Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Passion, Determination and Plane Delays

Today I read about the Air Canada flight that was delayed because of the men's Olympic gold metal game.  It's never happened before in over seventy years of business.  Why did it happen now? 

Because of passion, determination and the will to win - only this time it was a terminal full of air travelers.  Air travelers who refused to board the plane until that last second of overtime was played.  The outcome of the game was out of their hands but yet I'm sure it felt as real as if they were playing on that ice.  They were willing to face the possibility of missing their flight and the costs involved with that to see the outcome. 

Writing fiction is like that.  If you want to succeed you've got to be willing to sacrifice.  It's the one profession where you can't just apply for the job.  Instead there's usually a period where you must work for someone else while working to get your writing career off the ground.  And of course there's the juggling of family and friends around all of that.  It's not easy and along the way I've seen many writers fall by the wayside.  Writers with talent to spare, whose determination for publication success seemed to flag at a certain point, sometimes before the first novel was finished, sometimes after the first few rejections.  Rather like runners trying to do the 400 meter and only used to the 100 meter dash they'd slow down, start and stop projects or unwilling to make further sacrifices, just quit altogether.  But I've seen other writers who have quit jobs, survived on pretty much air and succeeded through sheer determination.  There are a few that are lucky and the 100 meter dash provides the gold but for the majority it's the 400 meter over and over again.

It reminds me of watching a building being built in Thailand where cement was hauled up in buckets by pulley.  A long, frustrating process and one that required sheer determination.  Or the time I sat on a ferry docked in Malaysia and watching a slight little man carry  a 50 kg sack of sugar.  The sack slipped and fell into the ocean.  He dove in immediately, again and again and again.  At one point I was sure he would just give up.  But he never did and exhausted after numerous attempts, he finally struggled with that now soaked sack of sugar raising it out of the water.  A sack that if it didn't outweigh him before, surely did now.  But he wrestled with it until others finally helped him and his sack of sugar onto the dock.  I felt like cheering. 

That was determination.  More determination than most of us would have in that situation.  But for him that might have meant the difference between a paycheque that week or not.  Who knew what the stakes were.  And how high do the stakes have to be before you quit?  What are you willing to give up for something before a dream becomes an unreality? 

Me?  So far I seem to have given up sleep. You?

Or has all this talk about determination just exhausted you - Maybe a contest is just the thing to get you through the end of the winter blahs.  I stumbled across this site just the other day:  Books We Love



Lauren Carr said...

Yep, that's the life of a writer. We do it because we have the passion for it and we keep at it because of our determination to succeed.

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