Third Time’s the Charm, Even When It Isn’t

I suppose it’s my luck that I get a chance to write about luck for a third time this month. Third time’s a charm and all that.

Sure, I could pick another topic. Write about something besides luck. But I’m a huge believer in that things happen for a reason. And I get the chance to write about luck for a third time in the lucky month of March.

And, as luck would have it, I’m feeling very unlucky this morning. As I mentioned last time, I’m a huge fan of the Kansas Jayhawks…the very same No. 2 seed that decided to bite it in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

While watching that game, I kept thinking it was amazing how many unlucky bounces a ball can make off a metal rim. Or how a player can get mauled and then be called for a foul. Or how something can seem inconsequential early on and mean so much by the time the seconds tick down.

Of course, March Madness is all about luck or the lack there of. It’s the luck of the draw, the luck of health over injury. The luck of shots going in at just the right time, of taking something on paper and turning it into reality, of guessing correctly how a person you don’t know will react and then capitalizing on it.

In reality, this is a lot like writing.

As writers, we never know if when we sit down in front of our computers if everything we have in our heads will fall out perfectly and land with a swish on the page.

Maybe we’ll airball the entire scene we worked on for hours and have to scrap it.

Maybe our dialogue will just clang around, never quite hitting the mark.

Maybe our luck will run out and we’ll have to stop short while really feeling a scene just to take care of some real-life need…and come back to the page with none of the momentum we left with.

In a way, writing is about luck, too. Somedays, it just wasn’t meant to be (as was the Jayhawks’ tournament, apparently) and somedays it’s all working and no one can beat us at our own game.

The key is to cull together just enough good days to outweigh the frustrating ones.

And march on.

Because the only way to get out of a slump is to shoot through it. And, luckily for we writers, we don’t have to wait until next season.

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6 thoughts on “Third Time’s the Charm, Even When It Isn’t”

  1. Sarah, I thought of you when I saw the news alert about the game. What a bummer. Reminds me of two years ago when my beloved St. Bonaventure team, which had made the tourney for the first time in forever, lost in the waning seconds to Florida. But you’re right – about basketball and writing – all you can do to get through the rough spots is to keep shooting and writing. And yay for not having to wait until next season for another chance at that scene!

  2. Sarah, As a North Carolina native, I feel your pain. As a writer, I couldn’t agree more. You never know when you’re going to nail it or mess up. You never know if messing up is necessary to nail it next time.

  3. Oh, the pain of March Madness, it burns so many of us! Good thing we can roll and adjust when it hits us while we’re writing!

  4. Well said. I couldn’t agree more. We have to keep going no matter what. I’ve been at this over 30 years and it’s rollercoaster ride with as many ups and downs

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