So, the Olympics are currently running and my family is big on sports. In fact, one of my earliest memories is on a soccer field while my brother played and my dad coached. When I left the house, I stopped watching all of the events, but for some reason, the Olympics has always been one that I still watch religiously. I think it is because it involves sports we don’t get to see that often. They’re around, just not widely broadcast.
What impresses me the most about the events are the
competitors themselves. They ruthlessly train for four years for an event that typically
is shorter than the average song. These individuals dedicate their lives to the
sport. Time and time again, I hear the competitor was home schooled. Well, of
course, because they spend six hours a day training. Blizzard outside? Get out
of bed and go train. Birthday? Better train. They prioritize everything below
this one shot at glory.
In some ways, the writing field has become like this. You
have to really want it. Sure, I meet a lot of people who say they are writers. And
they are right because all it takes is a desire to create. But, being “successful”
takes a lot more. That takes “Olympian” dedication. It takes staying home when
others are going out. It takes writing even when we “don’t feel like it.” It
takes making the business a priority. But, just like the girl who missed out on
3rd place by four hundredths of a second, sometimes we can do all
this and still not “make it.”
I mentioned Wednesday that I read a blog that listed the successful
characteristics of writers. The one that stuck with me the most (mainly because
I hadn’t heard of it before) is that writers are dedicated. They schedule the
time and they are determined to stick to the schedule. I fit this
characteristic about half of the year. Then the winter hits and I have to
battle with myself more. We have to be dedicated. I think the question we need
to ask is how much do we want to write? Do we want to just write and share it
with friends? Do we want to do book signings? Are we okay being the locally
known writer? Or do we want more? And if we do want more, how much are we
willing to sacrifice to obtain it?
But, I think the most important question is: are you willing
to sacrifice? And, the even scarier question is, if you were that girl who got
pushed off the podium by four hundredths of a second, would you still think it
was worth it? For me, I am not ready to be an “Olympian.” Does that mean I won’t
hit the NY Times Bestseller. Maybe. But it also means I am okay with that
reality. For me, it’s better than sacrificing and never achieving. Set priorities,
push it, but have a life. Just my thoughts.