Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Luck or hard work?


The luckiest people I know are the ones who work hardest. I was recently thinking about a woman I nominated for a service award. Some would call her lucky to be a New York Times best-selling author. I know different. She works her tushy off!

No matter how under gun she is with a deadline, or under the weather, she's always positive and helpful to others. Until I got to know her, I thought she was lucky too.

Actually, the woman types 120 words a minute. Her publisher likes her to put out at least three single titles per year (because they know she can) and she somehow manages to do it...but it's not easy. At one point she admitted that it was taking a toll on her health. I suggested she ask for more time to complete each book so she can enjoy life a little. I don't know if she finally did that or not. I worry about her, because she's one of those people who just can't say 'no' even when she should.

I wonder how the people who work the hardest to get where they are manage to make it look easy...or make it look like they were just lucky. If it were me, I'd be waving a flag saying, "This wasn't dumb luck, people. I worked my a** off for this!" LOL Well, okay, maybe not. But anyone who experiences professional jealousy ought to know this is what it takes to be so "lucky."

19 comments:

  1. Great post, Ashlyn! Very few successful people are just lucky. You're right. It's almost always about years and years of hard work.

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  2. Love this post! My dad's always told me the harder you work, the luckier you get. Even when it looks like an overnight success, chances are there are years of unseen labor behind it.

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  3. I loved your post, Ashlyn and totally agree.

    My creative writing teacher used to say that writing is 5% Inspiration and 95% Perspiration!

    I hope your friend takes your advice and takes the time to replenish her creative soul. :)

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  4. You are just so right. Luck is winning the lottery. Success comes with hard work. Something every writer needs to know before he or she types that first word. And I personally know that your "luck" came with damn hard work..and a lot of talent.

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  5. I so agree, Ash! I think there is some luck to it to an extent, having the right manuscript at the right time picked up by the right publishing house. But everything else is hard work to get to that point and beyond!

    Sure a very few become overnight successes, but most of have years of struggling, rejections, disappointments, and giving up! And then deciding we just can't not (I know, double negative), write. The stories are begging us to write them, and so we do what we have to do. We put our hearts and souls into them! Maybe we'll get to be one of the "lucky" ones, after we've worked darn hard to get there! :)

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  6. I've had a lot of jobs but writing is the most difficult. It's a ton of hard work. I think when people see us sitting at Starbucks staring at the computer screen writing, they don't know we're working hard. It sure doesn't look like we are.

    I was there on Sunday with my critique partners working on deadline. One of my Starbuck's friends/fans was a little offended I didn't just jump up and run over to talk to her. I got a text from her later and explained that when I'm working--especially with my critique partners--my time is not my own. I was worked day.

    Sometimes I think it would be better if we wore uniforms--picturing me in a fire fighters Protective Gear while writing a love scene--that way we have at least a slight chance of not looking so 'Lucky'.

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  7. I believe I know who you're talking about and you're so right. Great post! :o)

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  8. Awesome post! Very often people who are referred to as an over-night success have been working their asses off for years.

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  9. So true. Luck is no substitute for hard work--although, a little luck never hurts!

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  10. Thanks for your comments, everyone.

    Robin...your idea of a uniform is great! Only most of us would choose a bathrobe and slippers with coffee mug emroidered on somewhere.

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  11. I don't mind working hard...as long as a little luck is thrown my way as well. All of us have a little luck in our lives, we just have to slow down enough to recognize and be grateful for it...whether it is finding that perfect someone who was in the right place at the right time or getting that snazzy pair of shoes that was the last one in your size or having that parking space open up just as you arrived (-:

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  12. Awesome post! Hard work does pay off with a touch of luck called being at the right place at the right time tossed in. I remember saying once if I could catch a lucky break, I'd be more than willing to do the work. I got the break and now I'm enjoying the work.

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  13. Well said, Carolyn.

    I feel I was in the right place at the right time with the right idea.

    But then the work started! You SB authors know how MUCH work...

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  14. There's a saying that goes, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."

    People who work hard definitely make their own luck!

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  15. I hadn't found the right pic until later today...but I went back and added it. I think it fits.

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  16. Ashlyn, you said it. Work hard, THEN poke your head out of your prairie dog hole and see if there's any luck headed your way--then get back to work.
    One qualifier, though. I still love to write and I am lucky. I'm soooo fortunate to live in a culture that values freedom of expression, that embraces concepts like personal leisure and reading for pleasure, I could go on, but I hear my WIP calling...

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  17. I was hoping you'd weigh in, Grace...since you're a NYT Bestselling author!

    And THANK YOU, not only for inspiring us, but also for reminding us we live in a society with a bill of rights protecting our freedom to write and read what we please.

    Long live the first amendment!

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  18. Hi Ashlyn! Our thoughts on the subject are very similar. :}

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