Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Write Like A Champion

I saw an interesting interview program the other day, quite by accident. I normally don't watch TV, much less news and "personality" shows. I watch NetFlix. Right now I'm hooked on "Downton Abbey", an amazing piece of English television, a genuine visual novel masterpiece. But more about that in the next post. Suffice it to say that if you want to see how writing turns what could be a boring yarn turn into an amazing study of people, character and motivation, watch that show.

The program I watched featured George Clooney, Warren Buffet and Bon Jovi. Quite a mix. All very wealthy, all doing the TV bit to show you around their digs, and very nice digs they were, too. What I noticed was that Warren Buffet had a sign over the door in his office: "Play Like A Champion". That is a copy of the sign which hangs in the Notre Dame locker room. Knute Rockne. The Four Horsemen. All of that glory and tradition and, yes, championship. Success at the highest level.

Okay. Segue to Bon Jovi, who has only sold 350,000,000 records or so and earned a billion dollars doing it. Not bad for a kid from New Jersey, where he still lives. Not the same house, though. He took the TV audience on a little tour, including his recording studio. There on the wall was...

You guessed it. A sign that said "Play Like A Champion".

Maybe these folks are on to something. Clooney didn't have a sign but I think it's safe to say he's made it to the Champion category. If he can act like a champion, if WB can invest like a champion, if Bon Jovi can play like a champion, you and I can write like a champion. Champions, to be grammatically correct. That got me thinking about champions and what makes them so. What do champions do?

  • They never quit
  • They take all obstacles as challenges to be met and overcome
  • They never stop improving their skills
  • They never stop studying and learning
  • They never think it's "good enough"
  • They always believe in their ability
  • They see setbacks as an opportunity to get better at what they do
  • They listen to people who know more than they do
  • They seek coaching and direction
  • They give everything they have to their field
  • They stay totally focused
  • They are generous in victory and gracious in defeat
  • They never buy into the idea that it is someone else's fault if they fail
  • They always explore new avenues to accomplish their goals

I could find more thoughts about it, but you have your own. It's clear to me that becoming a successful writer means thinking like a champion. So I now have that sign right on my computer. Write Like A Champion.

It's a hell of a challenge.


  1. A much needed pep talk for me today, Alex. Well done.

    1. We all need to keep going. The Dalai Lama says the same thing: "Never give up. No matter what, never give up."

  2. Great pep talk! And I'm 100% with you on Downton Abbey. It's giving us a great look at history while presenting us with emotions people of any era can relate to. Also, I've been noticing they use very modern techniques of editing. Every scene stops just before the end: just before you see the OMG thing around the corner. It's helping me see where my chapters need to be cut to create cliffhangers.

    1. Hi Anne, Thanks. I just posted on Downton Abby. I hadn't been thinking of the editing per se, so that is a great comment and bears on the point of the new post.

      Nice to hear from you.


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