If you had tuned in to any of the news channels this past fortnight you could be forgiven for thinking that the Syrians had stopped shooting at each other, the recession was over and the ice caps had stopped melting. I must admit, it's nice to hear mostly good news for a change.
I'm sure that most people couldn't fail to be moved by the efforts of all the Olympic competitors, whether they are winners or also-rans, British or foreign. A lot has been written in the press and talked about on TV about how the games will inspire the youth of this country. Inspire them to do what, they don't make clear. But I suppose they mean, first and foremost, to take up sport. Secondly I imagine they expect people to be inspired in their everyday lives. Nice sentiments but easier said than done.
It's good to see our British athletes doing well in so many events. A lot of the time they make it seem so easy. Which, in my opinion, could be the problem. Before they can reach Olympic standards these people have to work hard for years. Going to the swimming pool for a couple of hours before school, getting out on the bike on a freezing Sunday morning, going on a ten mile run after work etc. How many aspiring young athletes will lose interest after attending a few sessions at their local track? Especially if the weather is bad.
David Brailsford, Performance Director of British Cycling and General Manager of Tour de France winners Team Sky, gave an interview on BBC this morning where he emphasised the importance of commitment. He also claimed that, in the course of attaining your goals, you will lose more than you win. Which just confirms what I've always thought. You learn more from losing than from winning.
So it is in writing. Which is why I don't throw away my rejection letters. They are there to remind me how much hard work I've put in when that acceptance e-mail suddenly appears in my Inbox. When I hear of some new author that has their very first manuscript accepted by a publisher, I imagine all the other would-be novelists thinking they can emulate this feat, only to give up after one knock-back. Which brings us to Dave's point about commitment. Talent is no good without it.
Happy writing, everybody. Keep at it.