Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Writers are Gamblers

I was over at Lake of the Torches Casino again yesterday playing the slot machines. It's a form of entertainment where I get totally engrossed in a machine and forget everything else except whether or not I achieve what I'm aiming for. The games offer rewards, large and small, along the way, but what players are really aiming for are what are called "screens" or "bonuses" which provide free spins or jackpots.

So, a person can play, get good or even great hits, yet not get a screen or bonus. Some people are satisfied and stop at that point. The true players play on until they get a screen or a bonus. One is not enough. The more the better.

I'm one of those stubborn players and refuse to give up no matter how much I'm losing. That can be bad. Sometimes the money disappears and I have nothing to show for it. It can also be good. Sometimes I get what I've been looking for and the rewards are stupendous.

You guessed it - Once again I'm making an analogy to writing. Writers are like players at a casino. We invest time and money learning our craft, doing promotion, going to conferences, buying how-to-books and magazines, etc. Then the book is finished and we get praised by family or friends, maybe critique groups. We win contests or awards. Some of us stop right there and don't submit our manuscripts for publication.

For those in the game to stay, we figure out how and where to submit and do it more than once to achieve the screen or bonus of publication. Once we get that goal it's still not enough. We want it to happen again and again. No only that, we want the screen or bonus to be really big, an experience we'll always remember.

Like gamblers, to achieve that great screen or bonus sometimes we have to make sacrifices that are hard to make. There's no guaranty that even if we put our heart and soul into achieving our dreams that they'll actually come true.

We have to remember - If we don't play, we can't win.
Morgan Mandel

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