our stories, ourselves

The Athleticism of Craft: 7 Attributes of Elite Writers & Illustrators

by | writing craft and process

My partner is a sailboat racer. She and her fellow racers read a lot of what’s called “sailing porn”– magazines, articles, books, pamphlets, blogs, newsletters all about sailing, boats, and racing. They can’t get enough. This week she shared an article with me from Scuttlebutt Sailing News called “Seven Attributes of Elite Athletes,” saying “Look at this! All of this applies to writers and illustrators!” 

The article opens with these words: “In sailing, there are many uncontrollable factors that are constantly changing…Athletes [learn] to deal with these elements with confidence and trust in themselves.”  It goes on to list seven factors elite level sailors take into account to reach excellence. 

Substitute “writer” or “illustrator” for “sailor” and these seven factors couldn’t be more pertinent and applicable to the creative process and to the publishing process. Take a look at these seven factors:

1. Have a Clear Purpose and Vision

2. See Adversity as Only an Obstacle

3. Accept Failing as a Learning Tool

4. Know What You Can or Cannot Control

5. Develop Thoughts and Beliefs that Match Your Values and Goals

6. Remain Coachable

7. Focus on the Process

How do these factors apply to your goals as a creative artist? 
How do these factors apply to your publishing goals?

These are attributes of elite athletes. These are attributes of elite writers and illustrators, of artists of all kinds. These are attributes that contribute to living our lives with confidence and trust in ourselves. Ready? On our marks… Get set… Go!

(c) emma d dryden, drydenbks

drydenbks LLC

drydenbks LLC: emma d dryden’s company offers editorial & publishing consultancy services to children’s book creators & producers. www.drydenbks.com