I don’t play tennis, but it is my understanding that every tennis racket has what is called a “sweet spot.” This is supposedly the precise location on the racket that, when coming into contact with the ball, produces the ultimate effect on the ball, causing it to spin, soar, hit or whatever in the most successful configuration that physical science allows. This same sweet spot is an attribute of other sports paraphernalia: a baseball bat or golf club for examples.
Analogies based on this phenomenon of a sweet spot have been used for circumstances well beyond the playing field. I’ve heard them at business meetings I’ve attended: “The newest do-hicky we added to our thingy has hit the sweet spot—current thingy sales are breaking all previous records.” Yeah, I’m almost sure I’ve heard someone say something like that. Sailors use the same analogy when the boat’s sail is “tuned” to produce the perfect combination of speed and comfort. Sports car maniacs likewise will point to their vehicle’s perfect point of efficiency and performance. I’ve even heard of the “sweet spot” in reference to sex. Oh wait, that’s actually some other spot, isn’t it? Forget I said it.
The point is, there is a very specific and measurable point for just about any endeavor at which the penultimate effect desired by that endeavor is activated. This is similar to what Malcolm Gladwell calls the “tipping point.” He has written a best-seller with that as its title, in addition to numerous other books that attempt to explain why and how events occur and people react. If you have not read any his books, I suggest you try one. “Blink” and “Outliers” are two that I especially enjoyed.
So here I sit contemplating the sweet spot…or tipping point. For me, and I guess any wannabe successful writer, it’s the ever elusive point at which large numbers of people read something I have written and subsequently make an actionable effort to respond or obtain more.
I write because I enjoy it. It is an almost uncontrollable compulsion to puke thoughts out into the open no matter how ridiculous or, hopefully pertinent they may be. Writing is a need to express and, as such, sometimes the need justifies the end…and at other times, well, gibberish.
My computer is my tennis court; the keyboard my racket. I wander all around the court attempting to position myself as best as possible, awaiting the next volley of words to come at me. I often swing and miss. This, I suppose, is poor brain/hand coordination. Most times I am lucky if I can keep the volley going for half a dozen or more lobs across the net without having to stop and serve—starting all over again. I confess, I do hit a good number of typos.
Then, once is a very unexpected and random moment of play, everything comes together on my behalf. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, phrases and clauses are simultaneously placed in perfect harmony and I, along with my imaginary crowd, go wild. What a euphoria it would be if the crowd were real and did just that. I will have hit the sweet spot and…how sweet it would be!