When you play a tennis match, you either win or you lose. So, think about how many times tennis players lose.
Roger Federer, World Number One and arguably the greatest player in history STILL LOSES (he lost last month in the semis of the French Open to Djokovic, for example).
And every time they lose a match, it hurts. A bit like it hurts when our work is rejected or not accepted, for whatever reason.
If you’re a professional tennis player, you’d better get used to the pain of losing. And if you’re a writer, getting your work turned down is part of the deal, too.
When you’re a writer, or a tennis player, you have to be mentally tough – and have lots of self-belief – to keep on going. Professional tennis players don’t give up the game whenever they lose a match, just like successful writers grit their teeth and keep plugging away, even when they have enough rejection slips to wallpaper the lounge.
Every time a tennis player loses a match, he learns from it. Before tomorrow, you can bet that Murray will be going over (and over and over) videos of the last two Grand Slam finals he played against Federer – when he lost – because he wants to learn from his mistakes.
Every time you write something and it gets rejected, it hurts. But the process of writing and then, if it’s not accepted, trying to work out why, is an opportunity to get a bit better.
As someone much cleverer than me once said, “No writing is wasted. All writing is practice for better writing.” So, what are you waiting for? Get practising!
Phew – end of lecture. 🙂
Just to say – what’s with all that ‘pointing in the air’ that Murray does now at the end of a winning match? He won’t tell anyone. There’s a story in there somewhere…
And finally, I think it’s only right to leave you with a picture of my favourite tennis player, now sadly retired: the fiery, the sexy (and here’s the link to writing)… the hero of my Mills & Boon, if I ever write one: Goran the Gorgeous, still the only man ever to win Wimbledon on a wildcard.