The Olympics and Writing

When an Olympic medalist gets emotional while standing on the podium, I imagine all the work it took to get there.

My mind conjures up the physical duress of training.

I feel the pain of sore muscles, burning lungs and total exhaustion.

The mental strain would also be exscrutiating, performing the same tasks over and over until it’s as close to perfect as can be.

The coach yells “That triple flip with a twist and a double shot of espresso isn’t going to cut it against the East Romulans”.  Gotta do it again. And again. And again.

Then there’s all the things they couldn’t do.

Invitations to birthday parties turned down.

Pizza and beer rejected in favor of broccoli and lean meat.

While friends dated, got married, and climbed the corporate ladder, the Olympic athlete was in the gym, on the track, in the pool.

I can’t help but be happy for those athletes whose dreams have been realized and whose sacrifices paid off. But what about those athletes who never make it to the podium?

Didn’t most of them work just as hard? 2,488 total medals will be given out at the Rio games, but there are 11,000 athletes competing. And what about those athletes who tried out for the games, but didn’t even qualify?

They did the work anyway, even though the odds were against them.

Something else motivated them.  Maybe it was the experience of competing in the Olympic games, the opportunity to represent their country, or simply the love of the sport.

Writing is much the same. You have to ask yourself if the time and effort is worth it even if I don’t “succeed”.

Are you willing to write when others are sleeping? Have you counted the opportunity costs? Can you live with never making a dollar from writing? Will you continue to write even if less than a hundred people read your work?

There will be few best selling authors.

Fame and fortune is a poor motivation for the writer.  You gotta love the process. Writing has to be its own reward.

And if you do “succeed”, I will celebrate with you.



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