Monday, February 08, 2010

We Can't All Be Winners

The Super Bowl is over and the Dallas Cowboys didn't win it. They weren't even playing on February 7, 2010--unless some of them struck up a game of flag football somewhere. There are thirty-two teams in the National Football League. At the end of the season, only twelve of them played for the right to be one of the two who faced off in the "big game." Does that mean the other twenty were losers? If you love the sport for the sake of the game, enjoy watching teams compete, take delight in big plays on offense and defense, then your team wasn't a loser. They entertained you. For some people, that's enough.

Writers face a bigger uphill challenge than an NFL team. The statistics are always a year or two behind actual numbers, and they vary according to the source. The number that sticks with me is that most books published in the US sell fewer than 500 copies. And that's drawn from all the proposals and manuscripts accepted by agents and editors. There's a huge chance that any particular writer won't ever reach that level. So are the writers who are never taken on by agent, the writers whose work is turned down by editor after editor, and even the writers who become published authors failures if they don't reach Super Bowl levels? Not by my definition.

Author James Scott Bell told me early in my road to writing that if I was in the field to make money, I'd do better to take a job as a greeter at Wal-Mart. For most of us, this is pretty accurate. There are a few authors who are able to support themselves, even do pretty well financially, purely on the income from their writing. But the odds of reaching that level are about the same as a Cinderella team coming out of the pack and winning the "ultimate" game. For most of us, Jim was right.

But I said that all writers are winners. How do you get that? Because all writing will affect an audience, even if it's never published. That audience is the writer. I know that since I began writing my outlook is different. I read books, even watch TV and movies, from a changed viewpoint.

How about your job? Whether you work outside the home or inside, whatever you do, does performing your job make a difference in someone's life? Even your own? If it does, then you're a success. You've won your own personal Super Bowl. If not, then keep trying. It's a new season every day.


Cindy said...

What a great encouraging post! I work inside the home, taking care of the kids, which is a blessing in itself. I believe everyday I am making a difference in their lives and I am growing myself. I also write as much as possible and I know at the very least, I've learned to persevere because of it.

Carol J. Garvin said...

We may never know what impact our actions have on other people but I've always believed that if we're doing what we think God intends us to be doing, and if we're doing it to the very best of our ability, then our lives are meaningful. I think I've become a better communicator because of my writing, so if my novels go no farther than my own desk I will still have accomplished something.

Sara WEbb said...

Very inspiring and an encouragement to remember, you never know what a difference we can make in the lives of others. Every day can be our super bowl day!

Sara Webb