It’s no Secret

It is no secret that successfully published authors possess many of the same character traits as an Olympian. A world-class swimmer swims hundreds of laps daily. An author sits alone and molds thousands of words into a single creative masterpiece.

What creates such herculean individuals? If everyone could glide over a hurdle like track and field super star Lolo Jones, or create unforgettable characters like multi-Rita winner Nora Roberts, the answer to this question would be a no-brainer. The truth is that the preparation of any major accomplishment begins years before the reward is reaped. It takes sweat and hard work to Go for the Gold

Are the daily habits of great achievers different from everyone else’s? Or is there some supernatural force at work? I don’t think so. If you look beyond the obvious, like setting and keeping goals, you’ll find the psychological traits that propel people into greatness. Some are God-given and others are developed through hard work.

Join me as I examine three of the characteristics successful athletes and authors share.  

They have integrity.

The dictionary defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honest.” To me, that means staying true to myself when facing challenges or distractions. Successful Olympians and authors lead hectic lives.  Personal issues, family and endorsement commitments, book signings, and conferences whittle away at their practice or writing schedules.

How do they remain on task? They leverage their personal integrity. Their commitment to being the best is greater than any outside obligations or rewards. They don’t lie to themselves. They realize that if they don’t put in the hard work, they won’t get good results.  Success doesn’t happen by chance. It happens by knowing what they want to achieve, and by staying true to a dream regardless of the obstacles life places before them.

They are positively motivated.

I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “I’m just not motivated.”  This is a total misconception. Everyone is motivated to do something. Even if they’re sitting around watching television all day instead of actively working toward achieving their goal, they’re motivated. The problem is that they’re negatively motivated.  They require outside inspiration.

Positive motivation is intrinsic. It comes from within a person and is not influenced by praise or monetary gains. When muscles scream for release during the last stretch of a twenty-six mile marathon, cross-country runners rely on their hours of training to cross the finish line. When authors struggle with writing a difficult scene, they rely on the hard work they’ve put into learning their craft. 

What drives this elite group?  From my own experiences as an athlete and a writer, I know that most of them shun praise and seek recognition. A person has to prove they are worthy to receive praise. This is extremely difficult because no one is perfect all the time. Recognition pays homage to the hard work a person has put into being the best he or she can be. 

They have self-confidence.

Top achievers listen to that small still voice in their head that tells them they are destined for greatness. This doesn’t mean they strut around with their chests poked out, believing they are better than anyone else. Instead, they recognize their own true worth and allow this belief to shatter their limitations.

Amy Purdy became the highest ranked adaptive female snowboarder in the world after having her legs amputated below the knees. She refused to allow the horrific result of bacterial meningitis to win. What compelled Amy forward after such adversity? What makes authors persevere after receiving numerous rejections or bad reviews?

Achievers like Amy Purdy respond to life with action. They look for solutions instead of getting bogged down in the negativity. The Olympian uses the latest technology to perfect his form and slash seconds off the clock. He gets up at four in the morning to practice even when his joints ache. The New York Times author never stops honing her writing skills. She moves on to the next story, believing that what she has to say is important. She files her latest rejection letter and continues writing her work-in-progress.

What I’m writing about is persistence. It does pay off in the end. So look forward to the future with enthusiasm, because it’s no secret that when you expect something good to happen, and belief in it enough to work hard to achieve it, your dream will come true. 

Do you have what it takes to achieve your publishing dreams? If so, I would love to help you along your journey. Submit three chapters and a synopsis of your completed novel or your entire novella to me at pamela.varnado@gildeddragonflybooks.com.

 

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “It’s no Secret

  1. Hello. Thanks for stopping by my blog. My hope is to provide you with the skills needed to successfully move ahead in your career. If you any questions, please jot them down below. I promise to respond to each and every one.

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  2. Ann Riley

    That was so inspiring and encouraging. And successful writers look for encouragement from articles like that.

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  3. Marilyn Baron

    You are so right. Tenacity and hard work are key ingredients to success. Never give up. A book of mine that’s about to be published was started ten years ago. I didn’t work on it the whole time, of course, and it changed dramatically, but I believed in it and was determined to get it published..

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  4. Sia Huff

    Great blog Pam, as always. I love your line “…staying true to a dream regardless of the obstacles life places before them.” Just the inspiration I needed this morning. Thanks 🙂

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  5. Hi Pamela!
    I love that you compared writing professionally with the trials and tribulations of elite athletes. I’m with you 100%!
    It’s tough being an athlete. Like you, I was one, and every day I took to the pool and swam hundreds of Laos, literally, was a trial. So too is writing.
    Hard work, confidence and perseverance pay off in every aspect of life.
    Sometimes it’s hard to remember that, but great posts like this one help us keep on track.
    Loved your words of wisdom.
    Have a GREAT weekend,
    Tamara 🙂

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  6. I meant laps, not Laos…darn auto correct 🙂
    What the heck is Laos anyway…time to hit the dictionary!

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  7. Ann, seeking out my daily dose of encouragement is as important as my morning cup of caffeine. Both get me going.

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  8. I feel you Marilyn. My current WIP is a novel I started a few years ago. I’ve written things in between, but I always return to that story. I believe in it and the characters won’t let me forget them.

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  9. Tamara, thanks for commenting. I love how you and I cherish our past accomplishments. It’s our own little built in motivation.

    I learned at an early age that nothing is free. If I want something I have to work hard for it. Which is a good thing because anything worth having is worth working hard to get. I appreciate it more. Knowing that keeps me focused. Smooches.

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  10. Great post, Pam! And perfect timing. I was a productive little bee last weekend, only to reach Monday and Tuesday of this week and realize all my motivation was *gone*. Looking back, I think I just needed a break, because it IS important to always stretch to the finish line.

    Thanks for the great reminder!

    Elaine

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  11. Sandra Elzie

    Hi Pamela,
    Great article…a very apt comparison. Whatever you want to achieve in life, it will take patience, practice & perseverance. Oh, and a big dose of tenacity. 🙂

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    • Thanks for stopping by Sandra. I’m always reminding myself that if it’s to be, it’s up to me. I’ve got to keep pushing. As a past track and field athletic, I know the race is won when the finish line is in sight.

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  12. A very inspirational blog, Pamela. When you compared writing to preparing for an Olympic event, I realized I’m not working hard enough or smart enough.

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    • Connie, we all slow down at times. It’s part of the process. Besides, it gives us a chance to soak in what we’ve learned. Even athletes take time off. You were just taking a break. It’s okay. I know for a fact that you are not only a hard worker, you’re one of the smartest women I know.

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  13. Elaine, taking time for yourself is important. It goes along with being kind to yourself. I tended to get frustrated whenever I didn’t meet my goals. Then I realized the emotion only bogged me down more. Now I just remind myself that I’m doing the best I can. It’s much kinder and it really works.

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  14. I so agree Pam! The only one I might slightly disagree with is the self-confidence. I know a lot of successful authors who lack in that aspect. But, they do have one thing in common. The drive to try to earn that self-confidence by being all of those other things you mention. I think a lot of us gain self-confidence by have a measure of that success. When a publisher requests your book for the first time. How could it not give you a greater measure of confidence??
    At least that’s how it feels for me…?

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    • Thanks for commenting, Mary. Self-confidence is fleeting, especially if based solely on accomplishments. That’s why I try to build it from the inside out. If I put forward my best effort, I feel good, no matter what I the outcome shows. It’s the only way I can avoid an emotional rollercoaster.

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  15. Such a great post, Pam!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  16. Hey, Romily. I’m excited you stopped by. How’s the book launch for your YA novel going? I can’t wait to read it.

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  17. Pam, I thought I commented yesterday, but sometimes I forget a step or 2. You always inspire! I am so pleased you are with us!

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  18. I read your blog last night after getting off my shift last night but I was a little too blurry eyed to coment then. We’d just finished a nine-hour search for two missing officers. Thanks to a multiple agency effort, both were located. That shift is why I love, and hate, my job. It is a roller-coaster of emotions.

    I equate writing to my profession. Characters get in my head, demanding to tell their tales. Putting words on paper is the easy part. Convincing agents and editors to read my stories, well, that’s as tough as getting a fireman to rescue a cat out of a tree. Bottom line: when did you last see a kitty skeleton tangled on a tree branch?

    Fierfighters don’t like climbing up to rescue animals who can scramble up and down trees better than they can. Meanwhile, my knights continue to scheme with priests and Deities while my heroine dodges assassins.

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  19. Hi Diana. First Let me say that I admire what you do what for a living. It takes courage and strength to endure emotional situations day after day. I’m sure the people you encounter get in your head like your characters. It’s good that you use writing as an outlet. it’s a great way to release stress and work through your problems. Take care and thanks for commenting.

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  20. Pam,, you really hit the nail on the head. All those attributes you listed are found in Olympians and in successful writers. Tenacity is another, sometimes undervalued trait. Believe in yourself and stick to it…Thanks for the great blog.

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  21. Pam, what a great post. You identified traits common to success not only in writing, but in life. Support, inspiration and encouragement fuel the fire inside of all of us.

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  22. Jennifer GMQ

    Hi Pam!

    Thank you for your post. I agree that positivity, persistence and believing in yourself is the key to success in anything you do in life. I’m so glad that you reminded us that we must continue to think positive and have faith in ourselves. As long as we stay focused, listen to our hearts and tap into our inner strength we can manifest our dreams!

    Thank you for reminding us of this, and helping us to stay on track with our writing goals.

    Blessings,
    Jennifer Greenaway-MacQuan

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  23. i love your post. accountability, tenacity and integrity to our chosen craft, it was an honor to read it. yasi

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