Sounding It Out

Trouble with the Curve, starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. Image credit: Warner Bros. Ent.

Mickey listens to her father’s comments about the high school ball player, then goes to the fence for a closer look. She returns to tell Gus, her father, that he was right. The young player’s “hand’s drift.”

“How did you know that if you can’t see him?” she asks Gus, whose failing vision is as clear as sludge.

“Because I’ve been in this business too damn long, that’s why.”

“No, it’s more than that. Tell me.”

“It’s the sound you hear. It’s like a ball coming off the bat, or exploding into a glove. It’s a pure sound. You’ll know it when you hear it.”

The dialogue above is from Trouble with the Curve, starring Amy Adams as Mickey and Clint Eastwood as Gus. I know the sound they’re talking about.

That pure sound—it comes when you’re doing it right. It’s the one measurement that can’t be faulted.

I’ve heard it at the driving range. There’s that crack when Big Bertha launches a ball across the green—like an anvil hitting the high note on a set of titanium chimes.

And there’s a feel to it, too.

I competed in 200 meter butterfly for years as a kid. There’s a sound in the water—a tha-thumb sound—of your arms piercing through, your body following, and then the second beat of your legs pushing down on the water, propelling your arms and body back out. It’s the heartbeat of the stroke. It’s how you know you have it right. Without it, you need to push harder, adjust the reach of your arms, power through your shoulders, and push yourself through the water with all you have from your legs.

And that sound and feel extend beyond sports.

There’s the sound and the feel of a book, the rhythm of the words that make the difference between a page turner and a slow read. There’s a beat.

And then beyond those books, there’s a feel and a pure sound to the sharing of it, too.

This past week, Conan O’Brien spoke about integrating products into his program. He shared two examples of things that worked for him. (View the examples here.) The comments he made behind the “Why do these work?” question is worth a read:

“The grassroots nature of the movement that rescued me when I was in so much trouble a couple of years ago, that was so pure—I had nothing to do with it. It was an online rescue by younger people who said, ‘We like this guy. We don’t like what happened to him.’ And they created this movement that swept me through a tour and then took us to TBS. That was so real. And it was always very important to me that we not screw with that. I’d rather stop doing it than continue to do it in a way that starts to become manufactured or fake.”

There are many ways to share your work. And if you’d like, you could hack the system and speed up your attention-getting machine. You could leak a story. Lie about a story. Spin a story in a sensational way that would garner you attention.

OR, you could do something that’s not all about you receiving attention.

Bottom line: If you want an audience that will rescue you (should you ever need it)—and create a movement in your name—your actions have to be about more than you.

You need that pure sound—the crack, tha-thumb, whatever it is—which comes from doing things right. In this case, “right” involves interacting, respecting, and giving back to your readers, viewers, etc. , too. You’ll know when you nail it because they’ll let you know. They’ll sound it out for you.

Posted in


Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

do the work book banner 1


A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.



Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.



Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"



  1. Basilis on June 21, 2013 at 2:21 am

    This post surely has a pure sound!

    As I see in the article, the pure sound that the others will sound it out for you involves somehow the technique about your writing way, your marketing way, and your life way.

    It’s impossible to deal with these, let’s call them, “factors” if you don’t love what you are doing. And how will you commit to this attempt if it’s not something that comes from the real you?

  2. byHidgrace on June 21, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I’m listening for the noise (didn’t know to cll it this till now) for Paula Dean…the silence is deafening. She’s wrong in what she said. She has apologized…but…one voice has yet to be heard in her defense…one story lead with ‘the self proclaimed queen of souther cooking’

  3. Derick Tsai on June 24, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Fantastic post Callie!

  4. S. J. Crown on June 25, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Love the sports metaphors. Thank you!

  5. Larry Adams on June 27, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Great post, Callie! Truly effective.

  6. photography tips on November 12, 2013 at 7:02 am

    wonderful issues altogether, you just received a new
    reader. What could you suggest in regards to your put up that you made some days in the past?
    Any certain?

  7. Albina on March 30, 2022 at 12:54 am

    Hello interesting article, if you want to name more sound effects for your work visit, very informative, I really enjoyed it.

  8. Micheal Jordan on July 14, 2023 at 4:47 am

    This phonetic approach not only enhances the reading skills but also fosters a deep understanding of the English language’s intricate sound patterns.
    Concrete Staining Services in Captain Cook

  9. Roger Jones on February 28, 2024 at 12:46 pm

    I’m confused about the sound they hear. At first it’s a sound that the batter makes to show/announce that his hands drift (apparently a bad thing) when he swings. Then when the daughter ‘hears’ it, it’s the sound of the pitcher Rogiberto showing somehow that he’s an amazing pitcher (with first class fastball and curveball).

    Can anyone clear this up for me?

Leave a Comment

Patronu aradığında sürekli hasta olduğunu söyleyerek iş yerine yalan söylüyor porno hikaye Patronu artık bu kadarının gerçek olamayacağını ve rapor görmek istediğini dile getirip telefonu kapatıyor türbanlı Olgun kadın hemen bilgisayarının başına geçip özel bir doktor buluyor ve onu arayarak evine davet ediyor porno Muayene için eve gelen doktor olgun kadını muayene ediyor ve hiç bir sıkıntı olmadığını söylüyor brazzers porno Sarışın ablamız ise iş yerine rapor götürmesi gerektiğini bu yüzden rapor yazmasını istiyor brazzers porno fakat doktor bunun pek mümkün olmadığını dile getiriyor sex hikayeleri Daha sonra evli olan bu kahpe doktora iş atarak ona yavşıyor ve istediğini alana kadar durmuyor Porno İzle Karılarını takas etmek isteyen elemanlar hep birlikte evde buluşuyor türkçe porno Güzel vakit geçirdikten sonra kızlara isteklerini iletiyorlar ve hatunlarda kocalarının bu isteklerini kabul ediyorlar seks hikayeleri Hemen ellerine telefonları alan elemanlar karılarına video eşliğinde sakso çektiriyorlar porno izle Hiç beklemeden sikişe geçen elemanlar hatunları değiştire değiştire sikmeye başlıyorlar.