Last night, I watched England be defeated by Italy in Euro 2012. It wasn’t a huge surprise by the way but this, along with Wimbledon starting this week, got me thinking about sport in general.
Let me start by saying, I’m not really into sport – as someone very uncoordinated I am hopeless at almost all sport even just playing catch! And I don’t watch it much – just to support England in big tournaments.
But I do realise it takes a huge amount of dedication, determination and guts to be a sportsman or woman. That is inspiring to anyone trying to succeed in sport but I think it also offers inspiration for us writers trying to succeed in our field.
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”
Gail Devers, Olympian
Eye on the prize
Every good sports player should play to win. There’s no point in facing a crowd and a pressured game or match half-hearted. Positive attitude and determination seem to be key ingredients to success in sport. I often wonder if this is why us Brits seem to lose out to our international counterparts – we don’t favour self-belief as much. We don’t tend to fully believe we can win. This could all be rubbish, maybe we just lack talent but I think great sportspeople believe in themselves – they keep their eye on the prize and work their butts off to win.
This is something us writers need to do – we need the same self-belief, the same determination and we need to work as hard at getting there. Sportspeople train like crazy and we should the same with our writing. Practice makes perfect. We can’t be half-hearted about getting published – we need to keep our eye on that prize and drive towards it with everything we’ve got.
There are a lot of team sports and great teams are made up of players who work together and support each other to win. They want each other to be the best so the team can be the best. Even when dealing with opposing teams, sportsmanship is encouraged. Last night, England put the ball out of play as a player seemed to be hurt even of they didn’t have to – the referee hadn’t stopped the game. The England team wanted to be fair.
Writers again can use this example. We should support and encourage each other. Even if writing itself is a solitary sport, we need each other. We can give each other feedback and help one anther improve, we can encourage and console when it comes to submitting our work to agents and publishers, and we can celebrate when one of us reaches their goal. We are better and stronger together.
Every sportsman or woman has had to go through tough times. They train hard which means sacrificing a lot for the hope of success. They also lose. Not everyone can win or the be number one, they have to lose a game or match or race sometime. They have to read the press saying they will never win. They have to deal with injuries that can hold them back. They have to endure all this and not let it put them off. They have to work harder and be stronger to get through the tough time and be successful.
Again, this is inspiring to writers – we have to deal with tough times too. Rejections? Lack of self-belief? Doors closed in our faces? But if we let that get us down, if we give up then it was all for nothing. We need to use these tough times to push us forward, to keep going and to try again until we reach our goal.
What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger, right?
Overcoming failure to reach success
All sportspeople fail sometimes. They feel pressure from their coaches, parents, fans, the press and themselves to be the best and when they fail, they could stop but they don’t. They keep trying for success. Andy Murray is back at Wimbledon again – he is trying to win even though most people say he never will. He hasn’t given up, he believes he has the talent and will to do it even though he’s failed before.
We need to do the same. We need to use failure to shape our success. We get rejected so we try again. We use the feedback to improve and get closer to achieving success. Everyone fails. All the famous authors out there have failed and been rejected. But they kept trying. And they found success in the end.
Do you play the writing game to win?