What a writer needs for Christmas – indomitability
Charlie Williams and I might not be expected to have a lot in common, but on two things we agree. Browsing his blog, which is a bit like drinking snakebite in the saloon bar of an East End pub while a grudge euchre match is being played, he crystallised something for me about what makes the difference between sucessful and unsuccessful writers. His post on archeology showed what a writer has to do to get their work in good shape. But it was his post on Desert Orchid that made the idea real.
What that exceptional and beautiful animal possessed was indomitability – it wasn’t that he EXPECTED to be a winner, but that he refused to be beaten. Behind him was a whole raft of trainers, riders, nutritionists etc who gave him the skills he needed, but the final magic ingredient was his own belief that he hadn’t lost until somebody else crossed the line first. Watch the video and see a beaten horse win. Then reflect on yourself. Do you do everything to be fit for your contest? Does each rejection send you back to see if there’s something you can do to be in a better position next time? And when you think you’re beaten, do you give up?
Desert Orchid was a force of nature, and like Charlie, I found his spirit so astonishing that I mourned when he died. He was a horse, a great horse, but only a horse. Given our talents, our skills, our wider understanding and our many ways to improve ourselves – can we do less than that amazing creature? Shouldn’t we be indomitable whenever we’re given the chance to compete?
Of course we should.
But indomitability also means being flexible, learning from mistakes, getting it more right every time – it’s not about ego, but about constant efforts to improve.
So I’m asking for indomitability for Christmas, and Desert Orchid will be my icon – not a bad image to hold in front of me as the rejections keep arriving …