“Karma, Karma, Karma…chameleon!”

- by Delilah Devlin

Okay, now that Boy George’s song will be in your head for the rest of the day, let’s talk about karma and why you need it!

I’m a huge believer that none of my successes would have happened without my creating positive karma around me.

My son’s early driving disasters taught me what karma was all about. Every time he drove somewhere he shouldn’t, he had a wreck. After the third wreck that injured his sister slightly, he finally believed that something was at work.

What does good or bad karma mean to me? Karma is the “energy” that surrounds you and helps or hurts you. It’s something you build—it can’t just happen to you. If you do good deeds—good surrounds you. If you do ill toward others, it clings to you like Pig Pen’s smutty cloud of dirt.

My sister, Elle James, and I have preached “good karma” to our fellow “Roses” at Roses Colored Glasses since before we formed the group. Whenever we were tempted to criticize another author’s writing or express envy for her success, we chanted the mantra—“good karma, good karma.” But it goes farther than simply not denigrating someone else’s success. We firmly believe you have to contribute to others’ success for karma to work for you.

Even before we were published, we formed a critique group that served our entire chapter. We offered plotting retreats to our chapter members to share what we’d learned about writing along the way and encouraged them to write the wonderful stories they plotted. We volunteered to serve as officers in our chapter and to help with the annual conference. We shared our experience and knowledge with anyone who wanted it—and we didn’t wait for them to seek us out. We looked for the inexperienced or struggling authors. We recruited them.

Today, several of our “recruits” have published and placed in contests. When they have success, we’re overjoyed. We don’t want to keep all the success to ourselves because karma must be shared to work.

So, maybe I sound a little New Age-y, but my experience has proven to me the Buddhist belief in karma. Go create some great karma of your own. Join! Volunteer! Contribute!—however much time and energy you can to other writers.

The gift will come back to you tenfold.

“Karma, karma, karma, karma…”

Just wanted to make sure you didn’t forget the song!


  1. Delilah,

    What a timely post and one well-worth remembering, particularly as we get into the craziness of Summer and the thousand-and-one requests. I’ve had the privilege of being part of the Roses group for a little while now, and your generosity never fails to astound me.

    So my question is this: how do you manage to still get so much done, given how much time, attention and caring you devote to those on your loops or in your chapter? Because you amaze me! :)

  2. What Jenn said, how do you do it all? I’ve taken two Rose classes, I’m in the tail end of one now, and the experience w/both has been wonderful. As a side benifit, I’m now in a crit. (well about to be) group. Karma, I believe in it one hundred percent. Great article, thanks for once again sharing.

  3. Don’t get Delilah wrong, good karma isn’t always easy. The green-eyed monster can bite you from both sides and it takes real effort to keep up the mantra “good karma, good karma”. Your good karma will be challenged, but you can prevail and if you do, the goodness comes back to find you. Fill your life with positivity. Yeah, Pollyanna is alive and well! Have a happy day!

  4. Delilah, as a fellow Pollyanna, I completely second your post. Whether you call it karma, “what goes around, comes around,” the Rule of Three, or the Golden Rule, you truly “reap what you sow.” As my momma always said, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. But more so, if you don’t know exactly what that person’s life experience has been, then you can’t possibly stand in judgement. That said, I know I’ve done a bit of internal judging, but I try to keep it to myself and not let it affect my behavior to others. Switching from the negative to the positive, I have found that the more I give to the community/others, the more I receive in return. And in ways that totally surprise, and often delight, me. A lot of people have helped me and if something I’ve learned, the hard way, can help someone going through the same thing or, better yet, avoid trouble, then I feel it’s important to share. I’ve only been involved with your group for a short, very short time, but I can tell that you do this in spades and I’m very thankful to have been clued in to you and your group!

  5. Having been involved with you and Elle this month in the Plotting Bootcamp I can truly say you two practice what you preach. Since actively pursuing my dream of writing full time I have met so many author’s that feel as you do …., very refreshing as opposed to the corporate world, or for that matter , the soccor Mom world!
    Thanks for being a mentor …,

  6. Karma! yep. I believe in it. Elle’s right. It is hard not to be bitten by the green-eyed monster sometimes, but most of the time, when I step back and really look at the situation, I can see this “lucky person” worked hard for that success.

    Delilah and Elle both give give give to our Arkansas Chapter. If I forget to tell you sometimes, it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it. I do.


  7. Just coming over to send a big hello out to you all! I’m not a writer Delilah, but this too so meaningful in so many parts of our lives. And a great reminder too. Thanks!

  8. Delilah,

    I agree with Caffey, just stopping by to say hello and show support for our local writers.

    Great post.

  9. One of the luckiest days of my life was when I sat at a table at my first RWA Conference and met Delilah and Elle. They’ve helped me a lot and I’m passing on what I’ve learned from them to others. Saluting good karma.

  10. Thanks, everyone! I didn’t intend for this to be a gushfest, but I’m smiling big right now! *smooches*

  11. I’m a huge believer in Karma. In fact, I think I got you for a friend as a reward for some of my own good deeds. :) *hug*

  12. I strongly believe in Karma. I named my computer Karma so I can have a good one. Yet, I agree with Elle. It is hard to have good Karma when envy whispers negativity in your ears. When I feel like I’m allowing the green monster to posses me, I take a step back and try to think of something positive about me and the object of my envy.

  13. Hi, Delilah,
    Just popping in to say hi and I enjoyed your post. I’m not a firm subscriber to the new-agey aspects of karma, but I do believe that what you sow, you reap. So yep, that karma’s going to come back to you, whatever it is you’re tossing out there! It’s neat though to see blessings circle around, which I’m sure they do, Delilah, being the generous person you are!

  14. Hello Delilah,

    Well, I’m not your mother or your sister (unfortunately or fortunately as the case may be, LOL!!) so I guess you aren’t a loser, (grin)!! You are massively evil!!! MAKING THAT DARNED SONG LOOP ENDLESSLY THROUGH MY HEAD, I’M GOING TO GO AND BLAST SOME OTHER MUSIC NOW TO SHAKE IT LOOSE!!!

  15. I’m all about the Karma in everything I do especially driving. Don’t know why but that is when it hits me the most.

    Keep the good Karma flowing Delilah.

  16. What goes around comes around. Sort of the same thing as Karma. I’ve always felt that you get more than the recipient when you give. I have been so lucky in what life has given me, I feel obligated to share. Helping fellow writers doesn’t mean you are aiding the competition. You are becoming mentors and they are very important people.