Several months ago I posted about an upcoming event called "Listen To Your Mother," a live event where authors read their work on stage in front of a live studio audience. I asked my subscribers to vote on which of my most popular articles I should use in my audition.
I was a little nervous auditioning, but I was pretty sure I’d get in.
The article I auditioned with was one that was popular with my readers, and popular on The Huffington Post, as well, earning a featured spot in several of its editions. Plus I had a tiny shoo-in, because a friend of mine is besties with one of the main people on the selection committee, and she put in a good word for me (it’s good to have connections, y’all).
Well, I never circled back with you on that because I didn’t get in, and I just kinda felt like tucking that under the sofa cushion, along with a year’s worth of Cheez-Its crumbs and dog fur.
They said my article didn’t get in because it didn’t go along with the theme that emerged as the other articles started coming in. They assured me they loved the article - “it was so funny!” and “it gave us hope!” and “Please try again next year!” **No, really! It was good! It’s not you, it’s us!**
One of my goals this year was to get my book under the big tent at the Texas Book Festival in October. I submitted it, along with a beautifully crafted marketing plan (a requirement, and part of the application), back in May.
They sent me an email saying I wouldn’t hear their decision until August.
I’ve been as patient as a damn rock, sitting in front of my Inbox with giant puppy eyes, hitting Refresh over and over and over for the last four months.
Then it came in like a wrecking ball.
I didn’t get in.
They said my book didn’t get in because it didn’t go along with the theme that emerged as other books started coming in.
Hmmph. I can think of an effing theme emerging.
Shortly after my book was published - back in April - I submitted it to Readers’ Favorites, an organization that gives reviews and a puts on a contest. My book earned a 5-star review, which sent a sizzle up my spine as I shot my fist in the air and shouted, “I’ve still got it, bitches!”
But I knew it would be September 1st before I’d find out if I won anything in the contest, so I sat idly by, knotted up in my recliner like a swollen mom-to-be knitting tiny socks and a cap, readying herself for the Big Moment.
I just got word from them. I didn’t even place.
After I scraped myself off the floor and smoothed out my skirt and my hair, I ate a big bowl of ice cream (because I know for a fact I’m good at that!), then got pissed at myself for eating my feelings, then I opened up my book to re-read bits of it with fresh eyes. To see what I must have missed before it published.
And it made me laugh. It’s funnier than I remembered.
I just keep putting myself out there.
I won’t lie and say I’m not disappointed. It’s hard to keep getting rejected, while forcing yourself to keep plugging away, trying to stay positive. Trying to stay confident. Trying to be somebody and make a freaking mark.
Because that voice keeps creeping in saying: Maybe it’s not good. Maybe it’s not funny. Maybe it doesn’t resonate.
I try to force the voice down (that little fucker), telling myself as I look in the mirror - Jack Handey-style - that, “You know what? I’m going to keep trying. Agatha Christie was rejected for five years before she landed a publishing deal. Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected 30 times before it was finally picked up. You’ve got this. You just keep on keepin’ on.”
Then - with a wink - I shoot a couple finger-guns at myself in the mirror, blow out the smoke, then re-holster’em before turning out the light and leaving the bathroom.
Just like I don’t like everyone or everything in the world - but I really, really like some people and some things - all the other people in the world are like that, too. My voice and my words do resonate with some people.
I just have to keep putting myself out there.
I’ll be honest, I’m not even sure what I’m looking for. What will success look like for me? I don’t know. I just know that I want to do so many things before I croak, and I can’t do any of them if I don’t get out of my comfort zone, which is becoming increasingly tinier and tinier.
But I’m going to keep putting myself out there. Because I’m a glutton for punishment.
And because “out there” is where all the stuff happens. Some of it good. Some of it bad. But if I’m not putting myself out there, then how will I ever get a taste of any of it?