It’s Still Not Luck

It happened again. When people don’t understand something, the reason has to be luck.

I’m at my last art festival. There is a sign in my booth, in 75-point Optima bold that says “Last Show! Thanks for 15 great years of art festivals!” I don’t want people thinking I snuck out the back door.

The strongest reaction is from other artists.
“Are you retiring?”
“No, I’m changing how I sell my work.”
“Yes, but with 100 million sites, that’s a long shot. I’m selling to galleries and wholesaling to interior design stores. And I’m starting to teach journal writing classes online.”
“How do you plan on getting galleries?”
Uh-oh, I’m in dangerous territory.
“While I was out of state, taking a course, I asked my husband to check out some galleries. He found some interest and I’m following up.”
At this point, the other artist looks up, nods wisely and says,
“I knew it. Your husband must be a great sales person. Galleries. You are so lucky.”
And that ends the conversation.
My husband has great sales skills. And I’m lucky.
Why is it luck?
Because if it’s luck, it doesn’t have to be hard work–it was “meant to be.”

If it’s luck, then there is no sense in trying hard or facing your own talent.
But it’s not luck.
I chose the course carefully–for the teacher, content, and location.
I prepared an information packet–art bio, photos of my work, artists’ statement. In print and on CD.
I researched some galleries and their hours.
My husband agreed to go to the galleries that were open when I was in class.
They liked the work. They gave me a specific assignment. I followed up. It worked.
It’s not luck. In fact, I don’t believe in luck. Or that the universe is my concierge of artistic delight.
This sounds suspiciously like my thoughts in yesterday’s review of The Secret.
At least I’m consistent.

This same weekend, someone asked why I had left jewelry design and fabrication. The answer is long, complicated and difficult, but I gave the one that stops people dead in their tracks.
“Because I had reached the limits of my competence and I can’t imagine 20 years of no artistic growth.”
The person looked at me, slightly fearful and horrified.
“Well, how did you know you could figure out something else to do?”
“I didn’t know. I tried. I made mistakes. I kept trying.”
He looked at me for a bit and then said,
“What a story. You have all the luck.”

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and artist. She is also a certified creativity coach, who is neither lucky nor unlucky. But her timesheet clocked in at 120 hours this week. See her work at

5 thoughts on “It’s Still Not Luck

  1. I think it’s too hard for many people to believe that what occurs in their lives is a result of their own actions, hard work, or lack thereof. So it’s safer and easier to believe in luck or magical magnetic thinking. I do think that sometimes the universe does drop great gifts (“luck”) in our paths, but usually not through any efforts of ours! Like how lucky are we to have found Quinn? Disclosure: Mari’s cat typed this reply 🙂

  2. Wow, I can’t believe it! You dropped something on your keyboard again and again a whole piece of writing that makes sense came out! How can one person be this lucky? 🙂

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