Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bah-RING It!

So by now anyone who has read this blog for any length of time has figured out what a competitive individual I am. Yes, yes, I know, some say high levels of competitiveness aren’t healthy, but I have to say, I disagree. Nothing gets me fired up like knowing I have an opportunity to challenge myself, or push myself and nothing makes me do that like competition. You feel alive, like anything is possible. How can that be unhealthy??

Now, don’t get the wrong idea – I’m not one of these ‘win at all costs’ types. In fact, to be honest, for me the big fun isn’t in the winning, it’s in the competing itself. Winning is just the gravy. Not to say I don’t prefer winning over losing, but since to me the only true lose is when you don’t try at all, I’m usually pretty satisfied just being in the game. Those who have the ‘win at all costs’ mentality often lose the point. They focus on the destination and completely miss the journey. And the journey is the best part.

When you compete, you give it your all. You go out there, not knowing what the outcome will be, you face your adversary in whatever shape or size they shows up in, and you take them on. For me, competition has always been a pretty good metaphor for life. I never wanted to be one of those people who sat on the sidelines and watched someone else play the game. Probably why I love sports, but much prefer playing to watching it on TV.

I attack my writing in the same way. Anyone doing this knows the obstacles that we face, but rather than dwell on them, I prefer to focus on plowing through them, one at a time, keeping my eye on the bigger picture and enjoying each accomplishment, each victory as I go. Setbacks are not a failure, but rather just a chance to try again. The only failure is giving up. Or worse, never trying at all.

When someone heard I was a writer, they asked me if I was published. I said, ‘No, not yet. But I’m enjoying the process.’

And when I am published, I’ll enjoy the gravy.

9 comments:

julia said...

Something that actors talk about a lot is 'process'. Some actors enjoy the process of creating the character more than the final performance. And musicians often enjoy the pure joy of jamming than the tedium of recording. I think if you love your art form, the process is the true joy. Seeing the characters in your mind is just as marvellous as picking up a physical book with a cover and your name on it. Most people need a goal to strive for - physical book, for example - but can we stop ourselves from coming up with more scenes? More stories? Probably not...

Rene said...

My dh is extremely competitive, for the exact same reasons as you. He hates to lose but he also believes in fair play. When people mention his competitiveness, he answers who wants a lawyer that doesn't mind losing? So I think it is fine and will help you in the long run.

I think you have the right attitude about writing. As much as we want to pretend it isn't, the quest to get published is a competition. We should be competing with ourselves to be better.

Erin said...

Speaking of sports & competitiveness, Kelly, how are your pool playing skills these days? ;)

Actually, those "Pool Parties" were quite fun, even if "First Place" wasn't in the cards...

Kelly said...

Hey we came in second one year! And sadly we don't do the pool playing anymore. I miss the good ole days of fluke shots and sunken 8 balls.

Melissa Marsh said...

I like competing against myself, seeing if I can come up with something better than I did the first time. I think it's a healthy - and necessary - attitude for writers.

Michelle said...

Competition is a good thing! Even better when you put that level of energy into writing. Best of luck meeting your goals this year!

Lexi said...

What a wonderful way of looking at competition! Very healthy, I'd say!

Bailey Stewart said...

I think you have a healthy attitude towards competition. The old cliche is true - it isn't whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.

We need to constantly challenge ourselves or we're existing instead of living.

Julie S said...

What a great attitude! I wish I were more competitive, then I'd push myself more. But I'm not. So I don't. :-)