Shamrocks have been used as good-luck symbols for centuries, with four-leaf clovers believed to be especially lucky. As the old Irish rhyme says, “One leaf is for fame, one leaf is for wealth. One is for a faithful lover, and one to bring you health.”

Plenty of writers also have superstitious quirks. Barefoot Writer Katherine Wilson’s good luck charm is a replica of an ancient coin with Alexander the Great’s image carved on it. Robbin Crandall uses a little replica of the red British phone booth. And Christina Allsop’s good luck charm is a photo of her three girls that she keeps on her desk.

And as it turns out, these writers are on to something. Superstition actually increases your confidence — it’s been proven! Social psychologists at Germany’s University of Cologne did a study on people who played memory games while in possession of their personal good luck charms. The results showed those who had good luck charms did a lot better at the game than those without.

Lysann Damisch, one of the study’s co-authors said, “If you have your lucky charm close by, you feel more confident and secure about the following task, which makes you try harder and perform better.”

According to Damisch, you don’t necessarily need an object to prompt luck. The study also showed that following a lucky ritual or simply being told, “Good luck” can improve confidence, leading you to aim higher and try longer. Ultimately, this means achieve greater success.

It’s not just writers. Plenty of athletes have “lucky shoes” or a “lucky ball.” (Michael Jordan had a pair of lucky gym shorts!) Gamblers are also big on lucky charms — everything from carrying an alligator tooth to always betting on “lucky number 7.”

The bottom line is this: Identify a charm to bring you writing success and your subconscious mind will work toward that goal, bringing real opportunities to your attention. Your belief in the charm is what gives it it’s power. Use it to steer you toward your goals and create the life you deserve.

Here are your take-home lessons:

  1. If you have an object that’s meaningful to you and relates to your writing goals, don’t hesitate to keep it near you while you write.
  2. Create your own writing ritual to boost focus, and use it every day.
  3. The real power of good luck charms takes place when you understand your own focus, attitudes, and expectations.

How to Find Your Own Good Luck Charm for Writing

Don’t have a good luck charm already?

Follow these tips to discover what your special “writing luck” charm should be.

  • Look around your house for a small object you connect with a happy memory, such as a trinket or a picture.
  • Ask older relatives or mentors if they have anything they’re willing to give to you to use as a good luck charm.
  • If you have children, consider using something special they made or found for you — like a painted rock or a clay handprint.
  • The next time you have a really great day, reward yourself by buying a small keepsake you can keep on your desk that reminds you of those positive feelings.

Almost anything can (and has been) used as a good luck charm. Buttons, coins, and rocks are common examples — mostly because they’re easily lost, and then frequently found by others. Here are some other common good luck charms:

  • The St. Christopher medal is a charm said to protect travelers (St. Christopher was the patron saint of travelers)
  • The ankh is an ancient Egyptian charm for everlasting life and protection from illness
  • The fish charm, associated with Christianity, is said to attract wealth and abundance
  • Acorns are considered by the English to represent luck, prosperity, youthfulness, and power
  • The horseshoe (when pointing up) is an ancient emblem said to protect from evil
  • The ancient Greeks believed carrying three keys together unlocked the doors to wealth, health, and love
  • Primitive cultures viewed skulls as a symbol of strength that protects and ensures well-being