Friday, September 13, 2013

Luck – Yup, It’s All About the Luck

What is the one thing that authors seldom talk about when it comes to being published?

The role luck plays in everything. Good luck and bad luck.

Writers talk about stick-to-itness. About the rules, about grammar, punctuation, agents, editors, and usually, they won’t mention luck.

Instead, everyone pretends it’s about how hard you work, or how well you write, or…anything but luck. No one wants to acknowledge luck and the role it plays.

But, ah…luck. Luck is the wind that pushes one boat just a tad ahead of another… It’s the ride up the elevator with someone who knows someone who knows someone who is looking for what you just wrote… Luck is having a well-known TV personality diss your book and start a sales frenzy that never seems to end.

That’s not to say that everything else doesn’t play a massive part and sometimes, one doesn’t need luck, because the rest of life falls into place to reward your abilities. And sometimes, you have it all, but bad luck means it takes time…because your dream editor, who probably would have adored your book…save she was served divorce papers today and you romantic hero has the same name of her rotten soon-to-be ex.

But for a group that writes so much of luck and chance and serendipity, it is amazing how many authors won’t acknowledge luck. As if mentioning it will diminish their accomplishments. But really, it isn’t easy to court luck. To woo luck and put yourself, constantly, on the road where you hope luck will pass, see you and take notice. Because there are a lot of times that luck isn’t on the road, it took a plane that day.

You can’t count on luck, but you can be humble in the presence of luck. Light a candle to her, or him. However you view luck.

Luck is why I’m alive. If my husband had taken a longer shower, or fallen asleep with earplugs in…I wouldn’t be here. Luck is why I’m blogging today… Luck is how I found that swag room at the San Francisco RWA Nationals and picked up that postcard, left by Terri.

I was lucky to find the Revenge and be part of this wonderful experience…

And as luck had it, look who sauntered by? It’s Deuce! Or as I like to call him, Ace. And just in time for me and the hubby to leave for Washington DC! "Sweetie, got room on the jet?" (Yes, I'm flying on Friday, the 13th.)

How have you been lucky?


Maureen said...

Morning, ya scurvy dogs! My luck with writing came from boarding this vessel. And meeting all me RT friends.

And the DH knowing CPR, of course!

MsHellion said...

I'm lucky every day--and I think the more grateful you are for the luck in your life, the more you will have it. Luck is just believing if you do this, eventually the Universe will make sure it falls in the right hands or you meet the right people. Luck, maybe, is another word for opportunity--because it was luck, perhaps, you found us, but you didn't lurk or not seize the moment. You leapt aboard the ship and made yourself at home...that's the kind of bravery that makes sure you stay lucky!

For me? I'm lucky to be born when I was, that I pursued the education I did, that I live in the country I do, and that I had the mentors in my life that I chose to listen to: the ones who said, "You're good at writing. Keep doing it." It's luck to hear those things; it works only if you listen or follow up.

Marnee Bailey said...

I do believe in luck. But I think it's true what they say, that success is found at the intersection of luck and hard work. I've come to think that publishing success is just that... working your a$$ off until luck finds you. LOL!!

Writing wise (and friendship-wise) I got lucky when I found Avon Fanlit which led me to you ladies. :) It would have been harder to come this far without you. :

Maureen said...

So true, Hels, is the right words at the right time that make all the difference!

Maureen said...

Marn - yup intersection of luck and hard work. So true. You got to be there, ready!

Terri Osburn said...

On a side note: In seeking out that pic for Mo, I learned this model IS indeed a pilot and he's from Pittsburgh. Now why didn't I ever run into him when I was partying back in the day??

I'm a firm believer in luck, but that you have to be prepared when luck strikes. If I'd have finaled in the GH the first year I entered, I would not have been prepared for that windfall. I was able to build on the final to get where I am today because I was at the right place in my writing journey.

So luck and timing must come together. Or as I often say, the planets have to align just right. I also like to think karma plays into it, which is kind of what Hellie says. What you put out does come back to you. Good or bad. I've seen it happen too many times not to believe it.

And I'm so glad Steph was there and that you found that post card!

Maureen said...

Yeah, luck isn't sitting on a barstool waiting to be discovered. Well, that is crazy, stupid luck and seldom strikes more than once in a blue moon.

You do have to be ready, I so agree! I hope I'm ready and I hope luck is ready for me!

Maureen said...

And I don't normally get all google over hotties, but I adore this one.

Haleigh said...

I'm a huge believer in luck, but I just as firmly believe that luck is completely wasted if you're not ready for it. My fav quote (similar to Marn's) - luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

So I firmly believe in the role of luck when it comes to publishing. It often does require just that right mix of the right agent in the right elevator who knows the right person --- but none of that means shit if the book you have the opportunity to pitch isn't the best possible book you could write. You know?

Which is really a re-hash of the morning's conversation ( can you tell this a word I'm passionate about? :)

Early on in my writing days, I saw some random comment on an agent's blog that said, "for published authors to now act like luck had nothing to do with their success is the highest form of arrogance."

Yes, published authors have worked hard, and yes they have amazing accomplishments. And yes, they also got damn lucky, a fact which can't be denied.

How have I been lucky? In writing - it was the moment I discovered fan fiction. Without that, I would have never met the Bat Babes, which brought me here, never even thought of writing as something I could do, and never found the community and skills I have today.

In life? Stumbling onto the one doctor in the country who could not only diagnose what was wrong with me, but figured out how to treat it. At my first appointment, he said, "I promise you'll have a baby within a year." I promptly said, "You're insane." I'll thank my lucky stars every day for the rest of my life that he wasn't.

Terri Osburn said...

Aw, Hal. That's the sweetest comment. Makes me misty. God bless that doctor!!

Haleigh said...

It makes me misty every time I think about it :)

irisheyes said...

I think I concur with the majority that luck exists but hard work and preparation play a key role. I used to whine and complain about how I had nothing but bad luck and everyone else out there had good luck... and then I got lucky! LOL

I'd say the luckiest thing to happen to me was meeting the DH. I look at my life in 2 parts - before DH and after DH. My outlook on life and my luck definitely changed for the better after. But then again I put a lot of hard work into that relationship and since meeting him I've had a change in attitude. I'm not as "woes me" as I used to be and I go after things more than I would have before. So, I suppose that proves the theories that I'm more lucky now because I work for it and the positive energy I put out there comes back to me. :)

I got misty too, Hal. I've often thought that type of struggle has to be one of the hardest out there. I'm currently watching a friend struggle and it breaks my heart! So glad you found resolution!

Terri Osburn said...

Irish, I grew up with a mom who often says, "If it weren't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all." And I bought into that way of thinking until I was about 30. Then I had a change of heart and attitude, and my life changed. The most positive I stay, the better it gets.

Which I guess is a way of saying we make our own luck. :)

quantum said...

I don't think luck is anything special, perhaps doled out by some benevolent deity to deserving writers. You create your own luck by creating the conditions for it, that is by weighting the odds. Haleigh caught the essence with
luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

It is just the random processes in an extremely complex world sometimes coming together to produce something memorable. A bit like a billion monkeys all typing in parallel and occasionally coming up with something sensible!

It's the nature of randomness that there will be both lucky and unlucky events. Smart cookies grab and build on the good luck while minimising the impact of bad luck.

Though outstanding talent will always make it regardless of luck IMHO.

I can remember lots of lucky events in sport, eg when rain stops play at Lords and England save the game as a result. Also bad luck as when David Beckham missed a penalty in a World cup soccer match and England were out of the competition!

Tis the way of the world!

AND you wouldn't catch me flying on Friday the 13th .... there are limits to randomness! LOL

irisheyes said...

LOL, Ter. I think your mom and my dad were probably distant relatives! My dad was the original Eeyore! It took meeting someone who had a better attitude to show me that you do indeed make your own luck.

I've always been big on personality types - how and why we do what we do. I know a lot of it we are born with, but I also believe that family dynamics and what happens to us when we are children impacts us a lot. It is so interesting to watch our two children - one thinks the world is her oyster and she's the luckiest person alive and she makes her own luck (a lot like her father); the other one is very negative, everything is a hassle and life is out to get him (a lot like his mother). On the bright side, though, he is nowhere near as bad as my dad or I was at his age. So, I think there's hope! LOL The challenge I've always had with the daughter is getting her to realize she's not invincible! It's all about BALANCE!

Marnee Bailey said...

I do think attitude plays into life in general, whether you call it luck or whatever. I think when you're looking for good things, you find them easier.