AAA Ain’t On the Way

A million years ago, I learned to change a flat tire. The decision to acquire this knowledge was prompted by a two-week span wherein I had no less than five flat tires on the same car. (They were doing construction on my road.)

I was living at home at the time, in the same town with my dad, my brother, and my brother in law. For the first four tires, I sat patiently and waited for one of them to come and change the tire. I also watched them, saw how they did it, and tucked it deep into my brain.

By the fifth flat tire, however, I had logged quite a few hours waiting for help to arrive. The prospect of sitting in a hot car for another hour or so was just too much, and I decided to try changing the flat on my own.

The sense of accomplishment I had was awesome–never again did I have to depend on anyone else to fix it for me. I eventually got AAA, and I’m more than happy to accept their help (or anyone else who offers) when it it is available. But I feel much more secure knowing that, all else failing, I can change my own damned tire.

This morning it hit me that I’ve been waiting for AAA to come along and fix my writing career (or lack thereof). I’m fortunate enough to have friends who are professional writers and editors, and who are very generous with their time and advise.

But the bottom line is that nobody can change this tire except me. AAA is the back-up plan, not the full strategy.

And it’s freeing. I can create the career I want, in the way I want, by writing the stories I want. I make my own life happen–not the other way around.

So I’m done waiting for AAA to bail me out. Beware publishing world. I’m going to keep trying until you give in and pay me. You’ve been warned.

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One response

  1. Good post, and good thinking. Take all the help you can get, but yeah, this career is all yours, and it’s your ideas that ultimately rule.

    Responding to one of your earlier posts: I’ve been doing market research in the writing biz since 1994 (when I was working my first sumission).

    I gotta tell you, it’s NEVER EVER been a good time to become an author, whether the market is up or down, or economics are good or bad. For the past sixteen years, I’ve heard the whining that the market is too tight, no one reads anymore, editors just aren’t buying, agents only want a blockbuster, book sales are down, no one is getting accepted … blah dee blah dee blah dee blah.

    And yet, during that 16 years, writers got bought, found agents, had careers, or quit writing altogether for one reason or other. Every time there’s some “crisis” everyone screams and hollers and freaks out, and they’re sure that the writing biz is dead. (E.g., in 1991, it was predicted that publishers and/or bookstores would die in five years because of Print-on-Demand.)

    So…. it doesn’t matter. Your career is based on your writing, period. Most people don’t want to hear that; they want it to be some outside force that’s preventing them from reaching stardom (and yes, outside forces do happen; not saying they don’t). But those outside forces never go away, so I’ve learned to just ignore them. It’s kind of liberating.

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