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.