In some ways, I believe that. Usually, however, those ways have nothing to do with work. At the shoot for the POPULAZZI trailer yesterday, my friend told me about his friend, who was one of three people — three out of over thirty-thousand — to enter Pepsi’s Super Bowl challenge, and actually have his commercial picked to air during the game. He had a one in ten-thousand chance of being one of the winners, and he was! What a lucky guy!
Well no, not really. He was a guy who worked hard to put together a great piece. If there was luck involved, it was that the judges, who can’t help but be subjective, had the same sensibility he did, and loved his work. But really, that kind of thing is more skill than luck.
Big-deal real-life stuff though? To me, that’s where luck comes in. Like staying healthy. Sure, there are things you can do to stack the odds in your favor, but I know too many people and too many stories about people who did those things and still had terrible outcomes. Giving birth to a baby without major problems? Again, you can do things to help, but a lot of it? Luck. Here’s another one: I live in Los Angeles, where what happened in Tokyo gets me racing to fill my Emergency Kits. If an earthquake hits and my loved ones and I don’t get hurt, I am lucky.
I don’t mean this to sound fatalistic. In fact, it’s the opposite. What I’m saying is that with so much in the world we can’t control, it doesn’t make sense to give up the little power we have. We can control our writing by putting in the work, reaching out to agents and editors, making connections to other authors, and doing all the little things that will help our careers to thrive. It’s not always simple — I put in a full day today of my tush in one spot and my fingers at the keyboard… but the words only dripped out like molasses. It’s frustrating, but sometimes that’s part of the process.
I’m going to get back to that manuscript now, because I know that’s something I can control. And when I go to sleep at night, I’ll thank my lucky stars for helping me with all the things I can’t.