Law of Averages

I can’t believe that is it November 20th already.

I was flipping through my PiBoIdMo idea notebook and counting up my ideas. 20! 20 ideas!

This makes me unbelievable excited.

Not only am I excited because I feel like I’m on track with PiBoIdMo I’m excited about what all these lovely ideas mean for 12×12 next year. Drafts!

Years ago I took a photography class in college. This was back before the digital revolution when everything was done in film and you developed the film and processed a few of the strongest images. There was no delete button for images that weren’t good. Needless to say there were a lot of negatives that never became fully developed photos

As with all art classes there was an important lesson that has applied to my writing life ever since I took that photography class. Professor Goodman had a requirement for the number of images we would shoot in a week or while we were out doing assignments. There was a minimum number of shots in order to get a passing grade and then there was a higher number to get the good grades. The higher the number of shots you took, even if those shots never become anything, the better your grade.

Anyway my professor preached the law of averages as it applied to photography. None of us were natural talents, born with some special ability to catch a perfect shot the first time, with minimal shooting.  We were all just human and we needed to learn the law of averages. (I feel like this alone was a pretty groundbreaking lesson to teach college kids at a small liberal arts college where everything you do is celebrated, praised, and awarded) She said you have to go out and shoot a lot of images so that you had the raw material to work from in the dark room. Slack on the shooting part and you’d choosing between weak images for your photos. Shoot a lot of images and the likelihood that one of those images would be strong was greater.


I didn’t become a professional photographer. The camera that I used in class was on loan from my father and my brother, who was Parson’s bound, needed to use it the following semester. I lacked the funds to purchase my own SLR camera at the time. But pens and paper were fairly affordable so I kept writing.

A few year later, when I was just getting started writing for publication I admit I didn’t adhere to my professor’s teachings. Naturally, I probably thought that whatever I produced was wonderful, publishable, the next best seller. I forgot Professor Goodman’s lesson, that I was human, that I was not some natural born talent, that I needed to play the law of averages.

The more I write, the closer I feel I am getting to the dream of one day having a book published, the more I come back to Professor Goodman’s lesson. I’m just human. I am not some natural born talent. I need to keep playing the law of averages. Writing 12 Picture Book drafts a year hoping that one or two of those can go the distance. Coming up with 30 picture book ideas in a month and hoping some of those can be turned into drafts that can catch an editor’s eyes. Writing scenes in novels that might never see the light of day. I have to write a lot of word in order to play the law of averages.


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