Tuesday, 14 August 2012

What I have learned from the Olympics

I've loved every second of the Olympics. I changed from Olympic cynic to Olympic obsessive, and I'm gutted that it's finished. Well, for now. For the past two weeks I have done no writing, I have read no blog posts (sorry!), and have rarely left the house. Instead I have been glued to screens - TV and laptop, often both at the same time - watching sports I'd never shown even a passing interest in before. I have yelled, cheered, screamed, and been overawed by the dedication of these athletes. So what have I learned and how relevant is the Olympics to me as a person? I've learned that you get out of life what you put in. In the words of Mo Farah, it's all down to hard work and grafting. And judging by both of his amazing races, you can always find that little bit extra to make a difference. This can be applied to much more than sport - although it's coming in very handy as I try to rebuild my fitness and running distance.

So here is the Mo Farah school of thought as applied to writing. Hard work and grafting. In other words, if you don't sit down and write, the novel will never get written. If you bang out the words,one at a time, they will eventually form a story. Sometimes it's easy and joyful and the words flow. Sometimes it's hard and they get stuck inside your head. But you have to keep going, keep writing, and you will get there. The little bit extra (or the final 600 metres) is the revision bit. The bit where it's almost so very nearly finished but it needs a final polish.

And here is the Oscar Pistorius school of thought as applied to writing. My oh my, he is inspirational. He is a world class athlete yet he has no legs. What he does have is vision and belief, and the support of family, friends, coaches. It seems crass to even compare this to the writing life, but here I am doing it just the same because he inspires me in his self-belief, his courage, and his determination. OK, so I haven't been in the best of health, but really, if Oscar can do what he has done, how can I not do everything I can to achieve my goals? That man has pushed more boundaries than anyone thought possible.

Now that the games are done and dusted, I look at my first draft, languishing on the table, and I pick it up with renewed vigour, ready to whip it into shape. Well, at least until the Paralympics start.

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