Saturday, 9 March 2019

Luck -- How Important is it for your Writing Career?

Welcome to Week L of Authors' Tips: A to Z of Writing.
If this is the first time you are visiting this series, here's a quick recap.

Authors share their tips on writing fiction - and each week we talk about various aspects of writing. This week I talk about getting Lucky and whether that is a factor or not in your writing career. 

This post was originally written for the Pink Heart Society and you can read it here...

Luck is the “force that causes things, especially good things, to happen to you by chance and not as a result of your own efforts or abilities”. That’s the definition of luck in the Cambridge dictionary. 

We all do get it that talent without hard work will lead us down the path to failure and eternal damnation. Yet, whenever there is news of ‘something good’ coming our way, we inadvertently hope for a bit of good luck. I wonder what it would be like to have our well-wishers bless us with plenty of ‘good efforts’ or ‘good abilities’. Perhaps someone might just say something like, ‘wishing you tons of good hard work’? 

Oprah Winfrey has famously said – or perhaps she was simply paraphrasing Roman philosopher Seneca? – luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. No truer words have been said. 

It reminds me of the time when I came across one such opportunity and grabbed it with both hands: Harlequin had just launched its Aspiring Authors contest in India and I turned my short story idea into a contest entry. In hindsight, the opportunity itself was something that emerged totally out of the blue—a lucky break. After all, if I hadn’t been in the right place at the right time, the opportunity would have simply sailed past me. I ended up winning the contest and thus began my journey as a romance author. There was another such happy situation of preparation meeting opportunity when I wrote a screenplay for a filmmaker which went on to become a produced short film. 

For me, preparation is all about working on my craft while having an ear to the ground for possible opportunity. But I have learned that in life, there is always a ‘force’ at work. You may choose to call it a combination of enabling elements. Or you may call it luck. Without that special ‘force’ / enabling elements, your best made plans can come to nought. Haven’t we all experienced it at some point in our lives? Just when everything is going swimmingly well, and we’re that close to achieving a goal, one small factor can jeopardise it all. Sometimes you don’t have a clue as to what the ‘wrench’ in the works was! The high moment dissipates as if it never was, as if it was simply a figment of your imagination. Poof! 

Having experienced it multiple times, I have come to believe that there is one more factor at play in all this. Resilience. The ability to bounce back from challenges and setbacks while keeping a positive frame of mind is perhaps just as important as talent and hard work, opportunity and luck.
If it weren’t for that crucial trait, we would never have had the pleasure to read the works of JK Rowling, Stephen King, Margaret Mitchell, Agatha Christie and many others who were rejected multiple times. Resilience is perhaps the ultimate force that can see us through our writing journey. May the Force be with all of us! 

Don't forget to check out these K &  L posts from my author friends: 

Kindle Publishing by Sudesna Ghosh

Kill your Darlings! by Preethi Venugopala

Kill your Readers or Better Not... by Reet Singh

Length - Does it Matter in Writing by Devika Fernando

Writing Love Scenes by Reet Singh 

Creative Writing: A Leap of Faith by Preethi Venugopala