Like millions of others worldwide, I’ve been watching some of the Olympic competition. I’m inspired by the stories of these athletes who’ve trained so long and so hard to be the very best they can be. I realize that some of these athletes are professionals (the U.S. basketball team, for example), or even if they’re “amateurs,” some have signed hefty endorsement contracts with companies. I mean, really, am I supposed to believe that Subway is the official sandwich shop of Olympic athletes?
I was inspired by high school student and multi-gold medalist swimmer Missy Franklin. She turned down endorsement contracts and remained in her hometown so she could continue to swim for her high school team. Clearly, there’s a girl who swims and competes because she loves it.
I was never much of an athlete. I did ride and show horses for seven years in my teens. I definitely didn’t earn money doing it, but I loved it so much I worked a part time job to pay my travel and show entry fees. Now I’m training to do a walk/run half-marathon this winter. I’ve had to pay an entry fee, book a hotel for the event and buy workout clothes. Then I sprained my ankle a couple weeks ago, which resulted in a doctor visit and prescription. Yeah, it’s costing me money, but I’m not giving up. I’m not sure I’m at the love stage yet, but I’m determined to complete this goal.
Which leads me to writing. I started writing books for two major reasons. First, I loved reading stories and I had plenty in my brain that I thought I’d like to share with others. Second, I’d read enough stories where I found myself thinking, “I can do better than this.” Yes, in my mind, I’m an Olympic champion among authors.
But I fell out of training, and partly that was caused by focusing too much on the other books, the market in general, whether or not I could earn money from my books. I let business cloud my love of writing. I worried about sales more than the story. I focused on trying to please editors and agents rather than readers. Ultimately, I spent too much energy trying to guess what everyone else wanted in a story rather than just writing the kind of story I wanted to share.
So I’ve got a new goal. Along with a half-marathon and my 50th birthday this winter, I plan to publish my next book. A book I’m very happily writing on again. I’m writing this first draft for me, for the love of it. And I hope it will strike a chord with readers.
What is it you do for the love of it?