Happy Friday everyone! Casey here.
I recently had a thought-provoking conversation with my friend Susannah Hardy. We were discussing writing careers and the role of luck and it got me thinking about a blog post I wrote as part of my promotional tour for Mystic Ink.
So, how important to a writing career is luck vs. hard work? I’ll share my view in a moment.
See you at the end of the post.
Lightning Never Strikes Twice . . . or Does It? By Casey Wyatt
While perusing the news headlines looking for inspiration, I ran across the story of a Virginia woman who won the lottery twice. On the same day. Each ticket was worth $1 million dollars.
Wow, I thought, she is one lucky lady. How often does that ever happen? Who is ever fortunate enough to receive such a windfall in one fell swoop?
Then I realized I was that lucky too.
Sure, I’ve never won large sums of money, but I did manage to go from unpublished author to published author in the same year. Not once, but twice.
Unlike the lucky lottery lady, I won’t be rolling in dough anytime soon, but I did accomplish an important life goal. Like most writers, I started off with a dream of publication and no clue how to achieve it. After many years of dabbling and spinning my wheels, I took charge and learned how to finish a book.
Once I completed my first manuscript, I faced the daunting trio of critiques, contests, and submission, followed by praise, sometimes not so glowing feedback, and dreaded rejections. I took classes, participated in NaNoWrimo, joined RWA, started a blog, joined various social media, and pitched to editors in person.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
As I pondered my writing journey, I started thinking, because that’s what writers do – we’re professional thinkers – how much success is luck? And how much is hard work?
On the hard work front – I had to write the books, learn craft, create the queries, learn more craft, write synopses and actually submit the books. I also had to research the right publishers and determine who would be interested in said books.
On luck’s side – the editor had to be someone who loved my story, had capacity for it on their schedule, and wanted to buy it.
It may seem like hard work outweighs luck, but I think they are complimentary rather than at odds. You need both on your side.
Of course publication is only one goal on my roadmap of life. I’ll never, ever finish learning. I will receive glowing reviews and some not so great ones. I will still get rejected. And I continue to get up each day, put my pants on one leg at time, work my NDJ (necessary day job), and take care of my family.
Who needs the lottery? All in all, my life is pretty sweet as it is.
Hi. Me again.
Since I wrote this post, I’ve sold another manuscript (Mystic Storm) and I’ve also had plenty more agent and editor rejections :(.
Back to the original question I posed at the beginning of this post – how important is luck in a writing career vs. hard work?
My two cents: While luck can be an important factor in success (because timing is everything), if you don’t put in the hard work (finish the book, then submit it) then you can’t take advantage of Lady Luck when she comes calling.
Now it’s your turn – What role has hard work and/or luck played in your life?