Missy Tippens, here. Who watched the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics on Friday night? I’m always inspired by the Olympic games, and the athletes never cease to amaze me. Their commitment, dedication, persistence, fighting spirit—
What? Sounds like a writer pursuing publication, you say? By golly, it sure does! :-)
I checked out some of the athletes at teamusa.org, and their stories of how they overcame obstacles made me think of some of the lies and excuses we, as writers, sometimes tell ourselves…
Lie #1: I’ll never sell a book, so why try?
- Home: Aspen, Colo.,
- Birthday: June 5, 1985
Event: Figure Skating - Singles
Abbott began skating at age 4, inspired by watching British 1980 Olympic men's gold medalist Robin Cousins skate in a show in Aspen, Colo. He moved on to the U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills Program, competing in ice dancing and pairs. A fractured vertebra sidelined him for 15 weeks in 2003. In 2005, Abbott compared his chances of winning the junior national championship to the likelihood of pigs flying. Of course, he ended up winning the title. Family and friends subsequently started the "Pigs Can Fly" Web site and fan club. Abbott started the Jeremy Abbott Training Fund with the Aspen Skating Club, his first club, to support competitive local male figure skaters.
Short List Performance
- 2009 U.S. champion
- 2008 Grand Prix Final gold medalist
- 2007 Four Continents bronze medalist
- 11th place at 2008 and 2009 World Championships
- Fourth place at 2007 and 2008 U.S. Championships
- 2005 U.S. Junior champion
- Ranked No. 7 in the ISU World Standings as of May 2009
Jeremy didn’t give up even when injured. He went ahead and tried. So can we! Remember, pigs can fly!
Lie #2: I don’t know the right people, have the right connections or have the money to pursue publication.
- Home: Newport, R.I.,
- Birthday: July 26, 1983
Weight: 135 lbs
Birthplace: West Dover, Vt.
Who would have known that a plastic Mobile Monster snowboard from K Mart would have such an impact on the world of snowboarding? Well, that's the equipment on which Clark got her start, linking turns on snow banks back in Vermont. A few years later she was enrolled in a
mountain school for her high school years and the rest is history as Clark marks herself as one of the world's best female snowboarders.
OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES/WORLDS
2006 Olympic Winter Games - 4th halfpipe
2002 Olympic Winter Games - 1st halfpipe
2001 Worlds - 9th halfpipe
If Kelly can start with a board from K-Mart, then we can jump right in no matter who we know or what our income bracket. Don't even let those type thoughts get a grip in your mind.
Excuse #3: I’ve been at this forever. If I haven’t succeeded by now, I never will. Besides, the last few contest entry results have knocked me on my rear.
- Home: Vermontville, N.Y.,
- Birthday: March 29, 1980
- Nordic Combined
Short List Performance
- 1998 Olympic Winter Games - 10th (Team), 34th (Individual)
- 2002 Olympic Winter Games - fourth (Team), 14th (Sprint), 19th (Individual)
- 2006 Ollympic Winter Games - seventh (Team), 15th (Individual), 25th (Sprint)
- 2007 World Championships silver medalist (15km individual)
- 2009 World Championships - gold (10km large hill), bronze (10km normal hill)
Demong's father, an environmental biologist, had him on cross country skis at age 3, racing at 5 and jumping at 10. After seven years in Larry Stone's Lake Placid program, Demong made the 1998 U.S. Olympic Team at age 17. His biggest hurdle came in the form of injury, a fractured skull suffered in 2002 that held him out of the 2003 season.
Okay, so Billy started at age three. Three! How many of us started writing then? I don't think so. Yes, it may take forever to sell, but at least we don’t usually fracture our skull in the process! :-) We just have to be patient and persistent. Do NOT give up.
Excuse #4: I can’t figure out my niche. I’ve tried my hand at three/four/twelve different genres and can’t find my voice.
- Home: Plattsburgh, N.Y.,
- Birthday: April 23, 1989
Event: Ski Jumping
Short List Performance
- 2006 Olympic Winter Games - 14th large hill
- 2009 National Championships - overall champion
- 2008 National Championships - first (large hill), third (normal hill)
- 2005 National Championships -12th (large hill), ninth (normal hill)
- 2004 National Championships - fifth (large hill), eighth (normal hill)
At 16, Johnson qualified for and competed in his first Olympic Winter Games, making himself the youngest U.S. Olympic ski jumper in history and the second youngest ever to be selected to the U.S. Olympic Ski Team. He continues to improve and climb higher on the medal stands with a first and third place finish at the 2008 National Championships and a gold medal at the 2009 National Championships.
At 3 years old, Johnson followed his sister, Alissa, off a 20-meter ski jump with no helmet and landed, thus beginning his career in ski jumping.
You can’t always get it right the first time. You might have to take a risk and fail. And you know what? Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump!
Excuse/Lie #5: So-and-so has had such an easy journey to publication and has had immediate success. It’s just not fair.
- Home: Norwich, Vt.,
- Birthday: Feb. 26, 1986
Freestyle Skiing - Moguls
Short List Performance
- 2006 Olympic Winter Games - 22nd
- 2005 World Champion
- 2009 World Championships bronze medalist (dual moguls), 14th (moguls)
- 2009 World Cup Season Champion
Kearney's results have been as bumpy as the terrain she navigates in competition. From a World Champion at 18 years old to 22nd at the Olympic Winter Games a year later to 14th at the 2009 World Championships to the overall World Cup crown to finish the 2009 season. It's hard to say how Kearney will fare at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, but she will certainly be one to watch out for.
Kearney started skiing at age 2, coming up through the Ford Sayre program and Nick Preston's Black and Blue Trail Smashers Team at Waterville Valley, N.H. Prior to winning four Junior World Championships in moguls, she was a high school state soccer and track champion. Once Kearney narrowed her focus to moguls full-time, she won two competitions in her first World Cup season at age 17. She missed the 2007 World Championships due to a torn knee ligament, then missed three weeks in 2008 with a concussion.
We’d assume someone who’s made the Olympic team has it made, but it’s not always easy, and there’s no guarantee. The same with writing. Sometimes the path God takes us on is very different from the path He’ll lead someone else on. And often, it isn’t the easiest path. But we each have our own path that we need to focus on. Plus, as a good parent usually has to say at some point: life isn’t always easy! :-)
I hope you’ll be encouraged by these athletes and stay on your writing journey. And speaking of journey, can you share with us what’s been going on with your writing lately? Share both the thrills of victory and agonies of defeat.