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29.8.08

Go For The Gold--

Although the Olympics are over, I’d like to take a minute to revisit those wonderful days with a little commentary. One of the delights I found was online at the Fourth Place Medal’s Investigative Unit. While the sports were great and I really enjoyed all the bouncing, running, throwing, tossing, flipping…you get the picture… the FPMIU had all the inside stories like why divers take showers after they dive, and all the controversy about things like age and uniforms. As a writer I am just as interested in the WHY of it, not just the WHAT. Here are a few interesting highlights –

Sex or no sex? – the women’s ping pong participants were told to it would help if they wore some skirts and shirts with curves, thinking that sexier outfits would bring on the crowds, while the women’s beach volleyball players could have managed with a tad bit more covering.

Accessorize or no? – The Spanish synchronized swim doubles were told they couldn’t wear their suits that had little lights sewn in to the fabric. Officials said they were accessories, which weren’t allowed. Have they not noticed the sprinters and all the gold they wear around their necks?

Do your undies match? – I have a real problem with someone knowing if my undies match my shorts, but that’s what happened with New Zealand’s field hockey team. Their manager was penalized because three of the guys wore black undies beneath their white shorts. And it was only because they didn’t have time to return to quarters and change after they had worn their black shorts for an earlier match. Can you imagine explaining to your grandkids that you didn’t win a medal at the Olympics because you weren’t color coordinated?

As I watched the competition throughout the weeks, I began to realize that as authors, we are Olympic trained competitors. While huge numbers of us are still trying to attain greatness, a select few have managed to have their names go down in the annals of history. I thought long and hard about what it takes to be an athlete (other than having matching underwear, that is). See if you don’t agree that authors have many of the same characteristics.

Endurance, strength & training – Susan Johnson (gymnast) trains 4 hours a day; Michael Phelps (do I even have to say?)many times that. But how often do you as a writer, spend ten to twelve hours a day at the computer; writing at night and sacrificing sleep to meet page counts and deadlines. We have the endurance to read the same copy as many as four times as we go through edits and print galleys. We have the strength to drag our bodies out of bed after little or no sleep to fix our family breakfast, go to a job, and write some more. And we have the fortitude to keep trying, like Susan Johnson, when the odds are against us and we get rejected time and again.

Grace, agility, cadence, rhythm – I am in awe of the synchronized swimming, gymnastics floor exercises, even the trampoline competitors. Their grace and rhythm remind me of the way my words flow across the page. What they create with their bodies – an invisible picture through their movements – I create with words. The ability to put those words down in a cadence that a reader can read and understand – that is truly a writer’s gift.

Team players and sharing the glory– Not all sports are individual; for example basketball and water polo. As authors, we have to be team players also. We work with editors, cover artists, publishers and promotion people. We could do our job – write – without them, but where would we be then? That would be like an athlete training all year, year after year, and then staying home and watching the Olympics on TV. We are part of a team in another way. Through our list servs, blogs and chats, we offer congrats on sales, praise for great reviews and commiserations for bad ones. We share our ideas and thoughts through chat times and blogs as we wish our “teammates” the best.

Sacrifice and Pride – Writing may be an individual endeavor, like diving, track and field or gymnastics, but the sacrifice isn’t just made by the author and the athlete. Our families give up their time with us. We sacrifice family vacations to attend conferences or to meet deadlines. But in the end, whether we win or lose, aren’t they there with us, applauding our efforts, beaming with pride because we completed the race, the tournament, our manuscript?

Like athletes, we work hard to win competitions – the Golden Heart, the Rita, the EPPIES. We want more than one medal too. We want multiple contracts; we want eBook publication, print, audio books, movie contracts! For athletic hopefuls, the next Olympics is four years away. For those of us whose passion is writing, on a daily basis we have the opportunity to –

GO FOR THE GOLD!!

Bobbie is constantly striving for the best. Check out her stories at http://authorbobbierussell.tripod.com

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