Tips from TV: 3 Writing Lessons from the Olympics

This year’s winter olympics was fun to watch, wasn’t it? The drama, the excitement, the heartbreak.  Hearing the athletes’ stories was inspiring and compelling. And while I was watching, I couldn’t help but think that as a writer, I could learn a lot from these top athletes.

#1: Practice, practice, practice

Tip #1 is fairly obvious. You don’t make it to the olympics without practicing your skills, and the same thing is true for writing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to do writing exercises, but it does mean that you will need to revise, revise, revise. No one writes things perfectly the first time.

#2: Perseverance

Many of the athlete’s stories included some kind of serious personal injury (like Zhao Hongbo, gold medalist in pairs figure skating). Seriously, it’s amazing how many of them ended up needing surgery at some point in their athletic careers. But instead of giving up, they kept training and kept going. While you might not get physically injured as a writer–except for maybe repetitive strain injuries–you do get emotionally injured quite a bit. Receiving rejection letters and criticism of your work can really kill the ego. But don’t give up! Every writer has stories of rejection (remember when I mentioned Shannon Hale’s rejection reel?) , but if you give up, you’ll never get anywhere.

#3: Confidence

Have you noticed that the athletes who win tend to be the most confident athletes? Here’s what Apolo Ohno said about returning to the Olympics:

“This is where I want to be,” Ohno said. “I love what I do, I love competition, I love training. The losses, the wins, the struggles — I love. I’m blessed to be able to use this gift. I still feel like I’m one of the best, and on any given day I can still vie for being on top of the podium.”

And then he went on to win 3 more medals in Vancouver. Likewise, successful writers take their writing seriously and take themselves seriously as writers. If you want to be published, you can’t just hope that someone will discover you and want to publish your novel. You have to be able to sell your novel with confidence. If you don’t believe in your book, no one else will either.

If you enjoyed this post, check out my other Tips from TV posts:

Lessons from Project Runway

3 Reasons Why ABC’s V Doesn’t Work

3 Writing Lessons from Battlestar Galactica

Writing Lessons from Gossip Girl

Image by the last minute / CC BY 2.0

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