I had to play though because it was a part of my job. I had no choice in the matter.
And for that I am grateful.
So what does rolling a bowl down a grass lawn have to do with writing, I hear you say? Well, since I started working at AuthorHouse, I have been thinking about how a game of bowls is similar to the craft of writing. So here are a few of those similarities for you.
Anyone Can Do It
It’s true that lawn bowls has a reputation for being played by the elderly. Most people do not start playing until they have already retired from work and have time on their hands or have become too old for the physical demands of their chosen sport, but still crave some competition. This still remains true to a large extent, but the beauty of lawn bowls is that it is a sport for all.
Because bowls is about 20% physical and 80% mental, it means that anyone can take part. It is one of those sports where the ladies can take on the men and kids and senior citizens compete on a level playing field. I have actually played in a tournament where a lady’s pairs team comprised a 12 year-old girl and a 72 year-old lady. And they were representing their country! Lawn bowls is also played by people in wheelchairs against each other and against able-bodied athletes, as well as by blind athletes.
Writing is the same. Anyone can write and now, thanks to the endeavours of self-publishers like AuthorHouse, anyone can become a published author. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you are from, if you are fit or disabled, if you have a story to tell, you can share it with the world as a self-published author.
This bodes well for the futures of both lawn bowls and literature. Bowl’s initiatives to draw a younger crowd have revived what was for a while a wilting pastime. This is similar to the ways in which self-publishers such as AuthorHouse are revolutionizing the literary world by allowing younger writers with fresh, new ideas to become AuthorHouse published authors.
There is a Beginning, a Middle and an End
Just like a book, a bowls match can be divided into a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning of a bowls match is where the teams meet one another and toss a coin to see who will jack off to commence the game.
The middle part of the game is where all the tactics and strategy come in to play as the teams vie for a lead. The skip will dictate where his teammates will bowl to try and either capitalize on scoring opportunities or to nullify the opponent’s attempts to snatch shots. It is very important that all the players remain focused throughout because a typical game of bowls can take anywhere from two to four hours or more.
The end game is similar to a chess match, where the teams in the lead tries to consolidate their position and secure the win and the trailing team looks to convert their position into a winning one. Shot selection and bowl placement will vary greatly from the mid game, as dictated by the situation the team with possession of the rink finds themselves in. There is then of course the hand shakes, congratulations, commiserations and the confirmation of the final score.
This is just the same as a book. You set your story up with the introduction, develop the characters and progress your story line in the middle while setting yourself up for the finale that will make your story memorable to your readers.
The Better You Get, the Better the Rewards
My friend writes a blog called Author’s Houses. His premise is the grander the house, the more successful the author who lives in it. Basically he is saying, the more popular the author, the more money they make and so the bigger the house they can buy.
This is the same in lawn bowls, where there are the haves and the have nots. This is quite apparent, not just in terms of winning prize money and receiving a salary. It is the way in which the top bowlers are treated by officials and the public.
I have played in international tournaments in Australia where the Australian national team players are regarded as icons and national heroes with celebrity status by the press and the public. Smaller nations are hardly even noticed.
It may seem a small thing, but it was something I noticed at that same tournament and I think it highlights my point quite well. Each morning teams would gather in the clubhouse or breakfast and coffee before the games would commence. Each team would have to find their own seats and purchase their own breakfast and coffee. Not so for the Australian team. They had a reserved table cordoned off for them and they were provided free coffee and toast with vegemite. Nice for them and they won virtually all the gold medals on offer at that tournament, so they deserved it (I think it was the free vegemite that did it!).
This bodes well for the futures of both lawn bowls and literature. Bowls’ initiatives to draw a younger crowd have revived what was for a while a wilting pastime. This is similar to the ways in which self-publishers such as AuthorHouse are revolutionizing the literary world by allowing younger writers with fresh, new ideas to become AuthorHouse published authors.
The Best Ones Travel
A common theme I have noticed in my recent studies of great authors is that they all seek to expand their own horizons and experiences by travelling. Whether it is an author from hundreds of years ago or one of our contemporaries, they all look to improve their writing by becoming more knowledgeable and worldly wise.
The same is true for lawn bowls. The more places you visit and the more different styles and tactics of play you come up against, the more complete a bowler you become yourself. I have been fortunate to have bowled in Australia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, Scotland and Thailand. I have also bowled against the national teams of 26 countries. Every time I bowled in or against those teams, I became a more knowledgeable, more experience, a more skillful craftsman on the lawn bowls green.
The Participants are Getting Younger
AuthorHouse recently published the “profile” of an AuthorHouse published author. That is the common traits to a writer who published with us. This profile put our average author in their mid forties to early fifties. This trend is definitely changing. This month I wrote an author feature for the AuthorHouse newsletter about a young girl called Victoria Nolan. She has just written, illustrated and published her first book at just nine years-old.
The trend for younger people getting into lawn bowls is also apparent. This is especially true at the elite level. More and more bowls champions are in their teens and early twenties, whereas not long ago the podium was reserved for retirees and the blue-rinse brigade. Looking at the national teams of many countries, it is now unusual to see anyone playing who is over the age of forty. Less than two decades ago a forty year-old would have been the junior player.
All of this bodes well for the futures of both lawn bowls and literature. Bowl’s initiatives to draw a younger crowd have revived what was for a while a wilting pastime. This is similar to the ways in which self-publishers such as AuthorHouse are revolutionizing the literary world by allowing younger writers with fresh, new ideas to become AuthorHouse published authors.