What we can learn from Olympic athletes as writers

Image by DavidRockDesign from Pixabay

As the Olympics have come to a close this year, it always makes me think about each athlete’s story and how it actually relates to us as writers. Their success isn’t always a straight line and what it takes to become an Olympic athlete can also compare to what it takes to become a professional writer.

Let’s take a look.

Olympic struggles and successes

Emily Sweeney’s story is so inspiring to me. She’s proven that even when it feels like everything is against you and when it feels like it’s just not meant to be, you can still accomplish your dreams when you put everything you’ve got into it.

In the 2018 Olympics, Emily suffered a spinal injury in a luge crash during her final slide of competition. This accident unfortunately ended her Olympic competition that year, but she returned for the 2022 Olympics with avengence!

Emily says:

“I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been in a place where I finally thought I ‘made it’. Everything seemed to be falling in the right place for my career at one point, and eventually things didn’t quite work out…I took a couple steps back that made me feel like I was retracting my progress, when really everything I was doing was setting me up to propel my career forward.”

Reflecting on all of these athletes always has me thinking about the grit, determination, self-awareness, and perseverance it takes to achieve their goals—and the grit, determination, self-awareness, and perseverance it takes to accomplish our writing goals.

Why are you writing?

Improving your writing and mastering your craft is not something that happens overnight, just like how athletes certainly don’t learn how to win gold medals overnight. Personally, I just spent the last entire decade learning a LOT about myself as a professional and as a person in order to make progress in my writing career. I’ve felt lost, discouraged, not good enough, and I’ve questioned whether or not making writing my career was what I should really be doing.

Despite all of the setbacks, I kept returning to writing because there was always something in me that knew I couldn’t settle for anything less. I felt good writing and I knew that I could make a difference and help others with it. Those were and are my “why”s. 

With each day, month, year…I just kept trying new things, learning, and staying open-minded. 

And still do to this day…and always will. Becoming a better writer never ends 🙂

Not just because

I encourage you to adopt the same mindset. If you can clearly define your “why” for pursuing a writing career, that is your first step. After that, grit, determination, self-awareness, and perseverance will help you overcome those challenges that inevitably happen to us writers (rejections, self-doubt, etc.). 

When you have a strong “why”, THAT will make the difference.

Emily didn’t want to luge just because. We don’t want to write just because. Otherwise, Emily wouldn’t luge and we wouldn’t write.

Kind of like why you don’t brush your teeth “just because”.

You don’t eat “just because”.

You don’t pay your bills “just because”.

There’s a reason behind everything. A “why”. And every “why” will help you deploy grit, determination, self-awareness, and perseverance to become the writer that you really want to be. 

Establish your “why” and write like an Olympian 🙂

Don’t know what to write? Check out my free guide with writing ideas! You may even want to use what you create to build or boost your resume.

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