Tuesday, 20 July 2010

It's the losing that matters

Losing. You will. I will. I have and so have you. In fact, I've lost far far more than I've ever won, and that's probably true for most.
Last week I lost the Branford Boase award to Lucy Christopher.
I know, I couldn't believe it either! After all, her book, Stolen, doesn't have a single Templar in it at all!
The truth is, while it was an honour to be nominated, it would have been a greater honour to win. Obviously.
But what can we, the losers of the world, do? A few months ago I attended a young writers award ceremony and the same thought occured, what becomes of the losers? Would they give up writing? Have a little cry and soldier on? Throw a tatrum? Or rationalize why they lost? This wasn't fair, nor was that, etc.
Things to remember:
1. There's always someone more talented than you.
2. And it doesn't matter.
What matters is getting up, dusting yourself off, picking up the pen, tennis racket, football, bat, whatever, and carrying on regardless. Losing is a far better test of character than winning could ever be.
So, I'd like to celebrate some of the greatest losers of the world, and my heroes.
1. Napoleon. Died on a lonely island in the middle of the ocean. But did he rock the world and defined an age.
2. Hector. The loser in the big fight in the Iliad but the paragon of what a loyal, dedicated soldier should be. The perfect HERO.
3. Wild E Coyote. You could do much worse than model your attitude towards defeat than by following his. The same applies to the Vulture Squadron.
4. Dracula. Comes back from the dead time and time again. He's been staked, burnt, drowned, beheaded, drilled full of garlic and he's still at it. Learnt nothing, the poor bloke, but nevertheless, I salute his tenacity.
5. The 300 Spartans. Slaughtered to a man, but never lost their cool nor the pithy one-liners.


kathryn evans said...

Lol and lol again! So timely squire , tvm. ( Not the Squire reference - this is what comes of me reading your books, just know your place and all will be well :O)

Nick Cross said...

Too right - success is not a learning experience and it can make some people totally insufferable. Look at all those idiots on The Apprentice!

Katherine Roberts said...

Ah, but you were shortlisted and got to go to the party! That's not losing properly... losing properly is coming in LAST, being ignored, or - as you say - not doing whatever it is in the first place...

Seriously, though, I think all books that make a shortlist are potential winners. So much depends on the judges' preferences, and even their mood on the day they read them. It's certainly not going to stop me reading yours!

Anonymous said...

Very true! I've learned that losing, or struggling through something, teaches me far more than winning or having it come easily. Of course, I may feel differently if I started winning at everything :)

SarwatC said...

What I should have emphasised is losing is not defeat. Given up is defeat.
I hope you will read mine!