Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Lottery Tickets and Writers

Did anyone else buy a Euromillions ticket and spend some happy hours dreaming about what they'd do with £161 million?    We went on a long walk at the weekend and most of it was spend discussing whether you'd go public or not, how much would you give to charity, how much would you give to your siblings, and other interesting topics.  Then I discovered that someone in Scotland had won the prize so that was the end of my fantasising.  

At least I'd bought a ticket.  I don't normally, so my dreaming of how I'd dispose of shedloads of unexpected lolly is usually entirely theoretical.  I can remember when I started writing all the wondrous things that I hoped for with my writing.  Top daydream was my gracious acceptance speech for winning the Oscar for best screenplay (this alternated with saying simply "Thanks" and therefore going on record for the shortest acceptance speech ever).  

It's a nice dream, but slightly strange given I'm primarily a novelist (in my defence, I have actually written a screenplay, and it subsequently went on to win several prizes tho not an Oscar).   I've met other writers who are dreaming of getting published, but don't send their work out, ones who dream of winning short story competitions but never enter them, people who fantasize about winning the Booker - but can't find the time to write.

I think dreaming is part of being a writer, and I wouldn't ever suggest we should stop (besides, what would I then have to talk about on long, rainy walks?).  But there is a point where you have to stop dreaming and actually get on with it.  

There's a joke my mother likes.  It's about the guy who pleads with God that he'll be really, really good, and go to church and everything, if God will let him win the lottery.  So he's really good, helps little old ladies across roads etc, goes to church, but still doesn't win the lottery.  Finally he goes and berates God for not letting him win the lottery.  At which a great voice booms out from the sky "Help me out - buy a ticket."

Some people just want to write for themselves and that's fine.  For the rest of us, when you think it's more or less ready, you've got to allow your writing to be seen by the great outside world.  Letting work be 'out there' is the equivalent of buying the ticket. And as the lottery advertising says, You've got to be in it, to win it.


green ink said...

Love it! Fabulous analogy :)

Sarah Duncan said...

Thanks. MInd you, I'd swap the analogy for a winning ticket!

womagwriter said...

My husband's get-rich-quick plan has always been to find a winning lottery ticket. Ideally one would blow in through an open window and land in his lap.

It hasn't worked.