I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, August 13, 2012

Going for the Gold

By Jennie Atkins

I watched Michael Phelps swim his way to his final victory. Twenty-two Olympic medals to his name. He tested his endurance, he shattered records, and he kept his goal in mind. Did you know the greatest number of medals won by any one person at the Olympics had been 12? He surpassed it by 10. No small feat.

His first races in this year’s Olympics weren’t as impressive, but he kept pushing forward, not letting his mistakes or failures slow him down. He analyzed what he did wrong then got back in the water swimming harder and faster than before.

1 Corinthians 9:24 states: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” That’s exactly what Michael Phelps did and why he’s been labeled, The Greatest Olympic Athlete of All Time.

I look at my life and wonder…am I an Olympic runner? Sometimes I believe I wouldn’t have even made it to the tryouts. Other times, I’m ahead of the pack sprinting to the finish line the goal clearly in sight.

As writers, are we doing our best, practicing, learning as much as we can so we can go to the race and win? Then, as in Phelps case, when he made it to the Olympics, faltering on his first races, do we keep going or do we give up? When we receive a rejection do we stop there, or learn from it? When we get a bad critique, do we throw it into the trash, complaining about the person who wrote it, or do we get over it and press on?

I have written six manuscripts with none of them being published yet. Do I complain? Do I get frustrated? You bet. I’ll be the first to admit my guilt. But when I finally put things into perspective, I go back and reconsider the information I was given and try to learn from it. Try to see if truly my work of art (and I use that term loosely because I know I’m still a work-in-process) is flawed.

I also have faith that God instilled a dream in me and that he wouldn’t give it to me if he didn’t want me to go for the gold and win the race. My prayers are that I am running the race God has given me in such a way as to win His prize. How about you?

What are you doing to Go for the Gold?


  1. Hello! We look forward to your nice blog. Human thought and action is different at all, if there is a charm, I think. They are grateful to God. From Japan. Ryoma Sakamoto.

  2. Jennie, I watched the Olympics most evenings and really enjoyed them. I loved the determination of the athletes, their discipline and team spirit.

    Having 6 manuscripts is great! It shows you're not reworking the same story over and over. WHEN you sell, you will have 6 books right off the bat to offer your editor. I'm so proud of your accomplishments. Some writers don't make it past their first manuscript.

    As for me, I'm going for the gold by trying to make each manuscript better. I consider feedback, see how that relates to my story, discuss it with my editor and move forward. But most of all, I want to be obedient to the calling God has asked of me. If I can write to glorify Him, then I've gone for the gold.

  3. Jennie, I hope you're the next Ponderer to sell! Then, those manuscripts can be enjoyed by all.

    Yes, I love the Olympic spirit too! Like Lisa, if my writing glorifies God that's gold.

  4. Wow, I prayed for this a.m. knowing I'll post tonight that tomorrow's your day. Heard that slow-growing trees have denser stronger wood, are preferred for building that must last, and verse/song Zephaniah 3:17.

  5. Thank you Ryoma for your kind words!

  6. Lisa,
    Although I have written six manuscripts, I think only three of them are truly ready. My journey has been a gradual learning experience of which I'd rather not have anyone see my first attempts! LOL

  7. Roxanne,
    Thank you for your encouragement. One day - in God's timing, it will happen. If not, then that has been his will too.

  8. I feel woefully inadequate in my Olympic awareness this year. I only had a chance to watch a couple events here and there. But even in those few minutes of catching gymnastics or swimming on TV, I was inspired...I want to work hard...and harder...and harder each step of the way. That's what an Olympian does--when they think they can't push themselves any further, they push themselves further. I never want to get complacent.

  9. Dee,
    Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words.I pray you are right. Each revision has been an effort in learning more and moving forward.

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  11. Jennie,

    I watched some of the Olympics. It made me think of just how much pressure those athletes were under.

    6 manuscripts is a major accomplishment Jennie! Talk about running your race. Keep going!

    Alena T.

  12. Thanks for your thoughts on perseverence!

  13. Six manuscripts! Six "The Ends". WOW! I am impressed, girlfriend. You have great perseverance and like Lisa said, it's not if, but when you get published!

  14. Jennie, apparently Blogger ate my earlier comment after showing me it had "made it through." :) I loved your post and your encouragements. I needed those today.

    I am going for the gold in my roles of wife, mother and in learning the craft of writing. Each day is training toward the gold. :)

    So I have a question for you. How do you know when to lay a story aside? Is it after you write the rough draft? Do some revisions and edits? When you feel like it's as "done" as you can make it? Trying to figure this one out. :) Great post, Jennie!

  15. Alena,
    Thanks for your encouragement!

  16. Pat,
    Thank you for your kinds words. God's timing is perfect...if its to be...it will happen!

  17. Jeanne,
    I don't know if there is a right way to answer your question, I think you have to find what is right for you. I finish the ms with what I know now, submit it to publishers/agents. If there are no bites, I set it aside and start something else. But first I step back and decide what I learned from that book and apply it to the next story. Each time my WIP is a lesson-in-process.

    The way I look at is why should I keep revising the same story when I can start fresh on a new one with everything that I learned? It keeps my stories fresh and me fresh. By the time I get the ms ready for the publisher the first time, I'm so sick of it, I don't want to look at it any time soon. However, by putting them aside (and yes, I have everyone of the old ms)I can go back freshen it up at a later date for when my publisher asks for something extra from me.

    I hope that helps.

  18. I think any Olympian would tell you that there are times when they'd like to give up or times when they question if it's really worth it. But most dreams are costly. I've written 4 full length novels, and feel like I've learned something each time. Not all the lessons have something to do with fiction. But somehow I keep coming back to this: I can't not write.

  19. I am going for the gold by saying "No" to those things that take me away from my dream. And I am hanging with others who are pursuing their writings dreams with passion and focus and sacrifice -- because they inspire me!

  20. Teri,
    Congratulations on 4 full length novels. Although I can get discouraged, I too feel that I can't not write!