Sunday, January 15, 2012

Luck or Skill

I love to play games: board, cards, video, softball, whatever. When it comes to cards and other table games, I’m usually lucky the first few hands and then I don’t know if I get too sure of myself or what, but I start losing.

One time I played a dice game almost every weekend with one of my husband's aunts, and for around two years, I lost every hand. Don't ask me why I kept playing. I don't have an answer. Maybe because it was fun and I'm too hard-headed to give up. Then I finally won a game. Funny thing. We stopped playing. 

I did learn I wasn't a strategist and most games involve that skill.

Anyway, I've never counted on luck to carry me through anything. Lotteries. Tried them but I knew it was unlikely that I would win. But I do have to say at special church functions, I won several door prizes. There has been times I just "felt" something good would happen and it did.

Yeah, yeah, I know this all sounds strange because I did enter several writing contests over the years. But to me that wasn't entirely luck. A good portion of it had to be the story that caught the judges' attention along with my writing. So in that case, luck played only a small part.

Though not a game, but has to do with luck: when the day job I had for twenty years sold and was being moved away by the new company, I was blessed and fortunate to find another job immediately with the possibility of even another with a company I really wanted to work with. Well, I did. Now I work for the company I wish I had started at those twenty years before (I would've made a heck of lot more money and have a bigger 401K too).

I felt powerful like I could do anything. Though I had gone through hard times at the old company, I knew my job inside and out. I was confident. Then I started at the new day job and it kicked my butt. I felt stupid. I felt like I disappointed a lot of people. After thirteen (see #13 popping up) years, I'm finally back confident with my job though it's stressful and kicks my butt often. And some days I don't feel so smart. But not stupid, thank goodness.

When I got The Call last year and knew I would finally have a book published, I expected my luck to start getting better again, but I was aware it could stay the same. I figured it could go one of two ways. I could do real great at first (like I do in games) and then everything would slack off and I would disappoint myself and others. Or I would struggle in the beginning and then people would become confident in me and my books would slowly grow in popularity.

Well, I think it's a combination (so far) of both. I enjoy working with my editor and everything went well. Got a great blurb from a well-know author (my sweet friend) and impressed my editor and agent. The way I look at it, I did everything right. (I think.) But my sales haven't been where they need to be. I work real hard not to compare myself to anyone, but it's human nature to do so and I feel in some ways as if I let people down. Sorry. Pity Party moment.

BUT, it might be the other thing happening. Where I start off slow and everything grows in popularity. One of the benefits of not having an advance, I don't have to worry about it being paid back and maybe my publisher will give me a little longer to get the word out there. Everything is pointing to me getting another contract but who knows? They may decide I'm not worth the trouble.

It's a shame that this all didn't happen when the economy was better and I was making some great bonuses - the day job company hasn't paid one in three, going on four years.  The bonuses would've been helpful in paying for advertising. And we all know how that helps a lot.

Truth be told, there were a few other things that could've been done differently by others and I've wondered why some were treated better, but that's neither here or there and this isn't the place to air that.  The Party ends here.

I plan to hang in there and keep working at getting my name out into the public, write more books and see what happens.  The slow to start and grow in confidence and popularity sounds good to me.  So much better than depending on luck.

So wish me luck...uh...continued success and I'll let you know how the next book does.