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The Thrill of Victory & Agony of Defeat December 13, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Spirit & Ego, Writing & Writers.
25 comments

200px-BedivereWatching the 2010 Winter Olympics last year got me  thinking ~ writers going for the gold have it EASY compared with Olympic Athletes.

We get to say, “Do Over!” 

If we submit a story and receive less than positive feedback, we get to rewrite it until it’s “right.”

If Olympic athletes stumble and fall while soaring over a mogul,  their dreams for a medal evaporate immediately.

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Alpine skiing

Snowboarding

Injuries from rejection, no matter how painful, rarely keep us away from our keyboards.  

After a nasty spill, Olympic athletes may be sporting broken bones, lacerations, bumps,  bruises, or contusions which prevent them from training and competing for weeks on end.

In contrast, even after receiving an ego-bruising rejection, writers rarely sustain physical injuries which prevent us from returning to our keyboards to try again.

We do not have to share our rejection slips with others. 

When we receive a rejection slip from an editor, it is usually received and read in the privacy of our own homes, without a single stranger watching our private humiliation, pain, and dismay.

When an Olympic athlete crashes and burns, thousands in the stands, and millions over the airwaves, are witness to the debacle.

Imagine being asked to stand in the middle of The Pacific Coliseum, packed to the rafters with 14,200 spectators, to open and read . . . out loud . . . over the PA system . . . the contents of a potential rejection slip.

Makes handling rejection slips in the privacy of your home office feel pretty darn good, huh?

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Figure skating

Figure Skating

Our “slip ups” and typos are not front page news. 

When figure skaters  complete skating, they sit down, in a tidy row with their coaches, to wait for the judges’ scores.  As they wait, cameras remain trained on their faces, watching for any  flicker of emotion.

Sportscasters, filling air time, proceed to analyze the routine  by placing even the slightest bobble under the spotlight for micro-analysis.

Can you imagine receiving that type of scrutiny for an isolated typo or grammar error ~ without having the opportunity to go back and fix it?

Once the judges have spoken, the skaters’ scores are displayed in the stadium for 14,200 spectators, flashed over the airwaves for millions of at-home viewers, posted in Olympic score books, and established for all time.

No do overs.

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Alpine skiing

Luge

Writers rarely risk death and dismemberment in their efforts.

When we write a horrendous piece of trite tripe, we can delete it from our screens and no one will ever be the wiser.

When athletes maneuver down the luge course in a less than precise manner, they not only risk humiliation from a wipe out, they also risk death and dismemberment.

Lugers put their life on the line each time they race down the track, flat on their backs, at speeds in excess of 90 mph, on sleds which are not equipped with air bags, brakes, steering mechanisms, or any other safety feature.

While we sometimes feel as if we are beating our head against a brick wall when we write, lugers whistling down the 4,757-foot concrete track at the Whistler Sliding Centre literally risk slamming into brick walls and concrete pillars.

Starts putting things in perspective, doesn’t it?

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Alpine skiing

Wipeout!!!

No matter how many times our work gets rejected, we are  rarely, if ever, maimed or physically harmed in the process of submitting for publication.

We can take as many bites at the apple as we want ~ we can write, submit, and re-write the same article over and over again, until it is accepted for publication or we abandon our efforts on its behalf.

We can keep going for the gold until we tire of the chase.

Yes, writers seeking that elusive goal of publication, have it EASY.

For us, the thrill of victory may be every bit as sweet as that felt by athletes winning Gold, Silver, or Bronze medals . . . but the agony of defeat is rarely more serious than recovering from a slightly bruised ego or a particularly nasty paper cut.

Related post:  What to do When a Publisher Rejects Your Novel (Global Mysteries) * Fun with Numbers: Publication Odds * Stop Mocking Me!