It came to me today as I listened to the achievements of the cricketer making 200 runs on debut at Lords, that while he is most certainly talented and possesses a formidable determination, he could not have stood out there on his own. He needed a team mate at the other end and perhaps more importantly, all those people on the opposing team that he desperately wanted to beat. The cricketer comes from a sporting culture that nurtures and adores it’s athletes. In this country they are seen as individuals sprouting out of the group of ‘almost-made-it’s’. No-one seems to stop and give credit to people who have given up just as many hours to the sport but don’t happen to have that extra long reach or whatever it is that separates them from the high achiever. An no-one looks at creatives in that way. But why not? At first glance you would think there is little to connect scoring 200 runs in a cricket match to being a writer but I think there is. From time to time I get dazzled by the thought of big prize money and I enter competitions. Each time I do this, I expect to win. More often than not, I don’t but the time (note the singluar context here!) I did, it was wonderful. For once I was not the support crew but a bonefide winner. What I failed to notice amidst the fuzz of newfound confidence, is that without everyone else entering the competition, my win would have been pointless. You need to know your story came up against 100 others written in the expectation that they too wanted to win. The same goes for the everyday churning out of words in the hope of having someone, one day, read your book. The world is awash with wonderful books and digital content and sometimes I wonder why I’m sitting here doing this day after day with no hope of reaching the dizzy heights of excellence. But I do it for that one reader who says you wrote an awesome story. And the one reader that turns into two…. and it doesn’t take much to make you realize that all the Chris Hammers, Trent Daltons and Elizabeth Strouds in this world, are just a fingertip away. And that not only are they relying on their readers and other writers to give them an edge, but they have the team physio and manager (aka editors and agents), to help them play their best.
That puts the day in perspective.