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The law of averages

Average people don’t go after their big dreams. Average people don’t accomplish extraordinary things. Average people don't become published authors.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I decided years ago that I don’t want to be average. I want to be fiscally secure, I want to be physically fit, and I want to be a published author. Which means that I can’t just do what the average person does.

It means I budget my money carefully, work out regularly, and do something writing related nearly every day.

The average person might dream about becoming a writer, but she doesn’t do anything about it. She doesn’t take a class, read a craft book, and most importantly, she doesn’t sit down—or stand up—and write.

(I used to be that person.)

And yet, often that same person is certain that someday her dreams could come true. If only she had more time, more money, no job, no kids at home. It never occurs to her that she has to create the time to make it happen.

(That was me.)

Even those who are actively pursuing their dreams can get off track, and before they know it, they’ve spent years writing without any progress.

(I've been there too.)

Supposedly, Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

If you’re not making progress toward your dream, stop and look at your results. Have you finished the book? Are you querying agents? If you’re getting nothing but form rejections have you tried revising your query letter? If you’re getting rejections with feedback have you made revisions, found a critique partner, or hired freelance editor?

Have you started another book?

Average people don’t pursue larger-than-life dreams, and if they do, they easily give them up when the road gets tough. After all, who wants to give up time with friends, time in front of the TV, maybe even time with family, in order to write?

Who wants to spend years of their life writing and revising books that might never be read?

It turns out I do.

And whatever your passion is, I hope that you’re willing to do what it takes to make it happen too.

Because really, how many of us aspire to be average?

ONE OF MANY © Monsteranimal |

Tell your friends!


  1. Curtis


    Gwen, your post reminds me of Thoreau’s statement:

    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    ——Henry David Thoreau —-

    Sounds so calm and serene doesn’t it? Almost to good to be true. I believe if we listen to the spirit of this age we will come to think Thoreau’s statement is a motivational bromide rather than a truth.

    I think cynicism and dreams can’t occupy the same imagination at the same time. Our spirit can’t entertain both. I came to this conclusion by experience. 🙂 It was not fun. It was very unproductive and more than just a little painful. But, we try a lot of things along the way. I’ve decided on passion, imagination and dreams.

    My favorite faith statement — ” Jump and the net will appear.”

    It doesn’t hurt to be loved either. 🙂 Know what I mean?

    • Reply

      What a great quote, Curtis. Even if our imagined idea of success never comes, I think we are better off for having endeavored toward our dreams. Happiness comes partly from hope and from the pursuit of things that matter to us.

      Thanks, as always for your “seasoned” perspective. 😉 I definitely know what you mean about being loved. Loving ourselves and knowing the love of others makes it a lot easier to reach out beyond our comfort zone.

      • Curtis


        Do me a favor. If you don’t mind, please pick out one of your favorites in your genre for me to read. I would like to see how they are structured.

        Preciate it.

          • Curtis


            I’ll be glad too.

            This has become a real fascination for me. Writers who do things like “The Help”, ” ” Catch-22″ are much more subtle with their structure. A movie like ” Broken Arrow” ( 1996) a box office record breaker at the time at 150 mil after the second weekend, virtually rattle their structure. The critics didn’t necessarily like it but paying customers did. 🙂

            BA is a great movie to demo. foreshadowing. Every major event that happens is foreshadowed more than once and on an escalating scale.

            A cool wrinkle– the antagonist has an antagonist. The big bad guy has a lesser bad guy giving him grief. The big bad guy first manages the little bad guy with an insulting lecture. Then he lectures and pops the little bad guy in the chest. ( a military thing. i.e. “don’t poke me in the chest”) The last and third time the big bad guy takes grief from the little bad guy he crushes his wind pipe with a flashlight. Foreshadowed by the earlier hand slap to the chest. Had he shot him or had someone push him off a cliff there would have been much less or even no real closure to the situation/relationship even though we all knew the big bad guy had to whack the little bad guy.

            If he was going to whack him with a gun he would have needed to point one at him at some time earlier before the event ala Western style. Of course this would have been a cliche.

            Well, anyway. 🙂

          • Reply

            Okay, Curtis. Now I have to put BA on my Netflix list and watch purely for structure. Haven’t seen it in ages. Love the note about foreshadowing and consistency among the interaction with the two bad guys. You should teach a class on this stuff!

  2. Reply

    Wow, this is VERY inspiring! I’m actually going to print this blog post and keep it next to my computer. This really struck a chord with me: “Average people don’t pursue larger-than-life dreams…” Love it.

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