Sunday, February 21, 2010

Going for the Gold

I've been AWOL as a blogger for a few days. I admit it's not because I"m uber writing (tho' I have finished a lot of work this week). And I wasn't just driving DH to his Physical Therapy or on little tours of the area (tho' that did occur). Nope. Truth is I usually write my blog at night, but the Olympics has overtaken my blogging.

I love watching the Olympic Games. I especially love watching the Winter Olympics because I grew up in Northern Canada. Now I'm not talking Toronto or Vancouver, I'm talking NORTH of the 55th parallel. I'm talking just shy of the where the tree line ends. I'm talking MUSKEG, MOOSE and ICE FISHING north (yes I have been ice fishing and I know how to filet a pike).

But that's not why I watch the Winter Olympics. Not totally. I love the stories that are unfolding. Some tragic. Some triumphant. Some inspirational. Some bitter. Some must plain fiun!

There are people who have trained for years who are going for the GOLD. Some are reaching their pinnacle. Some are getting silvers or bronzes. Many are not medal contenders, but they are there and they are part of the experience.

ATTITUDE WHEN YOU WIN OR LOSE OR PLACE MAKES A DIFFERENCE. I've seen this with the winners, close seconds, losers and winners who have to explain to the world why the person placing second isn't an a**. And I've seen that person do it with the same dignity as the person who placed fourth in the world and be glad to be part of the experience.

Imagine going for the GOLD. Taste it. Want it? Think GOLDEN HEART. It's the GOLD for unpublished romance writers. Wow. What a great heady feeling to go for it. God knows I'm in it for the GOLD. But I might not achieve my standard. My goal might turn to ash on March 25th. Aack.

Then what? Well, I keep going back to my 2009 experience. I did not final in the GOLDEN HEART. I didn't make it into the top 1/3. It stunk to not final. Really it did. But oh well, I didn't. I could have curled up into a ball and died and given up, but I didn't. (did I mention that I also got my first ever root canal the day I didn't final? Felt about the same--bloody painful).

Nope. I sucked it up. I focused on improving my writing and moving forward. I entered into the MAGGIES. I went to Nationals and pitched the same story and it was requested. Woohoo. Right? Well. Sort of. The story finaled in the MAGGIES. But the agent and editor rejected the full and partial requested at Nationals.

Being rejected sucks.

But then I have more than one story. I have more than one place to pitch right? Unlike some Athletes who have trained for years, who still might not make it despite all their training, I get way more chances than they do to final in my event. I get dozens and dozens of chances.

Think about this. We have the opportunity to try and fail and try and fail without having the world watch us. Think about the courage these athletes have in the Olympics. And when you watch them, be grateful. We get to try and fail without the weight of the world or our country watching us.

So the next time you get a rejection or a no or you're struggling with your story, remember that person who fell just before reaching the finish line on the downhill or at the end of the skating program. And tuck your courage into your brain and move forward. I guarantee you that's what most of these athletes are doing.


MaryC said...


I've had the same distraction this week. I find myself mesmerized by the games and yes, as you said - all the personal stories.

Good point about us not having to suffer publicly when we're rejected. We also generally don't have the same physical woes. To hear the commentators mention this skier is recovering from 5 hip surgeries or that snowboarder wiped out in practice but is back for the finals. Just WOW!

Makes me feel kinda wimpy. :)

Ellen B said...

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights, Christine?

They feature a little in a friend's novel so I've become obsessed with them - as soon as I saw 'Northern Canada' I heard 'Aurora Borealis' :)

And your story isn't done yet, not by a long shot!

Christine said...

MaryC: I can't imagine anyone undergoing what these athletes go through just to get to the top of their game. I am stunned by Aksel's return to skiing. And the 4th place finisher in the Women's Skeleton had her leg literally pinned together! Wow. But down that hill she went--a very fast down!

I'm thinking about the emotional blocks some of these athletes have to overcome to stay in the running. One of the Canadian female figure skaters lost her mom to a heart attack this week (just after the mom had arrived in Vancouver to watch her compete). The girl is still competing. I can't imagine how difficult this will be for her.

Christine said...

Ellen: I have seen the Northern Lights. Where I grew up it was north of the 55th parallel and the winters were extremely cold. I remember one night we stood outside and the entire sky had huge ribbons of pink, yellow, white and green lights weaving through the night sky. It was unbearably cold, but we stood outside and watched the show, mesmerized.

Thanks for the encouragement. Yes, one day. I write because I love it, but the elusive dream is there pushing me on as well. To be published one day would be GOLDEN.

Wendy Marcus said...

Hi Christine!
I watched a short track ski race last night. I'd never seen it before and am not sure what it's called but four racers compete at a time. Anyway, NBC did this story on one of the Canadian skiers. Got involved in drugs and alcohol. Almost died. Three years ago got sober and has been training ever since. He made it to the finals. Had some trouble out of the gate, but moved into third. Then he fell on the last jump. I wanted him to win so much. I felt like my olympic dreams were crushed. (Well, kinda.) He was the ultimate comeback story. I haven't seen the post-race interviews but I hope the loss doesn't send him back into the abyss.

KarenG said...

The Olympics are wonderful as an analogy for so many things in life. Especially "failure" if you can call it that. Or "lost opportunities", when really, think about it, they're at the Olympics!!! That's a fantastic achievement in and of itself. Like finishing a story or novel, and submitting it. Rejection is part of the process. How many people never even make it far enough to GET rejected?!

Christine said...

Wendy: I watched that race, too, and saw the story. So sad to see him fall, but he said he wanted to go for the Gold and he did--taking risks mean taking on more chances for failure. But I believe failures are the stones we step on to reach success.

Christine said...

KarenG: I know exactly what you mean: these athletes are AT THE OLYMPICS--a HUGE accomplishment. So is finishing a book and sending it out there for the world to see. Rejections aren't easy, but they do mean we're actively seeking publication or future publication or greater audiences for our books.

Becoming a writer, embracing the whole process, has helped me teach my daughter the importance of trying regardless of the outcome. Not trying isn't an option.

Gwen Hernandez said...

Good points about attitude and not having to suffer our failures in public. And the really good news is that writers just keep getting better if they keep at it. We don't have to worry about peaking at age 20. =)

Christine said...

Gwen: so true! Age is not a consideration, tho' I am going to get a professional portrait made now for my future book covers just in case I am 90 when my steamy books hit the stands ;-)