Monday, March 5, 2012

Luck: Keep your eyes open and cover a lot of ground

by April Henry

I've been thinking about luck lately.  Can you make your own luck?

In many cases, I think you can.

Four mornings a week I run five miles. Now that it's light out again I keep my eyes peeled for the glint of coins. I love to find change.  Coins (and even bills) say "In God We Trust," and it's a reminder that I shouldn't worry and fret so much. (I am an excellent fretter.) Sometimes weeks can go by without finding a single coin.

Last year, I found $2.44.5. (This total includes a half penny.)  So far this year I have found $.34.

Back in early 2009, when I was very worried about money (I had quit my day job a year earlier), I found a penny as I walked to the post office.  Then another penny.  Then, on an unpaved road, glinting in some pine needles that were the same rust red color, I found 20 pennies. It was such a strange sight. I have no idea why they were there.  Maybe someone got tired of them cluttering up their parking change stash and just dumped them?

For me, those coins felt very lucky. Felt like a message that everything would work out. (And it has.)

I think there are some tricks to luck:
- Keep your eyes open. For example, I tried all the standard ways to get an agent. But when I saw an agent's name mentioned in an article in the New York Times, I thought "Why not?" and sent her a query. We've been together ever since.

- Cover a lot of ground. Your first book didn't interest any agents?  Break it down and rewrite it.  Or start a new one.  Keep trying, keeping pushing, keep putting one foot in front of the other.

- Call yourself lucky.  Since 2004, I have kept a little journal called "Good Things."  I put little things in there (4-11-2006 "Saw great blue heron.")  I put big things in there (4-29-2006 "Made New York Times bestseller list.")  I count myself lucky very often.

Every night, before I go to sleep, I try to think of three things I'm grateful for that happened that day.  I won't lie to you. Sometimes it's a stretch.

This month, I feel very lucky to have two books out: the paperback of Girl, Stolen and the hardcover of The Night She Disappeared.

Do you have any tricks for feeling lucky?


  1. What an inspiring post, April. Your penny incident sounds like one of those dreams where you spot money on the ground. And as you begin to pick it up, more money appears.

    But what sticks out most (for me) in your post is this: "I think there are some tricks to luck:
    - Keep your eyes open."

    We might have our road to success all mapped out, but sometimes it pays to follow another road that appears along the way.

    1. I have dreams like that all the time, which was why this real life incident was so strange.

      Yours in open-eyedness


  2. Gratitude, keeping your eyes open, asking "why not?"
    Thank you for this lovely, thoughtful post!

  3. That "good things" list is a great idea.

  4. I often look for coins too; once I found a couple dollar bills. Once I even found some poetry that someone had written; they had left a few pages lying around. So it's interesting to look around for stuff like that.

  5. There's a song by Steve Earle where the lyrics go:" Keep your eyes open, pick up whatever you find" - I think we're kindred spirits!

  6. My brother's always finding money, wherever we go...And I've recently started a similar journal. It's fantastic to keep in mind all the wonderful things we stumble upon every single day!

  7. I love your Good Things notebook. I don't write it down, but I try to have that same attitude. May have to start keeping track of them though. Great post!

  8. I'm always picking up lucky pennies too! But I never thought about counting what I find... I love the notebook idea too. Thanks :)

  9. Finding money is one of the perks of early morning running. The most I've found was a $20 bill. Now that was a lucky day!