No more whiny baby, and congrats to my writing buddies

So, I know three people whose pieces won prizes in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ annual column writing contest. Kudos to Elaine Ambrose, Lee Gaitan and Molly Stevens – funny ladies and talented writers all.

In fact, there are just three prizes so the only question will be who lands first, second, or third prize. Geez Louise! These ladies can WRITE, so it’s anybody’s guess at this point. They’ll find out at the NSNC national conference in June.

In case you’re wondering, I met the trio at last year’s Erma Bombeck Humor Writers’ Workshop in Dayton. And as I stumble through this, my first blog post in months, you might legitimately be wondering, what the hell was Kate doing at that conference and where has she been lately?

You have no idea how very close I am to deleting the above and postponing my return to another day when I might feel funnier or more, er, writer-ly . . . .

Well, what happened is that I submitted my own work for publication a few times this year – to one contest (not the NSNC), and for inclusion in two anthologies of humorous essays.

I didn’t make the cut.

Since these groups receive all kinds of entries and assume that we’re all adults who understand that not everyone can be chosen every time, no one sends an email saying, golly, we LOVE your story, and you almost made it! You were THIS CLOSE!  So sorry. You’re an amazing, funny writer. You’re cute and kind, too! Promise us you won’t give up and definitely send us more of your stuff soon. Hugs and kisses . . . .

ArnoldThumbsDownNo. That doesn’t happen.

You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that I am a FRAGILE FUCKING FLOWER. I’ve got the body and thin skin of a plump-bottomed Bartlett pear. You’d think I’d grown up in the era where even the kids on the losing team get a trophy for showing up and a consolatory cone with sprinkles at Dairy Queen. No. I’m way too old for that. There weren’t even any girls’ sports back then, come to think of it.

Anyway, feeling crushed and cranky, I decided to stop writing. Oh, I never intended to quit forever; just long enough to give my tender little ego time to heal. Long enough to gather up my courage to try, try again and face the traumatizing possibility that an editor or judge may not choose me . . . again.

Pathetic, right?

I knew it. I know it. Then last month another very funny lady who I am honored to be (occasionally) confused with on Facebook, Kate Mayer, was named a 2017 BlogHer Voices of the Year Honoree.

Kate wrote that she had been aiming for 100 rejections and it was finally starting to pay off. I doubt Kate even came close to 100, but the fact that she could SAY it and have that kind of attitude just knocked my zebra-striped socks off. Right? Yay, Kate!

So I’m back. And I’m meeting some other Erma-ites for a writing getaway in Indiana the weekend after this. It’s time to get back in the saddle. Time to toughen up and quit being a wuss and remember that I’m writing because I love doing it. Rejections be damned. And in honor of my many writing friends who keep plugging away and occasionally – and deservedly – get recognized for their work, I’m going to make myself a Rejection Chart to fill up with star stickers for every effort and hang it on my office wall.

Stars for effort in the face of rejection – and maybe a trip to DQ – shall encourage me to plop my pear-shaped ass in front of the keyboard once again. Thanks, ladies!

17 thoughts on “No more whiny baby, and congrats to my writing buddies

    1. Elaine, you are too kind and THANK YOU! However, we are, I believe, the same age. So not only are we wannabe Curry cousins, but we are both Boomer Babes, high school class of ’69 (yes?). That said, I like sometimes to remember another old gal from Ohio, Helen Hooven Santmyer, who spent a gazillion years writing an epic family story, “And the Ladies of the Club,” that she finally finished and published at 80. It hit the best seller list like gangbusters when it came out and just goes to show – if we’re living, breathing, and tapping our keyboards, we’ll never be too old. I love your books, by the way. You deserve the accolades, my friend!

  1. You are such a fabulous writer–and so damned funny and quick-witted. I know well the feeling you’re talking about and it truly does suck. I’m still not great at not letting rejection or disappointment get me down. I, too,have to lay low for a while to build up my courage (and a thicker skin) before going “out there” again. And don’t you just want to scream, “But mine was GOOD, dammit! What’s wrong with you that you can’t see that?” I kind of hibernated all winter on baby duty in Boston and it was very restorative. Of course, I remain a fan of the DQ treatment as well! See you this summer in Ohio! XXOO

      1. Thank you, dear Lee! If you happen to hit Ohio at the right time, I’ll take you to the Harpersfield Ox Roast where the roast beef sandwiches make the Arby’s folks cringe at their audacity for even calling their fare by the same name! 🙂

  2. Glad you are back, Sis. You are uber talented and you should not question your abilities. Stay away from political writing and I will be your fan forever! xoxo

    1. Thanks so much, my darling little seester! However . . . I won’t be staying away from sharing my political opinions on occasion. Fair warning. Politics doesn’t define me, but it sure makes for interesting writers’ fodder now and then. xoxo

  3. Can’t wait to connect in Indiana where we can take turns telling each other how good we are. And seriously, I’m looking for the nearest DQ.

  4. I entered the NSNC contest with the conviction I would win something and my belief never wavered. Until Elaine announced she had won and I had not heard anything. Not even ‘thank you for your entry, better luck next time.’ I have to admit I was crushed. How could I have been so wrong about my writing? How could no one else recognize it? And my husband reminded me that it is about the art and creativity. Not the prizes. And he also reminded me of my mission, which is to spread more laughter in the world. Even if one person reads something I write and they have a better day because he or she laughed, I accomplish my goal. The fact that I did get an email letting me know I did win has put me over the moon. But I had already accepted that I had not won and had moved on with a resolve to keep writing. Keep writing my friend. And know that your voice matters to a world that has lost its sense of humor and desperately needs to find it! You are a light that lightens the load for those who are taking things too seriously. So glad you wrote this because you are expressing the feelings of so many of us who get discouraged and have trouble overcoming rejection. I can’t wait to read more of your writing as you renew your commitment!

  5. Thanks so much, Molly! This has taught me that when I’m feeling low, I only need to reach out to my writing friends and family instead of wallowing in self-doubt. When all is said and done, I LOVE this. Love it! As your husband wisely pointed out, it’s about art and creativity. P.S. Your potato essay was delicious!

    1. Yes, it’s true. We need to reach out to each other more than we do. I also wallow in self-doubt. Your post is a reminder not to let that happen! So glad you liked my potato essay. I’ll be responding to your comment as soon as I have time!

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