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Any Charlie Buckets out There?

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

There's just something about writing. I have written in several formats over the years: magazine articles, monographs, a dissertation and personal reflections during some difficult times. (I probably ought to go through those journals and burn all the pages my sons don't need to know about me.) I've even written an unpublished manuscript for middle grade readers called, A Journey of the Spirit set in pre—Civil War America. I think it's a masterpiece. Editors so far don't see its marketing potential. But for now, I have found a little niche in Children's Picture Books market.

As I have marketed my books at schools and other venues I have met several people who share that they could or should explore the field of writing as well. I've heard a number of times something like: "I think I could write." I try to be very encouraging because I understand the draw. As a people we are storytellers from the time of images on cave walls, to hieroglyphics to now. We all have a story.

Each time I hear that, though, I wonder what it is that draws them and so many others of us to believe that we can write something people would not only enjoy, but put out some cash to own it. Perhaps it's fame and fortune. It's true that the very best writers can make a very productive and celebrated living. Most writers scramble around for crumbs that might help balance out the expense sheet. There are stories of first-time writers making it big—something akin to Charlie Bucket finding the last golden ticket and ending up owning a chocolate factory. The odds are about the same, I would wager.

It might also be that yet-to-start-writing authors believe writing to be a productive and lucrative way to make a living or pad a retirement without much effort. There are writers who have sharpened the craft down so finely that writing a blog like this might only take an hour or less without any need for editing. I will probably spend 3 or more hours trying to get this post just right. I am a miserable, careless, sloppy editor of my own work. I cannot see my mistakes. For me, writing takes a good deal of time and serious effort. Because I am retired I have the time. Because I am retired the effects of age sometimes limit my productivity. Writing, editing, rewriting, editing again, rewriting again, editing again—you get the point— takes time. and effort.

I have come to the realization that I am no Charlie Bucket.

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