|I have three lucky horseshoes in my home|
I was recently told, and in quite a spiteful tone, that I have a charmed life. It made me think about perceptions. It made me question why we are so quick to see only the good aspects of someone else's life, while frequently focusing on the most negative aspects of our own.
I can see why someone might think that I lead a charmed life, but the reality is, no-one's life is perfect, however put together and blessed things appear to be. Everyone is dealing with something. That's the danger of making judgments about people when you're on the outside, looking in. You don't really know their situation.
It's easy to make a snap judgment on the fly - she wears Chanel perfume, she must be rich; she wears high-end make-up, she must be vain; she rides horses, she must be a snob; she ice-skates, she must be brave/stupid; she's published, she must have been very lucky; she's recorded an album, she must know people; she writes for magazines, she must be famous; she forgets things, she must be crazy...and so on and so forth. If I paid much attention to all this sniping, then it probably would drive me crazy!
But it makes me wonder, what are these people hiding from in their own life that they must escape by scrutinizing mine? I have always believed that if you are busy leading a full and interesting life, then you won't have much time left over for gossip. It certainly seems to be those individuals with far too much unproductive time on their hands who get a reputation for being busybodies and gossips. They live vicariously through the lives of other people, when they should be building a satisfying and productive life of their own.
Having said all of that I do believe in luck to a certain extent. I must do, because I have plenty of lucky charms in my house, from horseshoes, to clovers, to keys, to charm bracelets. So on some level I have long been drawing luck into my life that way. But for the most part I believe that good fortune favours the brave and you have to make your own luck.
By that I mean you have to show up for your life! You have to be quite vocal about what your capabilities are, your talents, your successes and achievements. You have to take time to train, learn, grow and develop your abilities. Because if you don't dare to blow your own trumpet every now and then, how will the world know you've arrived? And more importantly, how will opportunity know where to find you?
Anyone who has worked in an industry for 20 years develops a network of associates within that industry. This is true for any job, not just publishing. And the longer you have worked diligently for a company, the better your references will be. Again, this is true for any career, not just publishing. Knowing I have good references for my work as a writer certainly gives me confidence when approaching a new editor. Knowing I have a reputation with editors for being reliable, efficient and pleasant to work with, because I've never pulled a writers strop or missed a deadline, means that I'm happy for my editors to talk to one another about me if they need to. This has certainly opened up doors for me in the past and probably will again in the future.
Serendipity always plays a part in any success. The fact remains however, that I was efficient and I did meet all those deadlines, so I put the effort in long before I got to the door that swung open for me!
But it's the assumption that I haven't worked for it that gets my goat. The assumption that it's all just been handed to me on a plate - when the truth is I've spent many nights wide awake and working on one project or another, when most people are fast asleep and dreaming, when most people would have fallen at the first fence of rejection. There used to be the belief among some of my acquaintances of the past that I had 'the Midas Touch'; that 'it's all just come to her!'; that I've just been 'very,very lucky'. Utter bullshit. As anyone who has ever tried to get published, or tried to sustain a published writing career, you have to work at it, and you can't take your eye off the ball for a second. It certainly doesn't 'just come' to anyone, as you will know if you have experienced rejection.
Still, it's nice that people see my work and lifestyle as something worth talking about, so I plan to take the buzz of it as a compliment and leave the sting behind. Because as my Nan used to say;
"Ne'er mind lass, while they're talking about you, they're leaving somebody else alone!"
Well, I'm Charmed.