Chocolate, Nuts, and Raisins: An Aspie Post

I haven’t posted much about being an Aspie. A friend heard me use the word, and asked about it, because she hadn’t been sure if it was a word that people with Aspergers considered insulting. If it is, I’ve never seen an Aspie who considered it so. I don’t know if it was Aspies themselves who started using it first, or the Neurotypical community, but the Aspie community has taken ownership of the term. Part of the reason, I’m sure, is the fact that Aspies are struggling for acceptance of what they are, and therefore aren’t sensitive about being recognized as having Asperger’s syndrome. You can’t gain acceptance for what you are if you’re ashamed of what you are.

But also, “Aspie” isn’t a word that’s used as a general insult. I think possibly by embracing the term and not reacting to it like it was an insult, the Aspie community has maintained control over it and the meaning it conveys. When it’s understood at all, it’s understood to mean “a person with Asperger’s syndrome” and hasn’t ended up gaining any extra negative connotations the way words like “retarded” (which was once a politically correct term) has collected.

Anyway, in this post, I’m going to kind of try and paint a picture of Aspergers syndrome for you. I’m not trying to show you how terrible it is, or how much I suffer, or what other people have to deal with to be my friend, or even paint a complete picture. Just a little bit of insight on the sort of things my friends notice when they get to know me really well.

I don’t like certain things mixed with other certain things. As a child, I would carefully separate the peas on my plate from the mashed potatoes. Foods dished out of different pots would not be on the fork at the same time. I didn’t like foods served at different temperatures to touch. For example, if salad was served on the same plate as cooked meat or vegetables, I didn’t like them touching. Salad is a bunch of things mixed, but they’re supposed to be mixed, so it’s fine. But I prefer not to get any salad dressing on anything it doesn’t belong on.

And honestly, it’s not about taste. It’s all about organization. And I’m not that bad – if things touch, I’m annoyed. But I’ll eat it. I generally re-separate them if it’s feasible, but it’s not the end of the world, and I generally don’t say anything. I’m not such a severe case as I would have some kind of crazy meltdown over stuff like this.

Nathan once made macaroni and cheese for me, and cooked frozen vegetables in it. He says he knew something was wrong as soon as he saw my face when he brought it out. It took me like, ten minutes to pick all the vegetables out and eat them, and then I ate the pasta. The friend I mentioned before was observing me putting blueberries an whipped cream on french toast she made me, and realized that I was arranging the blueberries in such a way that I could get a blueberry in every bite as I cut it into pieces later.

One day, my friend was commenting on how she hated chocolate covered raisins. I replied that I like them.

And she was like wait, what?

See, she knows me pretty well, and knows I don’t like chocolate with nuts or dried fruit in it. And I explained, chocolate covered raisins aren’t raisins in chocolate, they’re chocolate on raisins.

That’s the point where I think her head exploded.

It’s two things that are such different textures – one you suck on and one you chew, and then I don’t know how to eat them together. And they’re never evenly distributed through the chocolate. One bite might have two peanuts in it, and another one might not have any. So, if someone offers me a cadbury fruit and nut bar, or almond bark, or chocolate with candy cane in it, I’ll usually politely decline. Unless it’s one of those situations where refusal would upset someone, in which case I’ll take it, suck on it until the chocolate is gone, and then chew the rest. It’s not a huge deal.

Then there’s chocolate covered raisins. The chocolate on them is never so thick that it’s worth sucking it off, so it’s easy to chew them without having to suck the chocolate off. But most importantly, there’s a more or less even distribution of chocolate and raisin in each bite.

Now, keep in mind, I don’t normally consciously think about these things, even as I’m arranging my skittles in lines by colour. I just do it. I don’t freak out of suffer unduly if I’m prevented from doing it, it’s just a tendency. Kind of like how when you smile at someone, they tend to smile back. It’s not about Aspergers being a terrible thing I suffer from, and it’s not about me being better than other people because I have Aspergers. It’s just me.

The frustrating thing is that there are people out there who won’t accept this is me. They want me to be normal. It doesn’t matter that none of this hurts or even affects them. It makes them uncomfortable that I’m different. They see it, and when they see it, they think there’s something wrong with me that needs to be fixed. I’ve been called a retard by someone like that, who was just that frustrated that I couldn’t just be normal. Who made fun of me as he watched me eat a sandwich because I was spending more time than he thought I should deciding where to take the next bite. I’ll let the internet pass judgment.

Sure, I could refrain from doing it. Force myself to mix my vegetables with the potatoes. It’s not like it would cause me to have some kind of breakdown. But here’s the thing: why the hell should I? It would take a huge mental effort to constantly remind myself to not do those things, and I would slip up regularly. Why would I go to all that trouble just so that you can watch me and not notice that I’m a little bit quirky? Just so that I can pretend to be some silly ideal of normal, as if it would make me healthier or happier? It wouldn’t.

But it makes me more grateful for the people I have around me who do accept me. I don’t need people to put on an Aspie pride parade for me. I’m perfectly happy just being Lindsay, and being allowed to just be Lindsay and not be made fun of for being Lindsay. That’s all Aspies ask. Is it really so much?

My Painfully Shy/Attention Hog Split Personality

Last spring at Keycon, I had people I had never seen before come up to me and say Hi. They knew my name – knew me from my blog. It was a weird experience. I mean, that’s the point of the blog being public – getting attention, and getting attention from people interested in reading what I write when I get my novel published. I know there’s a certain amount of danger – there’s weirdos out there, but I figure if I plan on being a published author, I’m eventually going to have to bite it and have my picture associated with my name in public. I’ve drawn lines of course – I don’t put my home address or phone number out there, or even my email address – the contact me link on my site just has a form, and doesn’t give my email address. I stopped at giving my home city, and the airports I’ve flown out of, and what conventions/conferences I’ll be at. I’m not a paranoid person – I think I’m being reasonable.

It was just kind of different, to be recognized. And now that I think about it, kind of cool to have a male approaching me to say hi with interests other than hitting on me. It wasn’t just the blog at Keycon either, I did a few panels and it seems when you get up in front of a crowd, it changes how people treat you. You’re no longer a random face in the crowd, you’re the woman who discussed Dieselpunk intelligently on the Steampunk/Dieselpunk/Cyberpunk panel, and did the panel on flight, and was the organizer for the short film viewing. And then people talk to you.

I do fine in conversation mostly – when it’s answering questions about things, I’m fine. When I’m put on the spot to come up with something to say, like at the Women In Aviation gathering with the First to Solo award presentation, I freeze up. Deer in the headlights.

I’ve gotten over a lot of being painfully shy. I used to be so much worse. Though, I don’t actually remember being shy, so much as just knowing if I was the centre of attention, it was because I did something wrong, or stupid, or people were just picking on me for no reason at all. I was bullied as a child, and that always leaves scars.  When I’m put on the spot and am not prepared with something to say, then I’m suddenly afraid that whatever comes out of my mouth is going to be stupid, or come across horribly wrong.

Conversation – much easier. It distracts me from the attention and I can focus on the subject matter of the conversation. And yet, I love attention. Just not negative attention. I like having done something well, or made something I can show off, and being praised for it. I might be terribly nervous getting up to perform in front of an audience, but the applause at the end makes it so worth it.

I see-saw between being shy and being an attention whore. It came  on my again when I got to spending more time at Lyncrest, and C-FLUG, and Jill, and the other women involved in C-FLUG. Some of them were at the First to Solo award presentation and knew me from there. Some had seen my picture in articles, but it was again with the people coming up to me that I had never seen before, or if I had they were someone in a crowd, but they knew my name. And one day Jill commented about how wonderful it was that I was getting all my flight training down in my blog. I said I’m never sure if there’s anyone around home who reads it, and she said “Oh, we all do!” And then I was feeling all shy and bashful again.

It does sometimes feel safer to write about things when I’m not likely to ever meet the people who read what I’ve written. I love getting comments on the blog (I have a friend who has promised to troll my site, but has never actually done so. I’m disappointed.) But most comments are from people I haven’t met in person. Then at Keycon I met some of the people who’ve commented on my blog, and it was weird and cool. And now there’s people who know me from an entirely different circle. I don’t think I’m trying to make a point with this post. I’m just rambling an thinking thoughts.

And sometimes I do pour my heart out here, and I’ve never once had anyone leave a comment that made me regret it. I treat the thing like a journal, and the difference between a journal and a diary, is a journal is written for someone else to read at some point. I kept a diary for a few years, but it was hard to motivate myself to write anything that wasn’t intended to be read by someone else, either for entertainment or educational purposes.

But while I feel free to let myself be vulnerable here, there are certain things I hold back. Mainly anything that I think might embarrass people I care about, or who didn’t – you know – ask for it. This isn’t a platform for me to lash out or take revenge. It can sometimes be hard to avoid, because my writing is always influenced by my own experiences, and also, I do want to let others who have gone through the kind of things I have know that they’re not alone. So I’m torn sometimes, on how much to tell. But I’ll deal with those things as they come up. Negativity attracts negativity, and I want this to be a positive place.

New Year’s 2014

The Traditional New Years post. Lets start with last year’s goals and how I did:

– Get a good ways into revisions on another novel. This is going to be either Handless or The Box – I haven’t decided yet, but once I do, it’ll be a shit ton of work. – I did none of this. 

– Win Nano for 5th time running. – nope. 

– Reading goals: mixing it up this year – I want to read at least one debut novel within the year it was published (missed this one, by 8 days – Thunder road was published on sept 4 2012, and I finished reading it on sept 12 2013), at least one aurora eligible novel (Got this one), at least one novel written by an author I know in person (got this one), finish at least one series I started reading (likely the hunger games trilogy, I’m on the last one)(Finished the Hunger Games), and at least one classic novel (I think The Warlord of the Air qualifies.)

– I’ve decided what I want to be when I grow up. Which is good, because I’m twenty-nine and that time rolls around faster than you know. I’ve never been entirely happy with the tech support job, and there’s obviously a good chance that I may never be able to quit my day job completely. I need a day job that I have some passion for. Towards that, I resolve to start flight school. This will likely start in april, when my hours at work go down, and the integrated courses start at Harv’s Air. – The integrated courses didn’t work out, but that’s not a big deal, and didn’t stop me. Got my private licence in three months and am time building for my commercial. 

That last one is huge and has swallowed up everything else.

Anyway, I also get to give myself kudos for other things I’ve done this year. Mostly flying wise. There’s been a lot of firsts.

I started lessons – that in itself is a big step. Then there was my first solo, and then winning the first solo award. And getting my licence. Taking my first passenger flying, for his first time. Doing short little cross country flights, and building up to longer ones. Getting comfortable with being in Class C airspace. Taildragger checkout. Night rating. Being told I should go practice spins solo.

I became the legal owner of my first car. It’s a 93 Buick Le Sabre, originally owned by my grandfather, inherited by my grandmother, gifted to my father, and then gifted to me. Legally gifted to me. It’s coming out of my inheritance from my grandma, who’s 93 and still kickin’, but she wants to give us grandchildren the help we need when we need it most, and I’m living at the far end of every bus route right now, and there are no buses that will take me to St. Andrews to go flying, so I need a car right now. It gives her a lot of satisfaction to be able to be here to see the things she’s given her grandchildren put to use.

I also got a good ways into a new YA novel, called Skybound, and have ideas for books two and three in the trilogy (The Onesky Trilogy). And titles. Kickass titles, to be revealed as I write them.

My finished novel, recently renamed “Redwing”, is done the most recent round of revisions, and at Keycon an editor invited me to submit it, based on the opening page.

Also at Keycon, did some panels, got some attention, had people chasing me down to ask if I had anything published that they could buy, based on hearing me participate in a panel on dieselpunk.

Wrote a couple of short stories – though still working on selling them.

Overall, I’ve done pretty good, so I’m not going to beat myself up over not getting into revisions or winning Nano.

Also, I have succeeded in not killing myself or anyone else.

It’s been a good year. For a lot of it, I felt like I was running full tilt because if I stopped, the fates would notice I was happy. Because this is me, and Lindsay’s supposed to be happy with simple, small pleasures, and learning to fly is far too big to escape their notice. And as I kept going, I started to think if I just keep running, maybe fate won’t catch me. And eventually I got  to the point where I had it set in my mind that I was stronger than whatever had kept me from chasing my dreams in the past. And I started to realize what had kept me from it in the past was my own belief that I didn’t deserve to be happy. I’d internalized the many times my mother told me, “You don’t always get what you want.” (That line made it into Skybound.)

Every time I’ve ever really wanted something, I’ve had to fight for it. And I think I always knew this one would be a big fight, and maybe I was just waiting until I had the strength for it, because it was a fight that would break my heart to lose.

So this year’s goals (calling them goals, and not resolutions, because that sounds more positive – it’s about accomplishing things, not resolving to stop doing things):

– Reading goals: Read a novel eligible for the auroras and vote in them. Read a debut novel. Read an author I haven’t read before. Read another book in at least one series I started. Read a novel by an author I know in person.

– The usual: Stay happily married and not die.

– Get my commercial pilot’s license.

– Get my multi-IFR rating.

– Finish Skybound.

– Get a solid start on revising another novel.

Humble goals, I know. I think I succeeded in taking 2013, kicking it in the balls and beating it senseless until it cried. In 2014 I hope to start getting some career things straightened out, and of course I’m always hoping to hear back from agents. Wish me luck on soaring through 2014 safely.

Orson Scott Card And The Boycott On Enders Game

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about boycotting the new Ender’s Game movie. For those two of you out there who don’t know, Ender’s Game was written by Orson Scott Card, who also happens to be a raging homophobe who writes articles for anti-LGBT organizations’ publications as well as donating money to such hate groups.

I’m not going to see the movie. I’m not going to trash anyone for going to see the movie, but I’m not.

There’s a lot of people saying that we should separate the artist from the art. I don’t believe that’s justified at all. I think an artist is a businessman like anyone else who creates a product, and any artist who think’s they’re not is full of pretentious bullshit. It’s silly to think that the profession of art is just so special somehow, that artists are above judgment from their customers. It makes just as much sense to boycott an artist for bigotry as is does to boycott the convenience store down the street with a sign saying “no homosexuals allowed.”

And sure, there’s the fact that he’s probably already received whatever money he’s going to get for the movie, so what’s the point in boycotting, if it’s not going to affect him financially, or affect any money he sends to hate groups?

It’s not about the money though. The boycott is symbolic. It doesn’t matter how the studio tries to separate themselves from the author and the author’s views. It does matter that the producers are trying to separate themselves, and holding a fundraiser for LGBT rights charities – that’s great, but it doesn’t separate the movie from Card. No matter what they do, the movie is linked with a man who hates homosexuality and thinks it should be illegal, and we (those boycotting the movie) feel a need to say that’s not okay. The boycott is our way to say that in as loud a way possible.

Thoughts On Reaching A “Certain Age”

All my life I’ve been surrounded by women who are ashamed to have anyone know how old they are, and the old cliche that a woman’s age should be secret, that there’s something disgraceful about the passage of time for a woman. And when I said I wasn’t going to dye my hair when it started to turn grey, and that I was going to be proud of my age, they all said, oh, you’ll feel different when you get there.

Not sure what age that “when you get there” is supposed to be, but societal norms certainly tell me that thirty is one of those pivotal moments when I’m supposed to feel old. So it’s kind of timely that this amusing moment happened the other day:

We had pulled the Citabria up to the fuel pump, and one of the dispatchers came to fuel it up. He didn’t wait for us to get out, just pulled the 1500lb+ plane forward with both of us in it. I made a comment about him being a manly man. Sandra made a comment about us being a pair of cougars.

I was like, wait, what? I’m not old enough to be….wait a minute, how old is he?

Turns out he’s nineteen. A full ten years younger than me. And it doesn’t even matter that I wasn’t even actually flirting – I’m married, after all. I was surprised he even heard me over the wind and engines of the other planes.

It ended up being pretty funny – the dispatcher was killing himself laughing. Which is fine – I can handle humour being at my expense. With friends, I’ve set myself up to be the butt of jokes sometimes, just because my friends are clever and the jokes will be entertaining, so I was laughing as hard as he was.

But it was still a bit of a shock. I mean, I kind of had the feeling I was around that age that people talk about. That age that society dictates that I should be ashamed and hide my age. That age that they all told me I’d feel different about it than I did when I was “younger.”

And you know what? I do feel different about it. But not the way they said I would. They said I would feel embarrassed and ashamed to be as old as I am. Well that’s not how I feel. I feel annoyed at society’s silly expectations, and ready to flip them the bird.

I’m twenty-nine and eleven months, and I don’t need anyone to think I’m under twenty five to rock my life, so anyone who thinks otherwise can suck it.

So there.

Site Updates And FAQ

I’ve done a bit of site maintenance, updating information and such, seeing as I can go around calling myself a pilot now. You’ll notice I’ve updated the logline at the top of the page, and I’ve also added my current aviation credentials to the About Lindsay page.

The other thing I’ve done is add an FAQ to my page, linked off the contact page. Read it and be entertained. This FAQ was developed out of necessity, as I’m receiving more emails than I used to through my contact page. Which is kinda cool, but I’m getting tired of coming up with diplomatic responses to certain questions. I’m just too nice to spew vitriol directly at people who just don’t know better, but an FAQ is so much less personal. Hopefully will keep people from making themselves look stupid in front of me so that I don’t have to pat them on the head and tell them it’s okay, you just didn’t know.

Oh, and one more thing – I may have a guest blog post shortly. I took my first passenger flying yesterday, and they may be writing up something for you!

Flying My Flagship Novel Into Battle

It’s been about ten years since I’ve been any farther from Winnipeg than Brandon, and while I’ve done my share of traveling when I was a kid, with my parents, I’ve never made my own travel plans. Add to that a PTSD reaction, from a period in my life where I had a man in control of me yell at me for hours on end, every few days, that I was worthless and stupid and couldn’t look after myself.

So when got together with The Punkettes and they invited me to join them in BC for the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, my knee-jerk reaction was “I’d love to, but no, no, silly, I can’t go off and do crazy things away from home and family and protection, and – no, no, absolutely not, I can’t do that. Lindsay doesn’t do things like that.”

And of course that sounds silly, so my brain immediately re-routed to excuses – the main one for the last while having been the completely legitimate “I’m too goddam poor to do stuff.”

And then suddenly it sank in that this is the first time in years that we’ve not been strapped for cash. We’ve come into  bit of money, most of which we want to hoard in hopes of buying a house one day, or something – we’ll figure it out, but also, because we’ve been living with the mother-in-law, our living expenses have gone way down.

So I was out an excuse and decided ok, if my best writing buddy wants to go with me, then I’ll go. I’ll do it. There’ll be agents and editors there, and there will be tons of networking I can do, meeting people and all that stuff I taught myself to do at keycon last year and was so successful at. And I’ll get to meet the other punkettes in person, and we can gush about punky stuff together! And my best writing buddy checked her own finances, and being a student, waiting on loans and yadda yadda, she can’t make it.

At which point, I realized I really wanted to go. So I’m going.

And thus begins the BC mission. I wonder if they’ll let me wear my Abney Park flight goggles on the plane? I wonder if it would get me strip searched….

I’ve flown before – I love flying. If you read any of my long form writing, you’ll probably notice a theme of flying machines, animal characters that fly, etc. It always frustrates me that I’m not the sort of person who would likely end up in one of my own stories – that I’m not someone who likes to charge into things and has everything together and confident.

On the other hand, maybe I am. Every time I see myself shying away from these things, don’t I slap myself in the face and tell myself to stop being wuss? I am going after all. Don’t they always say the heros are the ones who are scared, but wade in anyway? So I got registers, I got my plane tickets Sunday (thanks to @AntigothTCO for his reassuring guidance there), and here’s me, bravely flying my flagship novel across the skies into battle.

TAKE NO PRISONERS!

Finished the Revision *Phew*

So last night I finished revising The Eyelet Dove. I don’t know it it’s really sunk in yet, that I have a finished novel. I’m really proud of it — it’s definitely my best work, and I’ve learned so much from revising it, I know it’s going to be only the beginning of great writing to come.

I’ll probably tinker with little bits here and there, but it’s at the point where whatever nitpicky things I might change, are not going to make the difference between getting an agent or not.

I have my query letter written. I need to touch up my synopsis, but it’s at least got a solid start. I’ll start sending stuff to agents over the next few days. So tired from helping out with the brother-in-law’s social on saturday, though, I have no energy to be excited, even though I am.

It’s Margherita Monday at our place. I decided to start a thing when we moved. I like margheritas, and Mondays suck, so I improve them with magheritas for me, the husband, and the mother in law. So I’m sitting sipping my celebratory drink, with a bendy straw. (Can’t have margheritas without a bendy straw. Ooh, I need to find some of those little umbrellas, that would be awesome!)

Anyway, we’ve done another draw over at http://thepunkettes.blogspot.ca/ but there’s lots more prizes to be won, so check it out. For tonight, I’m signing out dead.

P. S.: For all those who have said, “That’s great, you’ll have to let me know when you get it published,” fear not. When I get it published, I will be telling FUCKING EVERYBODY.

General update and thanks to Beta Readers

So, the big revision has been done for a bit, and I’m going over beta reader critiques. There’s definitely stuff to be touched up on, but it’s very close to being done an this is by far my best work yet. Of course though, it must be shiny as shiny can be before I want to send it to editors. I may start sending out queries to agents though – it’s at a stage where I don’t think the touching up I have yet to do is going to change an agent’s answer. It’s mostly fiddling at this point. Possibly adding one scene, but I have to figure out what’s to be in that scene. I might have it though, just involves some rearranging, which may even make another scene run a tad smoother.

And thanks to my beta readers giving me valuable feedback. There will always be things I don’t pick up on myself because I know what I’m trying to say in my head. I think writers will always need a second set of eyes to keep them honest.

But there comes a point when the author needs to decide how much fiddling is enough, and send it out into the world to fend for itself. I’m edging towards that point. I’m sure I want to have at least one person finish the novel (besides the mother in law, who’s biased :P) to get feedback on the ending. There’s one other point in the ending I may change, and the more I think about it, the more I think I’ll need to change it, because it’s just not as meaningful if the character making the decision hasn’t got anything left to lose.

That and one other scene might need some delicate treatment for potentially triggering subject matter, and a minor character’s dialogue needs to be completely rewritten so that he doesn’t sound uneducated because when I originally wrote the character, he and another character weren’t brothers, and there was no need for them to have similar backgrounds in education.

Down to nitpicky things, mostly though. And then, copyediting for flow – I have a friend who’s really awesome at that.

And I have written a query letter, and said friend has gone over it to beat the lumps out so it reads smooth and makes sense. I will touch up my synopsis too, since it’s a 1 and 1/2 page synopsis, and I should be able to get away with two for most queries.

Then, out into the wide scary world with it!

Writing vs Career vs Writing Career

One of my blog readers and (beta reader :)) brought up an interesting topic, and I think it was worth it’s own blog post.

So this is only vaguely connected – but I’d like to hear people’s opinion and it has a bearing I think on Lindsay’s situation. I think a serious writer who is earning a living from other work (not writing) can have a job but not a career because there is only so much emotional commitment and energy to go around and you have to put it in to one thing.

I think this is true for nearly everyone – there are a tiny number of people who are so exceptional they can do anything fairly brilliantly – for the rest of us there is this choice.

Andy

Agree? Disagree?

I agree with part of this – that if you want to be serious about writing and aim to make a career out of it, it’s very difficult to balance that with a career outside of writing. I have a job – it pays the bills, barely. And by barely, I mean, my husband and I have just moved in with my mother in law because they jacked up the rent on our ghetto apartment, and we can’t find an affordable apartment that will allow us to keep our cats, and doesn’t require me to have a car.

But part of the decision to do that was, I admit, that I don’t want to have to get a second job to survive, because if I did that, then I would seriously have no writing time. And that would kill me. I’ve been in the have-no-time-to-write situation before, and the frustration and depression that led to was crushing. I ended up quitting, once I found another job that paid better. I don’t want to do that again, ever.

My husband knows what happens to me if I don’t have time to write. When I get grumpy sometimes, he’ll take care of supper and tell me to go write.

I could move up in the company I work at if I wanted to. I’d even be interested if I wasn’t so busy getting my manuscript together right now. The elation of having finished the revision has sunk in, by the way – haven’t been in such a good mood in a long time.

I don’t know about these fabled people who can do both, though. They say no man can serve two masters. I’ve never heard of such a person in real life. Anyone I hear of does choose one or the other.

Lots of people write as a hobby, and there’s nothing wrong with doing it just for yourself. It’s no different from taking piano lessons, or ballroom dancing. People do it because they enjoy it, and develop a skill worthy of praise. As opposed to say, spending that time playing video games. Bragging about working on endgame content in World of Warcraft just doesn’t garner the same respect and sense of accomplishment as bragging about a dance or musical recital – or writing a novel.  These people may not aspire to getting published. They might, though, and some do, and they might be happy with getting a book or two out there in their lifetimes, but these aren’t people who aspire to make their living writing. They likely find themselves fulfilled by their primary career.

Then there’s the people who want to make a living writing. I don’t think you can really do that and work on developing a career at the same time. You could already have a career, and work on building a writing career, but there will come a point where, if you want to really get somewhere and accomplish enough to have a chance at making a living writing, you’ll have to decide which is going to come first – the other career, or the writing career.

You can spend twenty years revising a novel to perfection, and it could be a great novel at the end of that, and sell passably well. But that won’t make a career in writing. Most writers who support themselves writing, they’re saying you have to have at least one book out per year, to survive, and now they’re saying even that’s not enough. That takes discipline, and it takes more passion than the hobbyist writer needs to give it.

There’s a lot of people who say they’d love to make a living writing. There’s a lot of statistics saying the odds of getting published professionally, are pretty low (the most common one I see: 1/100), and the odds of getting published a second time are even slimmer.  But there’s also a lot of people who say they’d like to get published and don’t really try, or don’t try very hard. Or they try, and then they can’t handle rejection. Or they try, but shoot themselves in the foot by not doing their research on the importance of following submission guidelines. I love those people – I don’t have to compete with them. If those statistics include all those people who won’t get published because of something they don’t do, then that means whether or not I eventually make it, is far more in my own control than the statistics would make it seem. The question becomes “How badly do you want this?” Because if you want something badly enough, you’ll do whatever you need to, to get it.

You put enough quarters in the machine, eventually you’ll get that winning black gumball.