What Can We Learn As Writers From The Paralympics?


I’m on my way to the Paralympics in London this morning. Like most of the country, if not the world, I’ve been obsessed with the watching of it on the television. Finally I am getting the chance to savour the atmosphere first hand.

I’ve been so impressed and in awe of the athletes as I watch them all achieve individual victories, and so I am going to attempt to pull out some things that we can learn as writers from the incredible Paralympians.

Commitment and Discipline

In most interviews I’ve watched with able bodied Olympians they explain how the Paralympians actually train harder and for longer periods. They have to do this in order to overcome their disability and still train to an adequate schedule. They train every single day and sacrifice many other parts of their life in order to achieve.

As writers we should also be committed to working every day, and by doing this we will have sacrifices that we must make. We will miss out on certain parts of life but this is necessary so that we can complete our novels. If bestselling writers are like Olympians then like the Paralympians, new writers must work harder in order to be recognised.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Most Paralympians have to adapt their technique and style so that they can still compete with their individual disability. They need to be open-minded and be curious enough to try different approaches to see what works for them.

It is so important for writers to be flexible so they can continue to churn the words out even though an unconventional life presents certain challenges. Being flexible with the times of the day we write, being flexible with the way that we write, being flexible with even our subject matter; all of these things are vital to be a success.

Self-Belief and Confidence

The Paralympians, like all athletes, have to possess a self-belief that they can win or at least compete. But Paralympians need to have a special belief in themselves because at some point in their lives they have been faced with a decision to believe that they can do something about a dreadful set of circumstance, or simply do nothing. The inner strength and confidence that is needed to make this decision is incredibly inspirational.

Obviously as writers we must have the confidence to attempt to write a book in the first place, and secondly to get it published and stick our head above the parapet. All of this takes self-belief but if we didn’t love doing it then we wouldn’t bother even starting.

There are many more things that I think we could learn from these amazing athletes, but these are definitely three attributes that I admire the most. Is there anything that you’ve learnt from watching that can help us in our day-to-day lives?

What d'you think?

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