Okay, so I know I write on here (sometimes), but I do not think of myself as a writer, per say. Many of you are, well, real writers with real writing jobs and you also just happen to have blogs. Me? I'm just a person who has a blog. Just an online diary in which I blurt out thoughts and feelings about the world and such. I enjoy writing, but does enjoying something make you good at it? Does it buy you a ticket into the show?
I still don't know the answer to that, but I can tell you this: I entered a writing contest. My favorite magazine in the world, Real Simple (look to the right, they had their own label on my blog long before this post), has an annual contest called Life Lessons. Each year, they assign a topic and readers can enter. I've been reading this magazine for years (thanks to my awesome in-laws) and have seen the contest entries. I've noted that sometimes the winners are previously published authors. None of the topics has ever really moved me to try my hand at it, but this year, the topic was on the bravest thing you've ever done. I knew immediately that I would write about saying goodbye to my son, a topic you are all familiar with here on this blog. So, in September I wrote the essay and sent it off and didn't think much about it again. I was proud of myself for entering and taking a risk. I was vaguely aware in January that I figured they must have picked a winner by now (specific dates not being my strong front) and sort of said to myself, "okay, must not have placed, I'm sure they had lots of good entries".
At the time, I was busy welcoming The Munchkin into the world. We were busy in the best kind of way. While we were at the hospital on The Munchkin's second day in the world, however, I got a call from an editor at Real Simple. Turns out, they were running late on notifying people but I won! I won a writing contest! Me! We could talk all day about the karmic timing of this little prize because I sure still needed some money for the adoption attorney, but the fact of the matter is, I put myself out there and it paid off.
I guess in addition to letting you know my good news, I just want to encourage you all to go for it too. What is it that you love to do but don't get paid for? Writing? Sewing? Soap making? Knitting? Well, guess what? Maybe you can! I've spent years basically afraid of failure and got rewarded on the first try. I know that makes me lucky but it feels like the universe telling me go for it. And I'll bet you get the same message.
If you care to read the article, you can read it here:
A version of it has been posted on this blog before. If you care to read the magazine, well, you will never find yourself disappointed!