Writing & Publishing

I Could Have Been a Contender

The latest lesson in The Guide is all about putting together the proposal package for your book before submitting it for publication. I found myself getting very nervous as I read through the chapter. My stomach did a flip, my heart was in my throat, my hands were shaking and the whole time I was thinking, Am I ready for this? I’m not ready for this. This is too soon!


Though I want to have been published and sitting across from Matt Lauer yesterday, the idea of actually sending in a complete proposal and putting the ball in someone else’s court makes me want to hide in bed with the covers over my head. And why is that?

Because I fear failure. More than I fear cockroaches.

I haven’t had to deal with failure much in my life yet, and for that I am grateful. But the times I have had to face it down, were almost too much for me to handle. And it didn’t help that the biggest failures of my life happened on the same day. That’s right, I got dumped by the guy I was seeing hours before I found out that I didn’t get in to grad school. Which might not have been quite so devastating if I had not been told things like a) “Where have you been my whole life?” and b) “Don’t worry about it. You’re a shoe-in.”

But that wasn’t enough. No, the gods of Failure were not done with me yet. Hours before I was to walk across the stage for my college graduation, I was standing in line alphabetically when I suddenly recognized the girl standing in front of me. She had been in the same group interview as me for grad school. It had taken me so long to recognize her now that her tattoos were showing and her steel, loop nose ring was in place. She was talking to the girl next to her and giggling in excitement about the classes she was going to take in the spring, and how well graduate orientation had gone.

After I recovered from the stinging slap of realization that she had gotten accepted into the program I had been rejected from, I looked off to the side and focused all my psychic ability on her thinking, please don’t recognize me, please don’t recognize me.


Well my friends, fate is a cruel mistress.

“Oh, hey! You were in the interview with me, weren’t you?”

Somehow the muscles in my face found the ability to stretch into a smile. “Yes, I was.”

“Did you get in?” The girl danced like a puppy, she was so excited about life. I could see she was just waiting to throw her arms around me in a celebratory hug, and quickly add me as a friend on facebook.

“No. I didn’t.”

Both her and the random girl beside her’s faces fell flat into a droopy frown of disappointment and awkwardness. “Oh….Well did they say why?”

“They said that they had twice as many applicants as they ever had before, and they just had to draw a line somewhere.”

“Yeah, I heard the same thing. They thought that so many people applied this year because the economy took a nose dive, and people want to go back to school. You should apply for the summer though! I bet less people apply for the summer.”

That was a heaping slice of humble pie. But I swallowed it down the best I could and nursed my wounded ego with the belief that Everything Happens For A Reason.

So what if my book sucks? What if nobody wants to publish it? What if I fail at being an author too?

These are the thoughts I’m trying to contend with now.

On a much light note, I decided to change the design of this lovely blog. Not for any particular reason, really. I just felt like it. As my 9th grade geometry teacher once said, “It is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.”

What do you think of the new digs? Good, bad, ugly?

And because I don’t want you to leave this blog feeling down, and because the song is stuck in my head now, you can click here to watch the music video for “It’s My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown.

(To my Midland, TX followers: If that doesn’t bring back memories of birthday parties at KC Nutty Roller’s, I don’t know what does!)

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4 thoughts on “I Could Have Been a Contender

  1. I'm sure you have already had the "keep your chin up speech" by someone, so I won't do that. However, it's better to know that you have tried than to not have tried at all. If you don't succeed, revise your work and submit it again. Don't stop trying till you've been published, rather than cowering behind the fear of failure and never knowing if you could have.The background looks very neat. Way better than the book cases, they looked too bland.

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