I just got word that I've sold a short story. Another notch in my belt, another addition to my resume. But the wheels grind slowly. As Macbeth says so well, "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,/Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,/To the last syllable of recorded time." Publishing is a lot like that.

I was once approached by a coworker who had just been told that he'd be laid off soon. He knew I was submitting and asked if I could help him. "I've got four kids," he told me. "I have to have money coming in, and I've got five scripts in a drawer at home."

Well, good luck with that. I tried to let him down gently, since he was already stressed, but the truth is that if you need money soon, publishing a book or a play is not the place to turn. It takes years for most of us to even get a bite, and even if things turn out well at that point, it will likely be a year or more before publication. And profit? Maybe never, and almost certainly not for the first few times.

So if you're looking for instant fame, look elsewhere. If you need ready cash, find another profession. Only if you want to grow in baby steps, becoming a better writer with every project and a little better known with every success, should you choose writing as a career. The original meaning of both "profession" and "vocation" is a calling, something a person feels is his/her destined career. That's what writing is, and it requires many, many tomorrows to find any success at all.

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