I've been reading a lot about whether or not being a successful writer is has more to do with luck or working hard. I believe it takes both. While reading Kristen Lamb's fantastic blog, she covered this subject beautifully so some of what I say about this is coming straight from her words. I thought it was an interesting subject and something that really made me THINK so I wanted to talk about it today.
Unfortunately, we can work ourselves to the bones writing everyday, sharpening up our writing skills, reading everything we can get our hands on about our craft and yet... if we don't have a little luck it could all be for nothing.
Before I began writing, I thought my calling in life was to be an interior decorator. I took classes and did everything I could do to perfect my skills. Then when I felt confident, I began getting the word out to friends, family, and co-workers that I was a decorator. I got a few clients and felt I was on my way. People at work were passing the word around and asking me what could I do to help them decorate this and that room. I was feeling great!!
Then the ball dropped and my little itsy bit of luck ran out as fast as it appeared. My husbands company wanted to transfer him to another state. I knew at that moment that all my hard work, all my connections were out the door and if I wanted to continue decorating, I'd have to start all over again from scratch. It turned out to be non-successful as I discovered that not knowing one single person where I lived was way too difficult for me to start a business all on my own. I tried a few things but in the end, I gave up. I had no luck!
It proved to me that a lot of success is being in the right place at the right time in the right conditions. It also proved to me that I didn't have the kind of passion I needed. If decorating was really what I HAD to do in my life, I wouldn't have given up. Yes a little luck would have helped but in the end, I wasn't willing to do the hard work it would have taken.
Its the same thing with writing. I know that most of us writers work really hard. However, there are people who work their tails off their entire lives and get nowhere. Others pop out one book and SHAZAM!!!! Success! A lot of untalented people who have done very little work are rewarded.
The man who invented air-conditioning died penniless because he didn’t have the LUCK to run across an investor who saw what he had. The man who created Superman handed away his idea for pennies, because he didn’t have the luck to meet a person who wouldn’t take advantage of him.
I think it just goes to show that we need both. We need to work ourselves to death to write as good of stories as we can and then we need to actually finish those stories and get them out! All the luck in the world can't help us if we don't get our stories out there. Then a little luck would sure help! It's too bad we can't just order up some luck on eBay, huh?
What about you? Do you have any instances where luck did or didn't help you along the way? Do you think writing success has to do more with hard work or luck?