This was an Olympic year. And March Madness just ended.
And I'm sure somewhere around the world it's soccer or rugby championship.
I'm fascinated by athletes and the level of commitment they have to their craft, their skill.
They train for a shot at gold. For a college scholarship. For a championship ring.
It's a shot of a life
time. A chance to chase the dream.
A lot goes into training for the Olympics, or any athletic
competition. Time, heart, grit, money. Saying No to legitimate life pleasures –
like hanging out with friends – so they can train.
It’s getting up early. Going to bed early. It's dedication. Devotion. Mental and physical discipline. Being in the gym, on the field or in the pool instead of the
mall, the movies or on Facebook.
For writers, it’s much the same process. Maybe not with the
intensity of a high-level athlete but we must focus our time, energy and
efforts to be the best we can be.
I’m sudo-athletic. I like to play sports, exercise,
challenge myself physically. But I’m not an athlete. Meaning, I don’t really
shine in any given sport.
I tried basketball in Jr. High. Was on the team for while
but was too intimidated to excel. I ran track one year.
I think, maybe, I’d have been a good softball player but I
never found an organized team to join.
God had other things for me.
While I still like to swing a bat, I’ll never make an
Olympic team. Being an athlete at such a level, or any level, is not in me.
Writing is my thing. I love writing. I gravitate toward it.
I like to think I’m an Olympic type of writer.
Some of us will scale the heights of Olympic glory. Winning
awards. Hitting best seller lists. Being known widely among readers. Perhaps
getting movie and TV deals.
Some of us will earn our way into the halls of learning with
our writing. Our stories will be used to teach metaphor, symbolism, angst,
emotion, to teach how to comment on society along with greats like Tolstoy,
Austin and Dickens.
We won’t know this until we’re dead 150 years, but there
Others will own the trade fiction market like Ted Dekker,
Debbie Macomber, Karen Kingsbury.
The mass market and genre fiction is where many of us will
land. And stay. No shame here folks.
Genre writers can make a fantastic living.
Sure, our words fade as new releases come out. And we’ll always remember the
day we see our book in a used book store with the cover ripped off, but we love
what we do.
No matter which way our writing takes us, we must have a
championship heart. We must train, focus, strive to use our talents the best
way we can.
Writing is a competitive game. We don’t see our opponent
across the field, beyond the net or in the lane next to us, we see them on the
bookshelves. On blog tours. In the review cycles.
We hear of them on Twitter and Facebook.
And we feel as if we are losing, falling behind, yet we’ve
barely started the race.
Writing is a marathon. I love what my friend Debbie Macomber
says, “I’m a 30 year overnight success.”
Here’s some tips for staying in the writing game.
1.Prepare for the long haul. You’re running a marathon,
not a sprint.
2.Read. Study. “Train” to be better.
3.Write who you are. The more I write, the more I figure
out the message of my heart – the one only I can tell.
4.Don’t despise small beginnings.
5.Don’t compare yourself. Focus on your “game” and let
the others take care of themselves.
6.Devote time. Do the “reps” as the coaches say. Write
and you’ll be a writer. You’ll improve. You’ll have more to say.
7.Earn it. Earn your spot on the “team.” While
publishing, books, art, contests are all very, very subjective, write as if you
have a chance to earn your place in the publishing world. How ironic for the
arm chair quarterback to shout at the TV, telling the guy who DID make the cut, who IS earning the big $$, how to play the game, or what he’s doing wrong. But he
did earned it. The arm chair quarterback did not.
8.Trust the Lord.
Rachel lives in sunny central Florida.
A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time eight years ago.
She’s the author of EPCA and CBA best sellers, and RITA nominated books. She also co-authored the critically acclaimed Songbird Novels with platinum selling country music artist Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.
Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, a conference speaker and worship leader.
Rachel writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.