The Writing Olympics

The Winter Olympics are over for four more years. The Summer Olympics next take place in 2016, two years from now. Still, I was thinking about the athletes. Not the podium-standing medal-winners. The nearly 2,900 athletes who competed, most of whom had no chance to wear a medal of any colour.

Why do they do it? Train for years, in lonely gyms and rinks, working and struggling even though they must know they have little to no chance of medaling. They employ trainers, teachers, coaches, medical people, costume designers. And they strive.

How does this apply to writers, you ask?

Thousands of books are published every year. Big, traditional publishers. Small presses. Self-publishers. Some will “medal,” bronze, silver, gold. They will win awards, earn money for their writers. Most? Well, most are like the majority of the 2,900 athletes in Sochi a few weeks ago. They might earn a few dollars. They might not earn a nickel. Yet the writers keep on. They write in the early hours of the morning, the late hours of the night. They hire editors and proofreaders. If they’re self-publishers, they hire a book cover designer and a formatter. They market their books.

And most will not make a bestselling list. But we keep striving, keep writing, keep telling those stories that wake us up in the middle of the night.

Why? Mostly, I think, because we have to.

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