"Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1."
The odds of dying from a dog bite and the chances of becoming a saint are both 1 in 20 million.
I think sainthood is safe from me. The dog bite maybe not so much ... and Victor, no jokes about my dates.
The odds are against us ever being a self-supporting, much less a popular author.
We say we know it ...
but sometimes the days get dark.
If you go back 10 generations (250 years) the chance of you being born at all is at most 1 divided by 6 x 10100
1 in 60000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000.
In gambling, even a chance of 1 to 100 is not worth a gamble.
That you are even alive to read this stellar post of mine is a miracle in and of itself!
You are the result of many generations of survivors.
One of the people that died prematurely could have been your Dad or your Dad's Dad and so on.
Somehow, none of your forefathers died before passing on his genes to the next man in your lineage.
Because of the deaths from war, disease, and famine, most human lineages died out.
Yet, here you are!
And you are still brooding about the odds of becoming a successful writer.
Thriller author James Patterson made $94 million in 2012, according to Forbes.
He's one of 145,900 American "writers and authors" counted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a quarter of them part-time, two-thirds of them self-employed,
and with median earnings of $55,420.
Alice Wentworth just glared at Victor for snickering at that figure compared with my earnings,
currently keeping company with the NAUTILUS.
With electronic self-publishing, it's become easier than ever to be "an author."
And harder than ever to get attention to your work.
Most successful authors have some combination of talent, persistence, and luck. The persistence stories are always encouraging.
Mystery writer Janet Evanovich pulled in $33 million last year,
but wrote for ten years before getting published.
She labored first in the romance field before hitting it big with bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.
Stephen King's first big novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times.
He tossed it in the wastebasket but his wife fished it out. He earned $39 million in 2012.
John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected 12 times, and he unsuccessfully tried to sell copies from the trunk of his car.
He earned $26 million last year.
Judy Blume, who has sold 80 million books, got nothing but rejections for two straight years.
Steve Berry, 10 million books, collected 85 rejections over 12 years before breaking through.
You need to connect with the right person on the right day.
All you can do is write and try. And write and try.
Most of the famous authors above did just that, for years and years.
But be warned:
Writing is thankless work.
It is like housework. It is like laundry. It is like a soap opera.
It is never finished.
There is always more to do.
People may tell you that you are good, but you won’t believe them,
or you will believe them too much, or you will not know who to believe,
least of all yourself and this thing you created that is nothing more than a mess of letters trying to make sense of things that don’t:
life, death, what happens in between.
You spend your life executing a plan built on the quicksand fantasy that something you’ve done —
given birth, written a book, led a company — will make a lasting impact.
Then, again, with writing, it just might.
Writing is a vow to outlive yourself.