Image source. I tried to make a hilarious Paintbrush rendering of my state, complete with sweat and stinky sick breath, but apparently those renderings are really hard! I have a much greater respect for people who can master hilarious MS Paint art now.
Anyway, now I'm fully recovered...or at least recovered enough to update my blog, which is really all you people care about anyway.
While catching up on my emails (98 missed emails in 3 days...wow!), the hubs came over and handed me his lotto ticket. He asked if I could please check the numbers when I got a chance.
Every time he does this, I get a little frustrated. It's not like we have a lot of money, and I always think - what else could that four dollars buy that would show measurable results rather than this gamble of a lotto ticket, which literally has a 1 in 20,358,520 chance of wining (which I know because I looked it up)?
But as I'm waiting for the flalottery Web site to load, I still get a little squirm in my stomach...what if we win?? I could probably quit my job and write full-time, at least for a little while. Or at the very least I could pay off all my debt and not have so much pressure to work as much. I could buy as many books as I wanted, and build a giant home library. I wouldn't have to worry about how I'm going to pay for SCBWI-LA - I'll just pay for it.
This excitement is the only thing that has kept me from telling the hubs not to waste his money on lotto tickets anymore. He doesn't buy them every week, so if he wants to pick them up once in awhile, so be it.
Today, I couldn't help but be reminded of the publishing industry, and how writing a book is a little like playing the lotto. You dedicate months, possibly years of your time to writing. You shun parties and social events. You pay to attend conferences and get to know crit partners. You pour your heart and soul into a book...what happens if it never gets published? Does that mean it doesn't matter? Was all of this time poorly spent?
I definitely don't think so. Even if you query away and no one bites, you've still learned a lot just throughout the writing process. I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of "the more you write, the better you become," so even if your novel is never published, you've still learned plenty to get started on your next one. Plus, unlike the lotto, there are many factors in the writing process that you can control - talent and craft and industry knowledge. If your gamble isn't paying off, maybe you need to just reevaluate your hook or tweak your query. Or maybe the first half of your book is great, but something isn't clicking in the ending. The point is, though you can't change your lotto numbers, you can revise your novel every minute until it gets published (though you might want to avoid changes in the page proof stage - it tends to piss publishers off because it's so expensive...though I did learn that Dennis Lehane doesn't really care about that rule and will submit changes right up to the day the book is printed, expenses be damned.)
Obviously, we haven't won the lotto - yet. And I haven't had my book published, either - yet. But I'll let the hubs buy his lotto tickets, and I'll keep revising and perfecting my book until I think my gamble isn't so much a gamble as it is a safe bet.