I believe in luck.
I’m not talking about the “wishing on a star,” “genie in the lamp,” or “fairy godmother sending you to the ball” variety. Though, to be honest, I still believe in that kind of luck, too. But it’s very rare.
No, the kind of luck that I’m talking about is the luck you make for yourself.
I think Disney got it right in The Princess and the Frog, when Tiana’s father told her:
“You wish and you dream with all your little heart. But you remember, Tiana, that old star can only take you part of the way. You got to help him with some hard work of your own.”
My parents instilled in me the virtue of hard work. Even though I was raised on Disney movies, I’ve always believed that good fortune was something you have to earn. (Maybe that’s a bit of my Lutheran upbringing seeping through there.)
I’m not a hard worker, though. I’m a dreamer.
So, how does one reconcile being a dreamer with the need for hard work to make those dreams come true? Consistency.
If you ask my wife, she’d tell you that I am one of the biggest dreamers out there. I love to enter contests. Though I have yet to win the Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes ($5,000 a Week for Life!), the HGTV Dream Home, or a free trip to the Disney Parks, I have scored my share of free movie passes, Disney gift cards, t-shirts, and TV show memorabilia.
How do I do it? Volume, volume, volume! I enter contests almost every day. I’m not obsessive about it, but when I come across a contest with a prize I want, I enter it. Yes, it occasionally means that I have to LIKE a Facebook page or subscribe to an email newsletter. But it’s a small price to pay.
Now I’m applying this same dogged consistency to my writing. My New Year’s resolution was to write 500 words a day. It’s a small amount by some standards. During National Novel Writing Month, for instance, participants are encouraged to write 1,667 words a day to meet the goal of 50,000 words for the month. That was too much for me.
So far, 500 words a day is working for me. I’ve finished one short story (which I’ll be submitting to an anthology once it’s been edited). And I’ve restarted my superhero novel. Yes, this is my third (possibly fourth) attempt to write this book, but I have a better handle on the character now and I know what I want to do with it.
Yes, this consistent schedule is forcing me to give up some time that I would otherwise have squandered on games, Web surfing, or watching television. But as I said before, it’s a small price to pay.
I’m a dreamer, and my dreams need a little help getting here. As a well-known archaeologist/adventurer once said, “Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.”