I was lucky I found what I wanted to do early in life.
Three Dog Night sang 1 is the loneliest number.
Moms of toddlers call the 2's terrible.
Everyone knows 3's a crowd.
And 71? Well I don't think 71's ever meant anything...UNTIL TODAY!
Guess what? Guess what guess what guess what?!!
Hold on, let me catch my breath and I'll tell you. I am sooo excited!
Okay, many many months ago I entered the Writer's Digest Writing Contest. It was my first contest and wow did I pick a big one! Doing this was a YUGE deal for me, not only because OMG you guys it's the Writer's Digest Writing Contest, but it was officially the first time I was telling people to judge me. Or rather, my writing. Which is much scarier than being personally judged.
Any writer will tell you (as all you bloggers out there know) that writing something, creating something, and putting yourself out there is A BIG DEAL. It can be exciting, and liberating, and cathartic. And? It can be freaking scary. Because once you put your work out there for people, it becomes theirs. Theirs to embrace, to love, to share. Theirs to scoff, to hate, to criticize. To reject.
That's exactly what I was expecting to get when I entered the contest.
And I was (relatively) okay with that. It was my first contest. All writers must go through rejection. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You don't know until you try. The first time's the hardest. It will make me stronger.
All those it'll-be-okay-don't-have-a-nervous-breakdown-when-you-get-rejected thoughts have been running through my head for months.
I submitted three entries, one short story and two personal essay/memoirs.
I wasn't hoping for the Grand Prize - the story that would be awarded the best out of all the categories combined. I wasn't hoping for first prize in my category. I wasn't even hoping for the top three. Or the top ten.
All I wanted was one of my stories to be in the top 100. Number 100 would have been just fine with me. It would have been more than fine. Fan-freaking-tastic is what it would have been.
Why was I wishing for the top 100?
Because the top 100 story winners in each category have their name published on writersdigest.com and in a special competition edition.
All I wanted, all I hoped for, was to have my name appear on that list.
I hoped, but I braced for rejection.
I knew the top award recipients would be notified in October. Any day now, I'd be rejected.
And then today I went to grab lunch. While I waited for my order to be ready I checked my email. Any new blog comments?
No blog comments. But there IT was. The email. From Writer's Digest.
I sucked in my breath. It's okay, I reassured myself.
One of my most enjoyable tasks as editor of Writer’s Digest is passing along good news to writers. This is one of those fun occasions. It is my pleasure to tell you that your entry This Was A Bad Idea, has been awarded 71 place in Memoirs/Personal Essay category of the 80th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition! We will mail your...
What? Did that say 71? It couldn't have. 71 is in the top 100. I must have read it wrong. Let me try again.
One of my most enjoyable tasks as editor of Writer’s Digest is passing along good news to writers. This is one of those fun occasions. It is my pleasure to tell you that your entry This Was A Bad Idea, has been awarded 71 place in Memoirs/Personal Essay...
It says 71.
IT SAYS 71.
I didn't scream. I didn't stand on my chair. I didn't run around the restaurant and kiss babies and give out high-fives. I just sat. Stunned.
I got seventy-one.
I GOT SEVENTY-ONE!
They called my name. My food was ready. I smiled. I grabbed my to-go order with the biggest smile on my face. The Crisper's lady gave me a look. It started to hit me. Seventy-one! I wanted to shout.
OMG OMG OMG!!! I did it! I did it! I made the top 100! My name will be on the list!
Do you guys know what my new favorite number is?
Seventy-one! Beautiful, glorious 71!
In high school, if I got a 71 on a test it was an epic fail. But 71 in the Writer's Digest Writing Contest? The most perfect, amazing number there is.
Seventy-one may seem like no big deal to some. It may seem insignificant, not worth mentioning, or writing about, or touting as a success. And that's okay, because to me? It is exactly what I wanted.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I did it, you guys!