Watching all the athletes at the 2008 Olympics doing their best to win gold, you can't help but think how going for the gold can apply to almost every area of your life, including writing.
Unless you write purely for your own enjoyment, the goal of writing is publication and payment. It may be fun to write some things free for promotion or exposure, but writing also is a commodity that should increase in value with practice, effort and over time.
To become a gold medal writer means putting in the work - writing, learning, polishing, rewriting. It means taking the time and putting in the extra effort required.
A few thoughts on becoming a Writing Olympian:
Some writers say they can't write daily. But write as often as possible. The best athletes put in hours of training to reach possible gold. Don't shirk your preparation.
2. Be challenged
Any athlete or writer can get stagnant by not challenging themselves. Don't be content, thinking that with this book or this story, you've "made" it. I read somewhere that you "never arrive." Even Stephen King continues to try new things and push the envelope.
3. Be Positive, but Don't Put on Blinders
Be positive, but also be realistic. If something isn't working, don't be afraid to try something different. A certain approach may not work in your area or might not work for you. Everyone is different, so don't get discouraged and find what marketing, writing, promotion, etc. tips work for you.
4. Find a Good Coach
Even the best writers sometimes can't see the forest for the trees. Ask another writer to give your material a pre-read to catch those things you often overlook.
5. Be Proud of Your Efforts
Athletes do get disappointed when an error or something causes the gold medal to slip from their hands. Sportsmanship means congratulating the person who did win gold and being proud to have won the silver or bronze medal for your team and country.
No matter which level your writing is at, be proud of your accomplishments and continue to work, train, and strive to reach gold. Reaching the next level will not only help you improve your skills, but reach the real gold - a whole new audience of readers.