This past weekend, my 12 year old daughter ran her first triathlon. It was a spur of the moment thing. My husband has done a few triathlons for his own amusement, fitness, and sense of personal accomplishment. He heard about a local kids’ event and asked Gina if she wanted to try it.
It wasn’t until they arrived that my husband realized 90% of the kids participating had been in a 12-week training course to prepare for the event. Ooops. But you know what? Gina did fine. She had fun and finished solidly in the middle of the group.
Most of the parents present that day were cheerful and friendly. They were there for fun. They cheered on all the kids, clapped as the contestants finished each event, and shouted “Way to go! Good job! Keep it up! Looking good!” at their own kids and everyone else’s. The only parents who did not behave that way were … can you guess? … parents of the kids expected to finish in the top twenty.
The real competitors.
These parents did not clap for other children. They didn’t even clap for their own. They stood to the side, keeping their eyes peeled for that one custom wetsuit or elite racing bike. As their children finished each event, they didn’t shout encouragement; they shouted critiques: “You blew that dismount! Next time, push harder at the end!” My daughter recalls running beside a girl who was clearly exhausted in the final leg and hearing her mother scream, “What are you doing? Pass that girl!” (meaning Gina)
If that’s what competition means, I want no part.
I’ve got 300+ followers on this blog, and most of you are other writers. If you think about it, you guys are my competitors. If you’re published, your book competes with mine. If you’re querying or on submission, you might end up in competition with me for the attention of agents and editors – and the money available at a publishing house for acquisitions. Your book might end up next to mine on a shelf in the store, and readers will have to choose between us.
By rights, we ought to bashing each other down.
But I have never seen any such thing – at least not among the writers I’ve encountered. Experienced authors I met while publishing WHTD referred me to their own agents. Every week, I see blogging authors enthusiastically promoting each other’s releases. We give query critiques to one another and offer pitch contests on our blogs. And I am proud to be a part of this group.
I know it’s not all like that. I’ve heard about “review wars” between authors on Amazon. Heck, I even had to leave Amazon Vine because the reviewers were sabotaging each other’s review rankings. (Really? Yes, really.)
Anyway, that kind of competition leaves me cold, and I just wanted to end this week cheering all of you on. Whether you are drafting, revising, querying, submitting, publishing, reviewing, promoting, or plotting out your next project … Way to go! Looking good! Keep up the good work!