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Are You Ready For Your Blessings?

HAPPY ST. PATTY’S DAY!!!! A day for green drinking, leprechauns, and debauchery. This week, us Debs are discussing the luck we’ve had on the road to publishing. Before I begin, let’s take a quick deep dive into the word LUCK: The English noun luck appears comparatively late, during the 1480s, as a loan from Low German (Dutch or Frisian) luk,…
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Right This Way, Lady Luck

This week, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re chatting about luck and how it’s had an impact on our success as authors. When writing this blog, I actually typed “what is luck?” into Google. You guys know how I love Google. Here’s what came back: Success or failure brought by chance rather than through…
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Lucky coffee? That’s totally a thing.

I could never, ever discount the role that luck played in the publication of my book, SMALL ADMISSIONS. Of course, I believe in hard work (meaning writing, writing, writing, and then revising, revising, revising) above all else. The hours of editing are certainly, in my opinion, the single most important part of getting a book…
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Deb Eleanor on Luck and Lindsay Lohan

The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor BrownYou know, when I think of luck, I think of Lindsay Lohan.

No, really.

A few years ago, Lindsay was in a movie called Just My Luck.  You probably didn’t see it, and I can’t say I’d put it on your bucket list (though I am fairly fond of the cheerful, pop soundtrack, done entirely by a band called McFly), but the premise was really interesting.

Lindsay Lohan played Ashley, a girl who is ridiculously lucky in life until she happens to kiss a tremendously unlucky guy and voila, their luck factors swap.  Soon she’s down and out and he’s living the perfect life.  Having been lucky her entire life, she’s completely at a loss for how to deal with a string of ridiculously bad luck, and hilarity (or at least mild amusement) ensues.

Movie poster for Just My Luck, starring Lindsay LohanI’m not a big believer in luck, but it does strike me in my own life that for many, many years life was very tough for me.  And by tough I mean almost exclusively filled with first-world problems, but certainly with their own fair share of tears and drama.

And then life wasn’t so tough anymore.

It wasn’t because I kissed the right guy at a costume party.  It was because I had a good, hard look at my life, at the terrible choices I’d made and all the stupid things I’d done, and I decided I needed to change.  It was long and slow, and I owed a lot of people a lot of apologies, and had a lot of decisions to make, but it did change.  So when good things happen to me, I do consider myself lucky, but I invariably remember times when I was not so lucky, and that those days were largely of my own doing.

What do you think? Do we make our own luck, or are some people just naturally lucky?

And while we’re at it, would you say Lindsay Lohan is tremendously lucky, or tremendously unlucky?

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Deb Elise Feels Very Lucky

Lucky Charms GuyPeople say there’s no such thing as luck, or that you make your own luck.

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.

~ Deb Elise

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Make Your own Luck by Guest Blogger Jordan Rosenfeld

Write FreePlease join us in welcoming California writer Jordan E. Rosenfeld, author of two books for writers: Make a Scene, and with Rebecca Lawton, Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life. She is a contributing editor and columnist for Writer’s Digest magazine and a regular book reviewer for NPR-affiliate KQED Radio. She holds an MFA in creative writing and literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her stories have appeared in a variety of literary journals, anthologies and magazines and she hopes to finish a draft of her new novel, an urban fantasy, before her first child is born.

It’s heartening to stumble on a good idea that changes your writing life for the better in dramatic ways, which is how Rebecca Lawton, my writing partner and co-author of Write Free: Attracting the Creative Life, and I felt when we began the work that led to our book and our newsletter of the same name about five years ago. It’s, well, another feeling (or twelve) altogether when someone else gets that same idea, or rather, their variation on it, featured on Oprah before you, so that your work appears like the derivative.

Is it Lady Luck who smiled on an unknown Australian lady behind the mega-success The Secret, or is it, in fact, the very principle of the work that she, and we, believe—that like attracts like and that the focus of your attention, positive or negative, brings about an equal flow?

In truth, I don’t believe in luck. I will badly paraphrase the poet Ranier Maria Rilke who suggested that we make our own fate, which emerges out of our choices and actions (only he said so far more beautifully than I did). There is no predestined course, some labyrinth of turns in which, if we just took a left rather than a right, we would have stumbled into a jewel cache of luck. Luck is what happens when hard work and visions work in tandem like one of those cool two-person bicycles.

Make a SceneSo as our tiny labor of love, Write Free, was born and fledged in the heart of a small publisher in a tiny Northern California town, I didn’t waste even a few seconds of my life in jealousy over The Secret’s global success, right?

Wrong!! Becoming conscious doesn’t mean elevating out of my human body into instant enlightenment—I went there for awhile. I wanted to believe in luck too, but everything I’ve learned, the core of Rebecca’s and my book and our philosophy on life, tells me this isn’t true. It’s easy to see other people’s success as luck. I know so many writers (add: artists, entertainers, businessmen, etc) who have spent a decade slaving at a book, only to appear like an overnight success when the book (painting/career/theater show) finally debuted. It’s also easy to hold ourselves back from achieving what we want through a variety of complex techniques. That’s why Rebecca and I wrote Write Free. It’s why we spread the word through our free newsletter (shameless self-pimping here)—if everyone believed in luck, who would bother to turn out the literature, the films, the cool technologies that make our lives better?

You can believe in luck if you want—and imagine that all those successful people were somehow “born” into it—or fated to have it (and therefore why bother because it’s all who you know, or what MFA program you went through), but I challenge anyone with a vision or a dream to lay it messy and beating on your desk and tackle it with guts and inspiration. You might be surprised to find out just how much joyous dedication, sweat and persistence it takes to get lucky.

www.writefree.us
www.jordanrosenfeld.net
http://jordansmuse.blogspot.com

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Am I Lucky or What? by Deb Lisa Daily

It’s 11:30 on Tuesday night and I’m thinking about being lucky.

A friend of mine, the soon-to-be-published Abby Wittnebert said something the other night as we were drinking wine at Kristin Harmel’s book party. We were talking about publishing and luck and taking chances, and how bravery frequently pays off.

We were sharing stories, and I told her that it was part of me to take chances, to try to accomplish the things that were in my heart, even if statistics were against me. I always think, even if the chances are one in a million, somebody’s gonna get the big prize/book contract/coffee date with Oprah, it might as well be me. The great thing about it is, I’m lucky a lot. Great things happen to me on a regular basis, and I am both immensely thankful for them, and certain that I have some power steering in the control of my destiny.

“You have to be brave to be so lucky,” Abby said.

I thought about that, and told her about my mom — a person who never uttered the words “most writers can’t make a living” or, the most crushing piece of parental advice ever given, “You should have a back up plan in case (insert dream here) doesn’t work out.”

My mom told me I’d make a great writer. She told me to “go for it” , whatever “it” was. She told me to speak up when I had something important to say. She told me not to learn to type (there was a feminist plan in action here, which served its purpose on my first job, but sadly backfired a bit, as I am now a writer who can barely type.) She told me it was a waste of my talent and life if I didn’t try for the things that set my soul on fire.

“You’re lucky to be so brave,” Abby told me.

And she’s right. I am lucky. It was my mother who gave me the bravery that enabled me to follow my dreams. I spent many years of my early life wondering why some people were afraid to do the thing their heart wanted them to do, to take the chance to get the relationship, the job or the life they really wanted. And I never really understood it, until I was older.

I am lucky to be so brave. I was given wings as a child, when many children end up with their feet and their hopes stuck in cement. They have to break free, and sometimes that takes a very long time. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen at all, and those adults who were once saddled with cement shoes, are never quite able to step out of them.

I am lucky to be so brave. I am lucky to be who I am, to have the family I do, to have the opportunities I have, and to feel empowered to create the opportunities that aren’t immediately before me.

I hope you’re as lucky as I’ve been.

Deb Lisa

Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Lisa Daily