I’ve been spending some time watching the Winter Olympics and I have really enjoyed seeing the action unfold. I like the variety of sports on offer and I have a deep appreciation for the athletes’ dedication and persistence. I’ve been thinking about what we can learn from the participants at the Vancouver Olympics and would like to offer up these thoughts for your consideration:
There are no short cuts to success.
The athletes that make it to the level required to qualify for the Olympics have been preparing for years. Most of them found a passion for their sport from a very young age and have been working hard to develop their abilities since that time.
Many writers also found themselves attracted to the power of words early in life, even if they couldn’t picture a way to get paid for their work at that point. Every time they put pen to paper or touched a keyboard they were practicing their skills. Raw talent is the starting point for world-class athletes and world-class writers, but it takes time to develop that natural ability, and the individual has to be prepared to do the work.
Hard work will eventually pay off.
When an athlete reaches his or her goal of being selected for the Olympic team, they know that the many hours of training and practice have paid off. To get to this level, a person must not only love their sport but they have to be dedicated to it. Training is not something they do when they happen to feel like it. They keep training, even when they are tired, discouraged or just don’t feel like it.
If you want to improve your writing skills, keep writing. Do it every day, even when you are struggling with writer’s block or you are having trouble finding the perfect approach to your project. Getting something down is the first step, and you can always edit later. Write for yourself if you don’t have any client projects to work on. Update your blog. Just keep writing.
You can bring your “A” game and still not win.
Part of what has made the Olympics so interesting is that not everyone who was expected to make it to the podium did so. All the preparation and work led up to having everything fall into place at the event, but there are any number of things that could get in the way of a top three finish. It comes down to which athlete or team was better on that day.
When you are looking for freelance writing gigs, you can do all the right things. Your resume can be all fresh and recently updated, your samples can be on topic and error free, and the client may choose someone else. It doesn’t mean that you lack talent or you couldn’t rock the gig. It means that on that day, someone else got the nod.
Being talented doesn’t give you a license to behave badly.
In the world of athletics and freelance writing, your reputation is something you should guard carefully. It takes to build up a positive one where you are someone who is well respected and sought after, and one bad decision can damage it. Unfortunately, once a person gets some negative buzz going around them, their accomplishments pale in comparison.
Once something gets out online, it is there forever. Anyone who takes the time to Google your name is going to find out about it, and even the stuff you share on Twitter gets indexed by search engines. It is a good idea to remember this and practice some CYA (Cover Your A$$) before you put something up for public consumption. I’m just saying……
What have you learned about freelance writing by watching the Olympics?