Monday, July 19, 2010

Chasing the Dream

Post by Jenny

My family recently attended two baseball games at Wrigley Field, my favorite place to watch my favorite sport. (Photo courtesy of my son.) I realize not everyone loves baseball (right, Kerrie?), and, indeed, there are aspects of major league baseball I do not love. Chief among them are the astronomical salaries and the costs of attending a game. (And for heaven’s sake, leave your hat on, Manny Ramirez.)

But the major leagues are just the tip of the baseball iceberg. Most professional baseball players slug it out in the minors. While the minimum annual salary for the major leaguers is $400,000, the starting pay for a player in the minor leagues is $1,100 a month, with $25 a day for meals on the road. Most minor leaguers must hold “regular” jobs to support their families. They spend hours in the gym and on the field, getting in shape and honing their skills. They show up early and stay late. They don’t stop at the end of the season, after the last game of the World Series is in the books. They work year-round, hoping to be better than the next guy, hoping for a shot at “the show.” But there are just 750 major league spots for about 7,025 minor leaguers, so only ten percent or so will make it to that minimum $400,000 salary.

High hopes, long hours, and low pay…sound familiar, anyone? I think that if I were to add up the time I’ve spent writing, revising, editing, reading about writing, writing about writing—and occasionally swearing off writing forever—my salary would average out to be…well, there’s no way to slice a penny that small.

So, why do we do it? Why do we chase the dream when the odds of reaching the big time are against us? For the love of it? Sure, but there’s more to it than that. I love food, but I don’t want to be a chef. I love music, but I don’t care to be a musician. The real reason I write is because I must. Writing is a part of me, as much as a pitcher’s sinking curve ball or a power hitter’s home-run swing. And if I were to reach the end of my life without having at least given writing a shot, I know I would regret it. Big time.

What makes you chase the dream?


Lisa_Gibson said...

I'm pretty much the same. I don't want to reach the end of my life and look back with regrets. I want to think I at least tried and gave it a fair shot. It would be terrible to always think about what might have been.

Carol Kilgore said...

Regrets are the pits. Writing is my life, too. Can't stop.

Tricia said...

I don't know but $1100 a month while chasing the dream ain't that bad. I'd be happy to get the $25 a day. Or even $25 period.

The average struggling writer never sees a dime until they hit the big league.

But you have a good point about what lengths we go to when the odds are stacked against us.

Amy Frazier said...

Since a well-crafted phrase will hang in the air soooo much longer than even the most incredible pop-fly, I guess it must be worth the effort! even if we can't hear the roar of the crowd...

Patricia Stoltey said...

I think I began to write because I wanted to see my name on the cover of a book. Now I write because characters wrestle me to the ground and force me to tell their stories.

Jenny S. said...

It is worth the effort, right? That's part of why we do it, too. (And because our characters won't have it any other way.)

I'm with you, Tricia. I'd settle for the $25/day! I'd even skip the meals...well, maybe one.

Happy writing, everyone!


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