Luck, timing, hard work, or what?

Is it luck you’ve been writing for years?

Is it luck you joined a critique group?

Is it luck you blogged and tweeted and made connections?

Is it luck you were born with some natural talent?

Some may say so.

Is it luck if a writer’s first idea is a high concept idea?

Is it luck if a writer has a natural writing voice that didn’t take years to develop?

Is it luck when a blog goes viral?

Is it luck when a writer rewrites and revises for six months or longer?

Some may say so.

Is it luck when you pay money to attend conferences and network?

Is it luck when you pay attention to the market and work on your story premise so it’s unique and commercial?

Is it luck when you purposefully study craft and improve?

Is it luck you take feedback seriously and apply it to your writing?

Some may say so.

Is it luck when a writer snags an agent?

Is it luck when a writer gets a book deal?

Is it luck when a writer hits the bestseller list?

Is it luck when a writer writes a story based on a dream and makes millions?

Don’t underestimate the hard work behind all the luck.

36 Responses to Luck, timing, hard work, or what?

  1. Jessica Bell February 2, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Wow. What a great message in here. I don’t think any of it’s luck. It’s being in the right place at the right time AS WELL as having talent to take advantage of being in the right place at the right time. Great post!

  2. Becky Taylor February 2, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Hear, hear! Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

    • Laura February 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

      Jessica – There’s definitely some good timing in there, but I think it weighs more on the side of the writer creating the opportunities by getting out there.

      Becky – I like that saying!

  3. Kris February 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    Not luck. Just hard work, good timing, maybe a smidge of pixie dust. 🙂

    And remember, it doesn’t always happen the way you think it will. I NEVER thought my first books would be nonfiction.

    As always, Laura, great post. There’s no such thing as an “overnight success.” There’s always hard work and sleepless nights behind it.

  4. Amparo Ortiz February 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    AWESOME post!! I agree 100%–hard work should never be underestimated. I think some writers wash their hands with that whole “Oh, that’s just a mix of luck and great timing that got X Author published”. Maybe. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t work their boo-tays off for it 😀

    Oh, and guess what? You won a query critique from me!! Check my blog for details!!!

  5. anne gallagher February 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Thanks so much for putting this all into perspective. I really needed to hear this today.

  6. Laura February 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Kris – So wise. Yes, it hardly ever seems to happen when or how we think it will!

    Anne – It’s a good perspective to have. If we’re just hoping for good luck, we’ll won’t work as hard on our writing!

  7. Stina Lindenblatt February 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Well, when you put it that way. 😀

    My former CP recently landed a significant 3 book deal (it went pre-empt). It was not luck that got her there. It was a lot of hard work and smarts.

    She knew YA dystopnians were hot, but she hates romance (killed her to crit my stuff 😉 ). Since the male market is underserved, she wrote a YA dystopian novel from a boy’s pov. Luck, no. She saw an opportunity and took it. Anyone else could have done the same. But most wouldn’t have. Most are still writing YA dystopian novels from a girls pov that focuses on romance–because that’s what’s selling. And that’s what’s hitting the agents’ inboxes. 😉

  8. Creepy Query Girl February 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    LOVE this! SO eloquently put and I think that quote ‘the harder i work, the luckier I get’ falls in here nicely. Great post!

    • Laura February 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

      Stina – What a wonderful story. We have to be willing to be flexible and see how our writing can fit in – or how we can be flexible and change it up a bit.

      Katie – Problem is – hard work doesn’t always mean success – but that depends on how we define success! 🙂

  9. Angela Felsted February 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Thanks for the encouragement. I have some control over how hard I work, but none over my luck. 🙂

  10. Kelly B February 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Great posting.

    Call it whatever you want. The important thing is to find that one thing you are passionate about and be passionate about it. Everyone measures success differently. Just picking up a pen and putting it to paper can make you successful as long as you are doing something you are passionate about.

  11. Susan Kaye Quinn February 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    I believe in making my own luck.

    Also, I just want you to know, I SO enjoy your posts! You always have something delightful and interesting to say! Thank you for sharing. 😉

  12. Leigh Moore February 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Ah! Fantastic post. Luck is what we make of it. Thanks, Laura~ <3

  13. Trisha Puddle February 2, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Great post, Laura.

    I create my own luck. I stick my beak everywhere I can, ’cause I’m a hard working stickybeak. LOL.

  14. Ellie February 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Love this post! Following you from Jill’s blog.

  15. T. Anne February 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Amen! Hard work and some blood, sweat and tears! Not to mention all those “over-night” successes. 😉 I think the Lord has a lot to do with our ‘luck’. =)

  16. Shannon O'Donnell February 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Love, love, love this!!!! And I sooooo needed this right now. Thanks, Laura. 🙂

  17. Lisa Green February 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    I’ll let you know when I get to those last three… 😀

    • Laura February 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

      Thanks for commenting everyone! And here’s to creating our own luck through hard work!

  18. Patti Nielson February 2, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Like Oprah says: Luck is when hard work meets opportunity.

  19. Sherrie Petersen February 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    Ha! Becky took my quote! That’s one of my favorites and I totally believe it so I try to prepare myself for every opportunity that might come my way 🙂

  20. Elaine February 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Luck would be wasted without hard work and skill and a good story-line 🙂

    • Laura February 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

      That was great Elaine – all the hard work and great opportunities mean nothing without a great storyline. I love it!

  21. Jill Kemerer February 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    Yeah, I think it’s easy to dismiss part of success as luck, but we can’t dismiss it all and we shouldn’t. Great post!

  22. Paul Greci February 2, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    So true, Laura. The harder you work, the more chance you have of getting lucky.

  23. Lydia K February 3, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    You are such a great support, Laura. Thanks for the reminder; I like to blame luck all the time but we all need permission to pat ourselves on the back!

  24. Jennifer Hoffine February 3, 2011 at 3:04 am #

    Yes! Great post. Yes, luck and timing are involved with getting a successful writing career…”Luckily”, there are so many things we can do to up our odds of getting those things for ourselves:)

  25. J E Fritz February 3, 2011 at 3:33 am #

    I liked this. What some call luck, others call hard work, coincidence, or persistence. Any or all of these could be correct.

  26. angela ackerman February 3, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    Love this, Laura! It is hard, hard work. If we keep at it, we’ll always succeed.

    Have a great week!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  27. Amie Kaufman February 3, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    It’s always true–the harder I work, the luckier I get!

  28. Donna February 4, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    Well said! Like those actors who’ve been working in unremembered roles for years and are suddenly ‘discovered’.

  29. Elle Strauss February 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    I don’t believe in luck. I believe in hard work and providence and that the journey is more important than the destination.

    Thanks for reminding us!

  30. Kimberly February 6, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    This is such a fantastic post! I love it.

  31. Kate April 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    I really do think it’s 99% hard work and then the magic remaining 1% which really is luck. There is a fraction of it that just IS out of our control, no matter how much we put into it.


  1. Tweets that mention Luck, timing, hard work, or what? – Laura Pauling -- - February 2, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andi Stenger, SusanKayeQuinn and Kristine Asselin, Laura Pauling. Laura Pauling said: Luck, timing, hard work, or what? […]

Leave a Reply