richard lewis

Weekly Wrap: Just Our Luck

by Susan Henderson on January 26, 2007

After I wrote my weekly wrap, I decided to send it to Huffington Post. If they run it, I’ll link it here. And now I’ll have to write something new, I guess.

The topic of luck sure triggered some emotions this week. I don’t know what I believe about luck. Certainly I work at my craft as if I believe that persistence and talent and good will are the key ingredients. But we all know lovely human beings who left this world with gorgeous manuscripts sitting on their hard drives. It’s a tough business, and I think we all hope we will be the ones to break through.

What I gave a good deal of thought to this week is the fact that 20-plus years of the following have not landed me a book deal: persistence, education, contacts, kindness, patience, awards, humility, stubbornness, conferences, panels, magazine publications, magazine editing, manuscript editing, knowing the market, prayer, hope, hopelessness, advanced praise blurbs, writing every day, taking criticism, taking risks, trusting agents, opening doors for others, listening to my inner voice, and having agents and editors say they’ve fallen in love with my books.

I say none of this out of self-pity. I am posting my quickie-history here as a reality check. It’s the reason LitPark exists – because this is the road we’re all traveling along. And even those of you with book deals and rabid fans know there’s no coasting in this business.

Maybe this week’s guest, Brad Listi was right to say that the most important ingredient in a writer’s career is luck.

Well, then – Can we position ourselves so we are more likely to get lucky? Is hard work, in all its various forms, akin to buying extra lottery tickets? If you buy 100 lottery tickets, are you more likely to win the lottery?

Your answers to the Question of the Week are so awfully beautiful and startling. Thanks to those of you who gave your thoughts: Lance Reynald, Simon Haynes, Betsy, Jon Armstrong, Gail Siegel, Richard, Kaytie, Heather McElhatton, Maria Headley, amy, Paula, Carolyn Burns Bass, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Aimee, Robin Slick, mikel k poet, Julie Ann Shapiro, mattilda, Ronlyn Domingue, Kimberly, Juliet, Cherie Burbach, Dennis Mahagin, and Jason Boog. Somehow, the collective answers are the very definition of a writer’s struggle. I hope you’ll go back and read them. It is truly an honor to have your company and your voice here.


In the mail, I received a book from my friend, Richard Lewis. I’m so proud of him, I want to show off the cover.

Richard lives in Indonesia, and this is his second book about the Muslim culture in his region. This one happens to be set against the catastrophic tsunami we all know about and an American brother and sister trying find their parents who have disappeared in the storm.

Richard, thank you for what you said in the acknowledgments section. It means a lot to me.


Tune in tomorrow, especially if you’re a songwriter!