I read this comparison in a writing magazine or on a writing website—I can’t remember which. If you know the source, please tell me, as I want to give credit to this person. The comparison, as the title of this post suggests, is that writing is like the Olympics. If you want to go to the Olympics, you can train and train in your sport for years, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get to go. You can come really close and still miss it.
Writing is the same way, according to this article I read. You can write and workshop your stories and submit your work—and still not manage to make a successful career at it. Getting published can be your dream forever, but you may not achieve it.
When I first read this, I’ll admit I felt a bit frightened. I love writing and I really want my work to be out there someday (preferably sooner rather than later!) but there’s obviously no guarantee that will happen. There is a positive in this situation, though: we writers have a lot more time to achieve our goals than aspiring Olympians do. In pretty much all sports, there is an age range in which you have to achieve your goal. It can be a wider range for some sports than others (think of how little time female gymnasts have to compete at the Olympic level before they’ve “peaked” and have to retire), but there’s still a range. At least with writing, you don’t have to get published by the time you’re twenty or else resign yourself to giving up on it forever.