With the Olympics being the air we breathe in London right now, I was thinking about how writers compete against each other.

1. Learn from your rivals
They’re a spur; and a source of good ideas, not jealousy and paranoia

2. Use your agent (or a talented friend) as your trainer
Good feedback is essential

3. Work on your weak areas
Even though it’s more fun to do the bits you’re good at

4. Do your best
Writing is hard work; if it’s too hard or gets you down, find something else to do

5. Accept there are many factors out of your control
You can hit the zeitgeist exactly (by accident), your nearest rival can have an off day, your editor or producer can get promoted and take you up with them, bad weather keeps people indoors wanting to be entertained, the marketing people get inspired and do a particularly good job on your work. There are so many random factors that all you can do is focus on 1 – 4.

… and good luck to Victoria Pendelton today!

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