Why Writing is Like the Olympics

As I’ve been watching the Olympics, it has occurred to me that the quest for Olympic gold is very similar to the writing journey. No matter if you are a beginner or a professional, I think a few of these comparisons will have you nodding your head in agreement.

  • In writing, there are many genres just as in the Olympics there are many sports. A few can cross those lines and compete in several, but most have to choose one and do it well.
  • Some train and train and train, but never even make their country’s Olympic team, let alone the medal stand. In the same way, some writers work all their lives and never see publication.
  • On the other hand, some participants shoot straight to the top. In both writing and Olympic sport, their success might seem “sudden”, but it really represents lots of hours of hard work away from the spotlight.
  • Some make the team year after year but never medal. (Think mid-list authors. Or those with an agent who haven’t broken into the publishing world yet. We just keep working, though few ever know our names!)
  • There have been times that a participant has won a gold and then, on the very next try, didn’t medal. Every book, like every athletic performance, has to stand on its own, not on any previous accomplishment.
  • Even in the individual sports, the Olympians are part of a larger team–the swimmers, the track and field athletes, the volleyball team, etc. Then those teams come together to form an entire team for their country. Writing is the same in that, though individually performed, it requires a team of people to cheer you on and help you succeed–critique partners, agents, editors, marketing teams, publicists, booksellers and readers.
  • Finally, when all the hoopla is over, be it the Olympic games or a writing contest, a contract signing, a book release, the participants return to their day-to-day work, generally unnoticed.

So as you sit and watch the athletes compete through the rest of these games, see if you can find yourself as a writer embedded in the stories that arise in each contest and be encouraged. Whether you ever attain gold or simply compete in such a way to reach for it (Run in such a way as to get the prize. I Corinthians 9:24) you have done something amazing. And if you do you work as unto the Lord, it is all a sacrifice of worship with eternal rewards even if it never attains to accolades on this earth.

What other comparisons to the Olympics and writing do you see? I’d love to hear them!

4 comments on “Why Writing is Like the Olympics

    • We are, too! One of my favorite things about writing (and I imagine being at the Olympics, too) is getting to meet amazing people that might never have otherwise crossed my path. You are one of those people, Carla! So, so happy to journey this road alongside you!

  1. We said similar things in our posts today, but I called it a love of banana throwing. More and more I realize how much I need to simply appreciate the love of craft b/c all the other fanfare disappears.
    ~ Wendy

    • So true, Wendy! I noticed the similarities in our posts today, too! Yes, in spite of where we are along our writing journey, the truth is most of our work is done alone and unheralded. But there is oh, so much sweetness there if we can enjoy the journey instead of angsting about the ultimate destination! (Yes, this continues even after publication!)

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