Between a ton of work (3 books due in the same month, and subsequently 3 revisions back all at the same time) a broken foot, snow almost as deep as I am tall, and sub zero temperatures, I haven’t been going out too much these past few weeks. But I must admit, I’m addicted to the Olympics, so every night when they come on, I’m glued to the TV, drinking hot chocolate or eating popcorn, and watching these amazing athletes do things I can’t even imagine the human body doing.
I’m particularly fond of the snow boarding and the downhill skiing, and each and every time one of these competitors flip up in the air, do some kind of triple somersault, a couple of spins then land on their feet and keep on going, the first thing that comes to my mind is, “Why?” Why do they do that? What was running through their minds the first time they ever thought about it let alone tried one of these stunts? I mean, seriously, I like my feet planted firmly planted on the ground. That’s where God intended them to be and I’m not arguing the point. But there are a certain group of people out there who dream so much bigger than that and who actually go out and act on that dream.
The other day, I had a doctor’s appointment, and he was talking about an article he’d read about someone who wrote romance novels. She discussed her process, what being a writer meant to her, and why she did it. Consequently, he asked me these same questions. What was my process? I told him that I start with an idea or a dream about a certain story and by the time I start putting that story to paper I already know it inside and out. Much the way one of the ski jumpers or snowboarders knows their jump inside and out before they do it for the first time. Then my doctor asked me what being a writer mean to me and I told him in one word: everything. Last night I heard that same question asked of one of the Olympians and his answer was the same as mine. To him, the competition meant everything. And finally, the last question – Why? My answer is the same as that for all writers. Because I have to. Because my day would seem incomplete if I didn’t do it. Because I’d lose my purpose if I didn’t write. Lo, and behold, one of the Olympians said pretty much the same thing. It was her destiny. Something she had to do. Something that completed her life.
So, are writers like Olympians? I’d say that in more ways than not we’re similar – at least in spirit. Maybe we don’t have to go flying down the side of a mountain to prove our craft, but we wake up to it every day ready to face new challenges and overcome the obstacles awaiting us. And like Olympians we continually strive to get better at what we do; invent new moves; re-invent the way we approach our work. All I can say, though, is I’m sure glad I don’t have to do that on the side of a mountain, with a snowboard or skis strapped to my feet, getting ready to take a plunge into something that would end up reading more like an obituary than a romance novel. But here’s to the Olympians, no matter the area in which they compete. Whether it be in writing or cooking or raising a family or flipping off the side of a mountain. They all make life a little bit better.
Until next time, wishing you health and happiness…