August 07, 2008

Daily Blog 8: Good Luck and Good Writing

Many believe today is a day of good luck because of the day, date and year being the same, and being all eights.

In China, starting the Olympics on 8-8-08 at 8:8:08 was no coincidence. Instead it was considered exceedingly lucky since to the Chinese, numbers take their meaning from words of similar sound, with the number eight (pronounced like "baa" similar to the word "fa") meaning wealth and to prosper.

Some consider such beliefs superstitious, while others arrange things in their life in the hope that their efforts will be blessed with good luck and good fortune.

Even in this country, today's date is being met with enthusiasm. Couples, in San Francisco, for instance, are planning to get married today so their wedded life can be blessed with "good luck." A Las Vegas hotel will even have a Lion Dance to dispel evil spirits and bring in good luck and prosperity.

People will be playing the lottery today and wishing for good luck.

What does this mean to writers? That depends - are you superstitious or believe in making choices that will pave the way to your own good fortune?

Lady Luck

Lady Luck is fickle. Ask the gambler who always thinks the next big win is in the next turn of a card or the flip of a machine handle. But "luck" can become a religion, a faith of sorts, with the "believer" thinking that they'll only be lucky if they do such and such, or buy this, or do that. Life becomes a kind of prison in pursuit of "luck."

We all want to have good fortune and wish the same for others. But no lucky rabbit's foot, no lucky penny, no lucky ritual, will replace one thing - work and preparation. Some writers seem to be "lucky," hitting it big with their first novel, while others may toil for years and never become known beyond a certain area.

No writer has achieved any level of success by luck alone. (In several instances, a few who seemed to be "lucky" and amazingly talented turned out to be frauds, relying on plagiarism and cheating to become successes.)

Being a writer is work. Even the best of writers can have days when the words simply don't flow; when the best output is a few lines or graphs. But no great, mediocre or mid-level writer gets to the page that says The End without work - researching, reading, writing, re-writing and editing.

Luck is good. Working to change your "luck," or let's say improve your lot or improve your skills, is much more meaningful.

When someone seeks to achieve some measure of success, we wish them good luck. What we really mean to say is that we wish them well and admire the work they are putting in to get the hoped-for results.

** Your Turn: Superstitious? Have any rituals you have to do to write? Or feel free to share your view of luck and success.


  1. Wheee!! First to comment!
    Another excellent post. I've never been much of one for luck; I believe in sychronicity and times when everything just falls into place. Right thing, right place, right time. Generally it's when I'm paying attention and living in the moment.

    Quick note on 8/8/08 - it's been a VERY good day so far and started with the Muni driver holding the train for me as I ran up the hill. AND I got a seat even though I walked a good ways along the route. Maybe there is something to lucky eights!

  2. Nope, not superstitious. I'll walk under ladders and step on cracks. I'm trying to think if I have any rituals before I write...nope, can't think of any. Perhaps I should try to develop some.

    When the Brown Foundation granted me a fellowship at the Vermont Studio for four weeks, I got a ton of writing done. One thing that helped was that my desk was large and really clean. Basically my laptop and nothing else. At home, my desk is cluttered with books, notepad, laptop, keyboard, PDA, CDs, printer, etc. And I'm less productive. Perhaps my ritual should be to daily remove the clutter.

    Maybe a clean desk could be my good luck charm.

  3. Interesting post 9/08/08 - sheesh, I hadn't even thought of the date/numerical coincidence. Guess I'll have to wait til September 9 next year to do a post like this one! lol

    I don't have any rituals for writing. My inspiration comes in waves, and when I'm in the Zone I can go for 2 o3 three days with almost no sleep or food, just writing. But I do believe in luck. Every manuscript worth producing has some "luckY inspirations/epiphanies that come from seemingly nowhere as the story unfolds.

    Marvin D Wilson
    Blogs at:
    Eye Twitter 2 -

  4. Ugh! Believe me when I say that there is a large portion of Mainers who are superstitous. I grew up in one of the small fishing communities and they all have their little quirks and rituals. My Great Aunt was so superstitious that once when she came for Thanksgiving she refused to sit at the table because there were thirteen place settings. Alas, she made me sit with her at the kids table. Anyway, I digress... but I wish everyone as much luck as they aspire to today. Great blog!

  5. Someone smarter than me said luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I think many writers have that kind of luck.

    Leann Sweeney

  6. I think luck, sychronicity, and being in the middle of where you need to be at the right time all play a part. When I was young I used to wear a small heart necklace - it hung on my dads chain from his dog tags (WWII) he brought the locket back from Germany - It was my good luck piece and it never failed to bring me luck when I wore it. I gave it to my oldest daughter don't know if it brings her luck. Superstitious perhaps, does that hurt I don't think so. I also believe in Feng Shui - and a whole host of other things. Thanks Karen another great post.
    Dark Thunder

  7. I believe in Karma, not luck. I am not superstitious, but I will pick up a penny "for luck" and put it back where I found it in the hopes that it will bring someone else good luck. I try to minimize the negative energy I send out into the world (though the occasional rant is therapeutic, and being a writer with a blog, I'm sometimes compelled to share).


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