Why being a Writer is like playing the Lottery

The scene: I’m about to clock out for the day and I make a money related comment.

“You should play powerball. It’s up to $100 million.” He the drawer I was on today in his hand and is about to audit it.

“Yea, but you forget I have the worst luck in the world. I would never win.” I stuff my vest and hat into my locker and pull on my sweatshirt.

“See, your luck can’t get any worse and it’s $100 million.”

I smirk and look at him.

“Hey, just don’t forget the little people when you win… You’ll probably go ‘Here Bob, here’s my beat up old truck.’ Just don’t forget us, ok?”

“Yea, right you know I wouldn’t.” He disappears into the office to check my drawer. “Hey, I’m leaving.”

“Wait, aren’t you going to check to make sure your drawer is ok?” I put the two dimes I had found on the break room table into the drawer. “If anything I’d be a cent short, but I’m not worried. If I did my job correctly I won’t be short.” The phone rings and he counts the drawer. I stay until he tells me I’m 24 cents over.

I walk through the store and I’m thinking about that powerball prize. It’d be nice wouldn’t it. Sure it would be. I don’t even know what I would do with that much money. Probably give most of it away and invest some of it. I say my goodbyes and walk out to my goodlooking, but piece of junk truck. I’d fix the truck up and use it to plow the small piece of land I’d buy. I’d buy that ecodiesel Ram and use it for my daily driver. I’d build a small barn and have my horses in my backyard. I’d write every day and I’d do some traveling. I’d donate money to the poor and most importantly I’d pay off my debts. I’d set some aside and I’d budget everything out.  I’d be smart; I wouldn’t be greedy. I’ve learned so much these past few years. Honest, I wouldn’t make mistakes! Oh how sweet the lure of money is.

You see, I’ve done all of this categorizing before. I’ve thought a lot about what I would do when I have millions of dollars. Most of the time my train of thought starts with: when I become a famous and wealthy novelist this is what I’ll do… The thought process isn’t all that different between gambling and writing. Both the lottery and writing require persistence, luck, steadfast devotion and the dream. Yes, there are those who make it and make a little money. Like that person who wins twenty grand with a scratch game. There are those who win a few writing competitions and there are those who win a little bit of money off scratch tickets. (I hope you follow those sentences- to me they are vague; a peculiar kind of vague. I’ll have to re-read it again later)

Then there are those who win a dollar or two after spending several hundred dollars hoping and praying they’ll get lucky. Those are the writers that take the courses and do their due diligence but never make progress. After years of squirreling away their hopes and dreams they put down their pen or their lucky scratch penny or stop playing their numbers. Of course, it is the next day that the numbers are called or the writer sees a story very similar to theirs go viral.

Writing, of course, is more than luck- it is dedication and editing and the constant revision of words, ideas and themes. It is creating characters that are real, believable and relatable. It is having a storyline that makes sense as well as the ability to write words that flow and are free from filters, add-ons and confusion.  (Alas, I have much work to do when it comes to this.)

The lottery is a bit more basic than that. It doesn’t need a person who can create in depth stories but it does need a person who can figure out patterns, algorithms and has the dedication needed to make sure their numbers work. Sure, there are rules and regulations to prevent people from guessing which numbers are “lucky” but in writing there are agents, publishers and the general population that functions in much the same way.

Yes, once in a while there are unexpected wonders– people who seem to “win” out of the blue. Those are few and far between. Of course, I’d love to believe that I would win the powerball lottery- that my luck would change and my world would be turned upside down. Isn’t the lure of gambling? Isn’t that why there are addicts? I also believe there are people addicted to writing- addicted to the hope of succeeding when the odds are against them. Maybe I should start up Writers’ Anonymous. 

What do you think?

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After Christmas

‘Tis the season of joy, gratitude and thanksgiving. Of believing that the words written are word written true. A time to reflect and to hope and to believe.

So, I as I sit here wondering why going forward feels so much like I’m going backwards there are other things I want to voice; to write about and yet I don’t write them.

A true writer writes the truth without regard to the feelings of others. They march up to that soap box and they proclaim their beliefs and they shout that they have the best view on things. I guess I don’t even know where I want to begin or end. It’s like my mind is spinning so fast; so out of control that the cogs are threatening to break apart; to fly off into oblivion and I’m getting sick from all of this stress.

This post isn’t what I wanted it to be. There was so much more that I wanted to write. So much more organization and structure and depth. Alas, none of it has come to pass.

Watching Castle Yields Results

I’m catching up on last night’s episode of Castle. He just said “Every fantasy story is based on a kernel of truth. An experience that powerful is going to find its way onto the page.”

Isn’t that why we write? We are moved and convinced that we have to express what we feel. Yet, we can’t explain what we feel to others so we write. We write in journals, online, we draw, we paint and create poetry, limericks, prose and stories. We write memoirs and essays. Jot down technical description and codexes. We create new literature every single second. Our thoughts beg to be put down on paper lest they scamper away.

Yet, a lot of what I want to write about I can’t write about. I have to think about my professional life. Oh, how I would love to write about how difficult my job can be at times. I’d love to deface the idealistic views people have of humanity. I’d love to create volumes of work about how horrible my life is.

I’m in that kind of mood. I’m trying to grasp straws; to keep hope alive when I feel like I have to give up.

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to write much; I’m so tired that writing seems like a chore I can’t possibly surmount. Becoming financially stable seems like an impossible task. I’m quite certain I’ll keep making the same mistakes.

I was jazzed up about writing for NaNoWriMo. I want to write but I feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to write, own horses, work 40+ hours a week and live life. Writing is super important to me. I want to write. I dream of writing and networking and I want so much more.

The basis for most of my problems is that I want too much. I want to write too much. I want to explain too much. My characters are locked up by their need to want but not knowing if they deserve what they want. It is Lila’s week. I have to write her story and I’m not certain what to write. She is so close to my heart.

Other Reviews:

This fall I love:

Manhattan Love Story- The main antagonist is quirky, funny and bookish. I love how she over thinks things and her demeanor. I didn’t want to watch it at first but now I’m hooked.

Selfie: The main character is self absorbed but I relate to her because she wants to be liked. Our generation definitely has to deal with the fact we really don’t know what we are doing.

Once Upon A Time: This is a standard for me. I have to watch it on Sunday night. If I don’t bad things will happen. I love the characters and the stories. However, I want to meet Jasmine and The Frog Princess. I think those characters would be great to add into the mix.

A to Z: This is on NBC it’s interesting. Again a silly comedy about falling in love.

This Fall’s theme:

New Love and New Relationships- the eager excitement of opportunity and the uncertainty of whether or not it will happen.

National Novel Writing Month

EEEK! It’s less than a month away.

This year I will be writing a novel in 30 days or less. I am so excited for NaNoWriMo. I have a story brewing in my mind and it is going to be fantastic. I can taste the opportunity in the air and I know it’ll be fun and exciting. I don’t care if it doesn’t win nor do I care if it is perfect. I want to be a part of something more. I want to write while others are writing.

Join me and take the challenge. Let’s do this together.

To help you (and me) to prepare for this month of feverish writing I will be posting writing tips, (from great sources) quotes and the like. If you need a pep talk or some motivation to keep on writing check back often. Let’s write some stories together.

My first tip: Check out this website for writing tips. Together we’ll do this. Together we will bring the imagination to life.

The Task of Writer

So as you should know- I’ve been working on several different writing projects. Most notably, I’ve been working on Duchess of the Dark. It’s had many names over the past four years and it’s gone through a lot of revisions and plot changes and growth. I once posted it on Smashwords (in its original form) but took that book down because it wasn’t what I wanted it to be.

Currently, it is a serial on Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/FJane I’ve written two installments for it so far and although I like where the installments are going I need to work on them.

Both installments have been reviewed by the same person. The feedback was pretty much I like it but there isn’t enough of it. As an author that is the best kind of review I could receive. It ignites a fire in me- a desire to create more. When I read that I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. I want my readers to demand more I want to see reviews like that because it fuels me to do better.

The book is still in the works. It’s take a long time for the plot to appear. Still longer for all of the characters to figure out where they are supposed to be but things are coming together. Do I expect to get rich off of these books? No, I don’t, I used think I would. I used to think that I was going to be another great but now I just need to write this story. I need to finish it. I need to make peace with it. The story is driving me insane. The only way to appease it is to write it. Stick with me as I continue to work on this crazy story.

Chasing the Dream

We all have dreams and desires. We all hope that things will fall into place and that we’ll conquer our problems and insecurities. I am no stranger to worries and fears. In fact, I am well versed in how to deal with panic attacks and stress and the episodes where it seems like the sky is falling.

I accomplished my big goals rather quickly. I’ve written about this before so I won’t write in depth about it again- I reached my goals and I forgot to plan new goals. It took me about a year to figure things out. I’ve gotten a handhold and I’m climbing back up the mountain. When I fell it hurt. My body sustained multiple injuries. I thought I was going to die. I didn’t. I’m stronger now and I know I will succeed no matter what it takes.

The company I now work for is a national chain. It has a policy of upward mobility and if a person wants to move up they can- they just have to prove themselves. I’ve proven myself over and over again. I had three different managers “fight” over me. That has done wonders to my self-confidence. My plan is to move up the ranks as quickly as I can. At the same time I am developing my writing business by writing for various magazines and writing for the Trakehner Association. I’m busy. Too busy for a social life but I know that if I put in the hard work and forgo rest I will succeed and I’ll be able to enjoy life.

That is what chasing the dream is all about- you have to be willing to walk away from your dreams and do whatever it takes to support them. Never in a million years did I think I would be working in agricultural retail. It never dawned on me as an option. Here I am though and I’m stronger because of it. I’ve had to learn about financial stability. Yes, I still slip up. I still spend too much money too fast. I’m getting better though, I’m not nearly as frivolous with money as I used to be. This translates into becoming a better money manager which I’ll need those skills when I am running my own businesses. I am developing a networking base and a client base. Once I have those in place money will start trickling in (it already has). The biggest thing is that I just have to stay the course and not give up.

Things are moving towards a positive light.

Of Sleep and Such Silly Things

Well, I haven’t written about narcolepsy in a while. Most would assume that is because I don’t struggle with the disease or that it isn’t a big part of my life. Those assumptions are very wrong. I went without my meds for about four days. During that time I felt sluggish and as if I was in a different reality. I couldn’t focus nor could I stay up past 9 PM without feeling like I was going to pass out. During the day I would think about napping and sleeping; I wished constantly that someone would rescue me from having to be awake. I wished for someone to sweep in and say “I’ve got this- you go rest now.” Oh, how I wanted to rest. Oh, how I wanted to stop counting pennies and take a breather from worrying about whether or not I have enough money to buy a bale of hay for my horses. Everything cost so much energy.

Today- I got my meds and let me tell you I feel wonderful. The past few days I downed caffeine like it was blood. It would keep me awake for a little while but it didn’t sustain me. I drank way too much soda. Today, I drank one soda- not because I had to but because I wanted to. I didn’t need the caffeine- I drank it for the taste.

That is the difference of when I take my medication. I feel normal- alive and well. I feel like I can accomplish my dreams instead of watching them drift away. Some might say my posts are all over the place- that there are too many highs and lows. I would say that that is the effects of the narcolepsy- The struggle to get through life with a leaky tank.

I talked to a nurse the other night. She said that lyme can cause narcolepsy- does it really? Could my disease be cured? Could I live without having to take meds? Is it possible? I think I’ll be exploring that option as I want to know if there is a way to get rid of this disease.

The flip side is that I’ve grown used to having narcolepsy- I’ve grown used to rolling my eyes when people complain about how tired they are. I’ve grown used to people brushing off my illness like it’s all in my head. I’ve grown used to people not understanding my struggles. I’ve given up hoping that there are people out there who will support me when I can barely get out of bed.

I’m driven to succeed and I’ll do what it takes. Narcolepsy slows me down but I’ve grown used to the handicap. I’ve grown used to the extra baggage I have to schlep around each and every day. It’s helped be become a better writer. It’s helped me to understand that people have demons we can’t see. It’s helped me to be more reasonable and more accepting. I dream (and yes, I actually do dream of this whilst I sleep in my cramped twin bed) of a man who is resilient and considerate. I dream of a man who wants to care for his family. I dream of a man who want me to have an easy life, a good life. I dream of a man who want to teach me what it is to enjoy life. I dream of a man who takes risks and pushes himself to be a better person. I dream of a man who embraces my short comings as I embrace his. This man is in my dreams and I wish for him to be real. To be more than a facsimile of my heart’s yearnings . I dream of a man as unique and interesting as I am. I dream, oh how I dream.

Check out http://feliciajane.blogspot.com/ for more musings and poetic mutterings