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If Wishes Were Horses

There are times when we wish things were different, but I can tell you from experience, wishing will get you nowhere. A friend’s Grandfather used to say, “Shit in one hand, wish in the other, and let me know which one fills up first.” While this may reflect a negative overall world view, at least the shitting part, there is a certain truth we can universally see, and perhaps a tiny, Monday morning lesson.

Wishing creates unrealistic expectations. The reality of most wishmeatsituations is that hard work produces measurable results. In most instances hard work is definable, quantifiable, and has a certain value attached to it. Those measurable results should establish expectations for us, and we should logically determine them to be realistic. Instead of “I wish this would happen,” instead we formulate “hard work, applied effectively to this task, will equal this.” We could perhaps add “with a bit of luck, this will also happen.”

Wishing breeds laziness. There are aspects to any task that are unpleasant. For an author like me, this is often marketing. Wishing for book sales rather than working toward them reduces the desire or even the necessity to accurately track results. The only way to determine if the hard work above is actually effective is to somehow measure the outcome. Wishing for results makes measuring outcomes a depressing process, filled with hope and disappointment, often in inequitable amounts. It is easier to ignore the results, or lack thereof, and keep hoping to get “lucky.”

Wishing isn’t healthy.  Writers in general tend to be a manic bunch. Often in the now defunct traditional publishing model, there was a great deal of luck associated with success. So we sent out queries, manuscripts and stories with our fingers, toes, and laces crossed, hoping. The old model is no more. Writer success is a business model, one that is reproducible with hard work rather than wishing, strategy inserted in the place of hoping for luck. Continuing to wish accomplishes nothing but enhancing the manic ups and downs life already offers.

So stop wishing. Stop hoping. It’s time to stop whining, whether you are an author or in any other field, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Yes, you also need to work smart, and need to educate yourself in many areas. That’s part of the hard work. But if you want to ride, you’re going to have to do more than wish for what you want.

Published inAdvice for AuthorsOpinion