Monday, March 1, 2010

Going for the Gold, or Silver, or Bronze, or Your Individual Platform

The Olympics are over and I can't help but think of that with a frown. I love the Olympics. As a friend pointed out to me just yesterday they're more than just competitions for the best in the world.  They're more than the final metal counts (though I do like to see my country in the lead). They're just as much, if not more, about the fact that for a few weeks we can all become "good sports" and value other countries, not for their political agendas, leaders, or resources, but value them because despite differences in culture, cuisine, and language....we're all human. They prove we can get along while we compete and be better for it.  

This is where my analogy comes in (you all know how much I love analogies and I just couldn't pass this one up). Some of us will be those countries with 37 metals/books, the best writing facilities in the world, and celebrities in our chosen field. We might even give away some of our coveted secrets to how we struck gold. Some of us will be writers who are good and occasionally great. We'll have a smattering of silvers and bronzes with a couple golds tossed in the mix. Others will have just three metals and it won't matter if they're bronze, gold, silver, or...platinum (sorry, I couldn't resist). We'll just be happy that we've done our best. Finally, some of us will stay where we are now. We'll be in the field competing for the fun and rush we get of discovering our latest achievement. We may never get a metal or even close, but we do it, because we love it. 


People write for all different reasons. Some do it because they want to be the greatest on Earth, to be the one with more gold metals than ever. Others do it because they enjoy it. Turning it into something serious takes away all the fun for them. They'd rather just do what they want and figure out their own way, whether that leads to publication or not. 



I think we often forget that not everyone is on the same track as us. Just because we are all in the same sport doesn't mean we've all gotten to this place the same way, or that we're all trying to get to the same place on the podium. We all create our own podiums and they change as we change. It doesn't matter that some of us will never write 37 books and be uber-famous because that's not our goal. In the end, it's what we as, not as "writers," but as "individuals who write" wish for ourselves. We have to be satisfied with what we have done and not look back with regrets. 

What are your goals? How did you get to where you are? What "self-awarded" metal do you hope to achieve?

12 comments:

Valerie Geary said...

Great post today! Very inspiring. :)

Aubrie said...

I love this post! My ultimate goal: have one book at Barnes and Noble: to be able to go into a store and see it there. But it's okay if that never happens, I'm very happy with my ebook publishers.

Elana Johnson said...

This is so true! Even if I'm tenth in the world, and don't make the podium, there's still the rush of strapping on the skis and flying down the mountain. So to speak, of course.

I write because it brings me joy. :)

Great post!

laurel said...

Great post, Bethany. I've been working at submitting some shorter pieces to lit mags lately because every publication feels like a win. The long-term goal of getting my novel into the world and having a positive impact on grieving teens still feels a little far off. And I know that with book publication comes a lot more responsibility.

I guess I'm saying I like doing the "pre-Olympic" competitions as a warm up for the bigger competition.

Christine Danek said...

Great post! Everyone is writing posts that have such inspiration. Thanks for your comments on my blog. :) Made me smile.

Jessica said...

What a cool post Bethany! I've never thought of it like this before. It's a really good analogy. I'm not sure what I'm shooting for. Publication, a career...would that be bronze? Silver? I won't mind a gold either. LOL

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I hope to get published and get that letter from a reader that says something like, thanks for writing a damn good story. ;) That would make it all worth it.
And watching my mom's face light up at seeing one of my novels in print. That's worth all the money in the world.

Hayley said...

Loved this post. One big goal, to get published, to feel the flip of the crisp new pages beneath my fingers as I walk into a bookstore, pick up the copy of my novel and then proceed to the checkout to buy the copy even though I don't need to. I don't really know how I got where I am, but I'm loving where I am so that has to count for something.

Jeanette Levellie said...

How much time do you have? I have so many goals and aspirations for my writing, I may not live long enough to see them happen! Of course I'd love to have several books and tons of articles published, but my #1 goal is to touch people's lives and make a difference in their hearts. To lead them to a closer walk with Jesus. To make them laugh.

Jody Hedlund said...

You're so right. Not all writers are writing for the same reason or have the same objective. Some of us are out for the marathon and others are content to run a 5K. Some of us will strive for Gold and others will be content to simply finish a novel. It's good not to compare ourselves with others but to look at what we're good at and focus on that!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

This post is a Bethany masterpiece (although the milk one is still my favorite)! I love this analogy and you extended it so well. :-)

I dream of seeing Scott and the Naughty Boy Factory, facing cover out, at a B & N. *sigh*

Bethany Mattingly said...

Thanks everyone for the comments! It was really fun to read your input. :)

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