Becoming an author is a bit like training for a marathon; not that I’ve run any marathons, unless dancing counts. The two do have a many aspects in common, including a finish line.
Runners make friends with other runners, participate in the same events during the year, train in similar methods to up their running game, and count themselves lucky. Along the way, they find a kind of happiness they find nowhere else. They are only themselves out on the track; no other roles need apply.
Writers do the same thing. We congregate on forums with other writers, discuss projects, problems and needs. The road to authorship is strewn with obstacles, just as runners’ abilities to tackle longer venues encounter injuries and setbacks, weather and personal needs. Writers train every day, if they want to be authors; coursework, submissions and rejections, social media platforms, and other obstacles that build and keep their writing abilities toned.
Within the framework of these career labels, stand three words that signify the relationship between these two careers; preparation, goals, and execution. If goals aren’t set by either the runner or writer, no progress is made. If proper preparation isn’t made, goal execution cannot move forward. Execution marshals the preparations necessary for each goal and advances the career onto the field.
Success on the field depends on one’s objective. A new marathoner might only desire to finish the race. For her, that spells success. For the veteran of the track, the triathlon is the goal each year, with faster times as a signal of improvement and success. For a new writer, the primary objective may be as simple as finishing a long piece of fiction and getting it to a polished state. Or, the objective for the established writer might be the development of a series that could get her a three-book deal.
Two tracks, two careers, similarities in each. As each type of marathoner ages in her career goals change, preparations come easier, and execution becomes a matter of habit. Over the length of the track there is time for the participant to think, evaluate, and decide about the next race, the next field. Nothing a consequence is firmed up at the starting line. Only the experience of the race can grant perspective.
During this month those who signed on for Robert LeeBrewer’s Author Platform Challenge stood at the starting line of a great field event. He promised to instruct all of us in what it takes to create a successful Author’s Platform. So far, he’s kept his promise.
We’ve learned about apps needed for everything from Time Management to Social Network updating. We’ve learned how to catch the eyes of those search engines everywhere and what to do in our blogs and on websites to increase traffic and comment numbers. Through it all, members of the field are cajoling each other, giving encouragement, and offering help to those still struggling with tech, time, and temperament.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Robert. He’s gone out of his way to see that we can stand on our own once we’re through this. But, more than that, he’s built a writing community that allows us to talk amongst ourselves. He’s put together a support structure that many will be using for a long time to come.
Thank you, Robert, for having patience with all of us and our questions and insecurities. You’re doing great!