Monthly Archives: November 2012

It Doesn’t Pay to Pay to Be Published

This is one of those pieces of advice that every writer I talk to seems to understand before I ever bring it up. However, there must be some writers out there that believe that paid publishing, be it a vanity press or a vanity press under the subversive label “subsidy publisher,” is an effective way to get your work out there. Otherwise, these businesses would be unable to turn a profit. So, clearly, there are some out there who believe that they will benefit from these publishers. While it is possible to work these systems to your own benefit as an author, I would contend that the wide majority of paid publishing authors wind up taking a loss on their work. Here’s why: Continue reading

Now that the Election Is Over, How about Some Political Trivia?

So, it turns out that I need to learn my U.S. History a little bit better. I was sitting around the other day when I thought that I had made a brilliant hypothesis, that it was the habit of the Democratic Party to elect former Senators and the habit of the Republican Party to elect former Governors. It’s one of those “facts” that rings true when you hear it, but in actuality, is completely and utterly false.

It didn’t take me long to find the first problem with the above theory: Bill Clinton, our President throughout much of the nineties (1992 to 2000, to be exact), was the governor of Arkansas before being elected to the office. Not exactly where you would expect a democratic POTUS to come from, but then, this was probably common knowledge that I simply forgot in the formation of my (false) theory.

Let me stop here and say that, no, this post isn’t the response to me stating the above hypothesis in a debate and getting thoroughly thrashed for it. Rather, it was a thought that occurred to me which I then proceeded to see how true it was. It turns out, not very.

The last 10 Democratic Presidents follow, with their positions before the Presidency listed beside them. Essentially, this is a list of what their business cards would have looked like before becoming President, in reverse chronological order:

  • Barack Obama, U.S. Senator
  • Bill Clinton, Governor of Arkansas
  • Jimmy Carter, Governor of Georgia
  • Lyndon B. Johnson, Vice President
  • John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator
  • Harry S. Truman, Vice President
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, Governor of New York
  • Woodrow Wilson, Governor of New Jersey
  • Grover Cleveland, Governor of New York
  • Andrew Johnson, Vice President

So, breaking that down, we have exactly 2 former U.S. Senators in the group, along with 3 Vice Presidents and 5 former governors. Let’s take a look at the last 10 Republican Presidents:

  • George W. Bush, Governor of Texas
  • George H.W. Bush, Vice President
  • Ronald Reagan, Governor of California
  • Gerald Ford, Vice President
  • Richard Nixon, Vice President
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander Europe
  • Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce
  • Calvin Coolidge, Vice President
  • Warren G. Harding, U.S. Senator
  • William Howard Taft, Secretary of War

Here we have 2 former governors, 1 military figure, 2 cabinet secretaries, 1 U.S. Senator, and 4 Vice Presidents. If anything, I was more wrong about Republicans than Democrats.

One thing that I would point out, though, is that we could make the statement that Republicans have more experience getting a previously non-elected official into the White House. All of the Democrats last 10 candidates, after all, previously held elected positions. 3 out of the past 10 Republican Presidents, however, previously had political positions which were appointed rather than elected. Does this mean anything? Probably not, other than perhaps the RNC shouldn’t be scoffed at when they decide to go for those who have never held an elected office. They’ve pulled that off just fine in the past.

I suppose this could be seen as arguable, of course. It depends on whether you define Vice President as an elected or appointed position. I personally see it as elected, because the Vice President is selected by the President, and the two then run together for both offices. So, by choosing a President, the voters also are choosing a Vice President. If we go with the supposition that a Vice President is appointed, however, the Republicans still show much more experience than the Democrats, with 7 out of 10 of their past Presidents being from non-elected positions compared to just 3 out of 10 for Democrats.

Just a bit of trivia for everybody. Consider it a palate cleanser of knowledge after several months of being fed lies and emotional appeals.

Ramblings of a Twenty-Something, Career-Minded Writer

I have taken to occasionally writing out my thoughts in as close of a stream-of-consciousness fashion as I can muster. Part of this is for the same reason that many people keep a diary: Catharsis is a great feeling. However, normally I decide that it doesn’t contain anything immediately publishable, and so I just keep a hold of them for later mining. The below, however, was surprisingly lucid, especially considering that it was only my second entry in November. The entry is primarily a reflection on where I am to go from this day. Perhaps it’s useless, but my guess is that people will be able to find some good takeaways for themselves, even if they are merely inspired by my words rather than directly gleaned from them. Here it is, without further ado. Continue reading

Pain: The Heartbeat of a Story

For any writer even slightly familiar with pain, I’m sure it’s easy to sympathize when I say that pain is ultimately sapping my creativity. I’m 10 months into what my first doctor labeled a cluster headache, and what my second doctor is calling a transformed migraine. Either way you call it, it still hurts and it still hinders my ability to think. So, hopefully this post makes some sense to you – I’ve certainly struggled to write during these months!

Pain is a fascinating part of life. Yes, I was being partially sarcastic, but I’m also being serious. I mean, if you think about it, what story is interesting without pain? The pain of physical hurt or psychological hurt by a conflict in the story is why stories are interesting.

Don’t believe me? Name one story that you enjoy that doesn’t have any pain (conflict counts as pain – pain of a disagreement, pain of a strained friendship, etc.) Continue reading

Finding the Time to Write

This is one of those things which seems so simple when you first start writing. When you first start writing, everything is fresh, new, and interesting, and you are brimming with ideas to share with the world. This is due to a number of factors: You’re usually young and single, probably still in school, and therefore have quite a bit more free time than the working world. This allows you to sit down at a computer or journal for hours on end, letting every thought that comes through your head onto the page until you finally feel that sense of catharsis that writers often seek when they write. Continue reading