Sunday, October 3, 2010

What are the Odds? by Sherry Perkins

I learned about odds in a college statistics class. I learned that odds are the chance of one particular thing occurring out all possible chances. For example, since there are six sides on a die, the odds of rolling a three are one in six (16%). Since there are four suits in a deck of cards, the odds of drawing a heart are one in four (25%).

Recently I left a situation wondering, “What are the odds?” when I had several random occurrences unexpectedly. Occurrence number one: I found myself at an “entertainment” establishment where I had not been in years. Occurrence number two: While there, I ran into a friend who has been living in Pennsylvania for 20 years and this was her first time there! Occurrence number three: It was September 11! Now, each of these occurrences could be coincidence, right?

Yet, what are the odds that on that particular night, I went to that particular place? I’d say that’s 1 out of 365 since there are 365 days in a year (not counting Leap Year.) The same odds apply to the date being September 11, 1 out of 365. Additionally, since the place opened sixteen years ago, and this was my friend’s first visit, it means one out of 5,840 (sixteen years times 365.)

Furthermore, if you add each odd together, the combined odds for those situations are three out of a possible 6,570 chances (one plus one plus one, and 5,840 plus 365 plus 365). What are the odds? I’ll tell you! It’s only .0004 percent.

Were we meant to see each other? After all, it had been years since we last visited. Isn’t the new meaning of September 11 remembrance? Coincidence you say. I say fate, because would you bet if the odds were only .0004 percent of something happening?

Now, you may be wondering, “What do odds have to do with writing?” Well, we increase our odds of being published each time we submit a piece. On the other hand, we have absolutely no chance when we sit and wonder and leave the piece alone in a notebook or in a computer file.

Our pieces cry out to be published! They are begging to be read! Wait, don’t you hear them? I hear them. They are yelling out like crackling thunder, “Read me! Read me!” Therefore, the point of this is to motivate and encourage you to not only be active in your reading and writing, but also to be active in your submissions. Let your words breathe, let them live, set them free and allow them to be read (and not only by you and your family)!

Don’t smother and hide your stories, your poetry, your essays, or your ideas. Take control. Steer them, mold them, nurture them, and love them! We wouldn’t keep our children hidden from the world would we? Why do we do it to our writing? Don’t be the one to wonder “what if?”

Sherry Perkins has been published in magazines and newspapers across the state of Louisiana. Her article, Liberty, won Honorable Mention in the BWG Members Only contest. Sherry loves speaking to people, organizing, being supportive of others, and working hard. She recently tossed her hat in the ring for president of BWG.


  1. Your post struck a positive nerve. Just what I needed: Act,not wish. Congratulations on your success with "Liberty." georgiaD

  2. Really good post, Sherry. You're obviously a math person. :) I had a writer friend who always preached the shotgun theory: he said if we keep enough things in the mail, something would hit and we'd be published. That's very true. I used to practice the shotgun theory all the time with my ficiton. Need to get back to it. :)

  3. Oh Wow! Never had it put quite like this - wonderful post!


    Good luck & God's Blessings

  4. Amen sister! It's nice to dream about it, but it's better to act on it. Have a positive attitude and be aggressive! Congrats to you.

  5. I don't think we've met Sherry but I gotta tell you I loved this post. Those who do know and remember me realize I am one of the great procrastinators of all time. Never once in my life did I think a statistics lesson would get me on the ball. Hmmm. And, I barely made it out of statistics alive in grad school. Good luck on the presidential bid--you're following some pretty amazing past presidents.

  6. It's not often that someone is good at math AND writing. Certainly not me! Kudos, Sherry, and thanks so much for joining us!