I am really enjoying watching the Rio Olympics. It has been a really inspirational sporting event and…one which one makes me feel guilty for sitting on my sofa, wedging another slice of pizza into my mouth, as some poor athlete belts around the track.
The Olympics has also provided me with a creative boost which I thought I would share. There have been a couple of times recently where I have been slumped under a black cloud of creative doom and gloom (my face resembling a bulldog chewing a wasp). In a fit of desperation I have tuned into the Olympics and regained some positive vibes.
An hour later and I have been energetically bounding around my living room crying out “I can do this!” and “this rewrite will NOT beat me!”
I believe there are a few things that writers can learn from watching Olympic athletes.
- Getting back up and carrying on after failure. Whilst sat on my sofa I have watched Olympic gymnasts fall off various pieces of apparatus and…..get back up smiling and carry on! I have been really impressed with their reaction to something going wrong. As a writer I struggle with failure. My standard response is to go in a mood (some might use the term ‘tantrum’) and then talk about quitting. I know I am not the only writer who gives a knee-jerk ‘I quit’ response. My creative journey will contain setbacks, this is inevitable. After seeing these athletes handle failure, I think there is a lot to learn from picking yourself up after a knock down, smiling and carrying on. I think I might try this.
- Ferocious work ethic. Olympic athletes work like crazy in their training sessions. Some of the athletes have talked about their gruelling training programmes in interviews and I have found myself feeling tired just listening to them. Hard work pays off. These athletes even train when they are not feeling a hundred per cent. I doubt very much whether they are like me when I don’t feel hundred per cent about my passion i.e. writing. On these days I choose to sit on the sofa, in pjs, working my way through a packet of chocolate digestive biscuits and watching hours of my Sex & The City box set. If we are serious about our writing then we need to put the hard graft in…even when we are not feeling like it. I think I might try this as well.
- Never giving up on dreams. Some of the Olympic athletes have remarkable stories about the journeys and life obstacles they have overcome to get where they are today. No matter what life throws at them they have not given up on their dream. I have been really inspired by Olympic gold medal-winning diver Chris Mears who won the men’s synchronised 3m springboard final. In 2009 he was given a 5% chance of survival after contracting the Epstein-Barr virus. He never gave up on his dream. We shouldn’t give up on our literary dreams, no matter what life chucks our way.
- Focus and not get distracted by the competition. I have heard a lot of athletes say in interviews they just ran or swam their own race. They focused on their bit of the track or pool and did got get distracted by their competitors. As writers we do get distracted with what other writers are doing / not doing and this can dilute our focus. You heard it here first, I am just going to stick to my lane of the literary track! I don’t care what fancy athletic moves you lot are doing in your part of the track 🙂
Have a fabulous day folks!