~ By Jill Beck
What are the odds? Do you ever ask yourself this question? For me, it rears its ugly head on the days my thoughts go over to the dark side. It’s my brain’s more subtle way of saying, “This is too hard. We might as well quit.”
When I first started writing, I spent a lot of time worrying and the question wore a path, pacing back and forth through my mind.
“How many people are writing books? Thousands and thousands. So, what are the odds that my little book is going to go anywhere?”
Writing is hard all by itself. And on top of that, there’s a lot of competition in the field. Of course, there’s competition in every other field, too. It’s never easy. If you want to accomplish something, there are going to be obstacles to overcome – many of them, large and small. But one of the things I’ve learned in these early stages of my writing career is that the odds are not fixed. They’re fluid.
Like me, you may have started out with no experience and those odds may have looked like a mountain in front of you. But maybe you sat down and started brainstorming ideas. Or maybe you decided to take a couple of writing classes or join an online writing group. You just chipped away at that mountain.
You wrote a first draft of your book and, boy, did it need help. Jeez, it was terrible. But you finished it. You had a couple of people read it, you made some changes and you came out the other side with a much better second draft. Once again, you’ve changed the odds. What was once a crazy longshot is now starting to look pretty possible.
Obviously, you have no control over factors outside yourself. You can’t control the trends in the market. Who can predict when vampires will take off or fizzle? Who know whether contemporary or historical or paranormal will suddenly be the rage? But you do have control over your part of the equation. Keep learning. Keep evolving. Develop a greater mastery of your craft. You play a huge role in your own personal chances.
You’re moving forward. You’re learning and growing. And with every step you take, you’re altering the odds. You’re controlling them – not the other way around. You set the odds. If you don’t like how they look, change them. Keep going. Keep pushing until the balance has shifted and the numbers are in your favor.
I still struggle with my own internal bookie, who insists on quoting odds to me. Yeah, they might not be the best odds, but I’m going to gamble anyway.
Jill Beck is a graduate of Purdue University and spent the first thirteen years of her career in manufacturing, before setting it aside to raise her children. Once the kids were in school, she opted to embark on Career 2.0 and try something more creative and intrinsically rewarding – no offense, manufacturing. Jill lives in Indiana with her three beautiful children, two awesome dogs and the most supportive husband in the universe. Jill writes new adult contemporary romance and her first novel, Legacy of the Dog, was released by Boroughs Publishing Group in October of 2015.