Janet Sumner Johnson
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Feeling Lucky


26, 2012 |

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To state the obvious, I didn’t post last Monday. What with the Thanksgiving frenzy that starts at least a week before the actual day, it just didn’t happen.

We had family coming to celebrate the holiday with us, so that meant it was finally time to shrug off my writer’s mantra (being: Write first, clean later). Yeah, that was a good thing. My floor even got mopped. Laaaaa! (*read that: heavenly choir bursts into song*)

Anyway, they came and we talked, watched movies, played games, made a farce of going outside (with the freezing wind), and ate WAY too much—turkey, stuffing, cheese, gravy, potatoes, pies (and I know some of you are thinking that the cheese doesn’t really fit on that list, but let’s just say you don’t know my husband and his brother!). In short it was wonderful.

And I was feeling all kinds of grateful for everything in my life. Just like the license plate I saw:


In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot about this, lately. I do feel lucky. Lucky to have a hard-working husband who loves me. Lucky to have 3 beautiful kids who are still happy to hold my hand and give me hugs. Lucky to have wonderful extended family including in-laws I love. Lucky to have a job I can do from home. Lucky to have writing in my life. Lucky to have an agent. Lucky to have so many friends scattered all over the world (many of whom I’ve never met . . . and uh, yeah, that would be all of you guys!). Lucky.

The thing is, my life is not perfect. In fact, far from it. I have struggles and hardships. Bad things happen to me and to people I love all too often (and uh, read that as understatement). I worry that I make wrong decisions (and I’m not talking the red-shirt/blue-shirt kind). I worry that I don’t do enough for others. I worry that I don’t keep in touch with my friends and family enough. And on and on.

But I still feel lucky.

Because I think “luck” (or perhaps a better word is “blessings”) is there for the finding. Even in the hard stuff. It’s just a matter of looking.

What do you guys think?

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Still Harping on Justin Bieber


01, 2011 |

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“Luck is what happens when Opportunity meets Preparation.” -Seneca (Roman dramatist)

I heard this quote today, and it really resonated with me. It’s so easy to attribute a person’s success to Luck. And perhaps it’s true. But that doesn’t mean there was no work or effort involved.

Take Stephanie Meyers. I’ve heard it said that her success is merely luck. And perhaps that’s true about the fact that she hit on the next teen craze. But the craze didn’t just find her. . . . She spent hours writing a novel and editing it. Then she took the time to write a query and put herself out there. She was prepared when opportunity came knocking.

Another prime example: Justin Bieber. His rise to fame is astounding, and it would be easy to dismiss him as the luckiest kid in the world. But fame didn’t just show up on his doorstep one day. He was learning to play the drums when he was two. He was entering contests and putting his performances online for others to view by the time he was ten. Sounds simple, but it takes guts. And work. Opportunity came knocking BECAUSE of his preparation.

So when I heard this quote, my mind translated it into this: “Don’t sit around hoping to get published or worry that you’ll never be lucky enough. Go out and write. And write. And write. Then don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”

Because you never know when Opportunity will come knocking. And if you aren’t prepared, it might just pass you by.

What are you doing to be prepared?

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Do-It-Yourself: Building a Luck Pool


13, 2010 |

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After multiple requests that I share my luck, I feel that Christopher at Notes From the Underground has the right idea about sharing the secret of building your own ‘Luck Pool.’

It’s the whole teach-a-man-to-fish idea. And since I won’t always be there to send my extra lucky vibes to everyone, you better build your own.

So here are the instructions.*

  1. Identify a body part that you think is unique or the bees knees (and please don’t tell me where it is . . . I’m not sure I want to know). Ex: Double-jointed thumbs; A second toe that’s longer than the first; Those pointy-tipped ears; Whatever.
  2. Dip that spot in green ink. Don’t wash it off. Just let it wear off on its own. (I still recommend that you shower and stuff like that, because otherwise, that’s just gross. Just don’t TRY to scrub it off)
  3. Build up good karma. Ex: Hug a tree; Put coins into expired meters (just make sure there’s a car there . . . and I think you get bonus karma if you see a meter maid nearby); Refrain from yelling cuss words at the jerk who cuts you off; . . . you get the idea.
  4. Find a four-leaf clover. I know, you’re scoffing at this, thinking ‘that’s just an old wives tale,’ but I found one when I was a kid. And look at my luck. Just sayin’.
  5. Wait for the bounties to shower down upon you. They typically come in threes, so don’t greedily be expecting more once you get them. You have to let the luck build back up.

And voila, you are the proud owner of your very own ‘Luck Pool.’ Go and use it wisely.

*The writer of this blog makes no promises for the effectiveness of each individual ‘Luck Pool’ that is created and cannot be held accountable in the case that the ‘Luck Pool’ is defective or in rare, unfortunate cases actually decreases a person’s luck. Should you choose to follow the instructions, you do so at your own risk, and shall be solely responsible for any undesirable effects that may be produced.

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Luck and Personal Postulates


08, 2010 |

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So I have this theory on luck. At least how my luck works.

I believe I have this pool of luck inside me somewhere. Your guess is as good as mine as to where it actually resides. Maybe it’s in my lucky double-jointed thumbs, who knows?

But see, this pool can only hold so much. So when it hits a breaking point, I’m showered down upon with all kinds of winnings. Of course, once it’s gone, it’s gone so I have no more luck until the pool fills back up. Maybe that’s a karma thing, but I’ll have to think further before I postulate on that one.

Usually it’ll be a string of winnings. Sometimes it’s blown in one big-shot offering, but I never know when it will strike. It’s like waiting for Christmas, but not knowing what day it’s on.

Going back ten years, here are some of the prizes I’ve won in random order:

-A trip to New York (flight, hotel, Michael Jackson concert tickets)
-Lunch for two at my favorite restaurant
-A year membership to SCBWI
-Free airport parking
-Books (several, and diverse)
-Gourmet chocolate-caramel apples (came in a freezer-package in the mail, very cool)
-Handmade bracelet
-Gift cards
-Full fixings for French dip sandwiches

Many of these came in quick succession, very few came as a single shot (just the $5000 in fact—that wiped my luck out for a good 2 years).

I know luck can often be looked down on in plot-lines. We’re generally told that events in our novels have to be established, planned for, and have a good reason. But still, luck has its place. So where does it fit in in your work? Does it?

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