Monday, April 16, 2012

Personal Growth

Well, if you've been following my blog at all, you'll realize I'm sharing my personal milestones and hiccups with you as I go along in my writing journey. Maybe you care, maybe you don't, but here I am anyways, baring my soul.

Janet posted the first finalist of the LIZ NORRIS PAY IT FORWARD CONTEST yesterday morning. She posted the answers to the finalist questions, and it gives me the impression that they've all been contacted. You can tell by the comments that I'm not the only one who has come to this conclusion, as everyone is trying to be both happy and cheerful for the finalists, but the tone of their disappointment is there in between the lines.

(Now, we could all be wrong of course, because knowing Janet, she's contacting each person individually before posting their name so that she can make everyone sweat a little longer. But who knows!?)
*UPDATE 4/17:  We now know that at least one of the finalists has known for a week.  This is both good and bad.  Good, because we can stop pressing refresh on Janet's blog every five seconds, or like me, rushing online at 6am to see the next post.  Bad, because well, if you were wondering if you were a finalist, welp, no such luck.*

Nursing my disappointment, I tried to make my heart accept what my brain already knew. I wouldn't be a finalist. I knew it going into the contest, and simply wanted to enter because I was so dang proud of myself for having completed my manuscript. But, alas, there was that little glimmer of hope - the innocent voice of the sweet, naive Jessa inside of me - and I just can't shut her up! ;-)

Anyway, I realized something yesterday.

I've NEVER really tried at anything.


I never played sports. Never pursued music. Never competed in anything, active or otherwise. Wanted to sing, but didn't push it. Wanted to model, but told myself I was ugly. Wanted to write, but never submitted my poetry to anything for fear someone would laugh at my personal feelings.

I never try, so I don't have to lose.

I called my mom as I came to this shocking revelation, and she confirmed never wanting to push me because I've always had my heart on my sleeve, and she didn't want to see me heartbroken.

She was protecting me, as mothers do. The downside to that protection is that now I'm 32 years old and I have zero coping skills when it comes to disappointment.

But guess what? That's ok. You know why?

I realized something else yesterday.

I discovered that I am resilient. I bounce back. I persevere like a MOFO.

After I had my little meltdown yesterday, accepting the fact that I wasn't a finalist, an emailing my critique partner for her words of wisdom and guidance, I was fine. The initial disappointment was still there, of course, as it will be for all the 400+ contestants that only made it to 10th place. But I wasn't defeated.

I looked at my husband and said, "Wow. This actually makes me want to write MORE."

So, protecting me or not, my mother raised me with resilience, fortitude, and a stubborn streak you don't want to mess with!

So BRAVO, Mama!

I'm going to conquer this mountain. I'm going to get thicker skin.

It's going to be awesome. I'll have the skin of a crocodile before I'm done!

Yes, folks, crocodile skin!

*But not literally, because eeeeew.


  1. Way to go Jessa! I know how you feel. I've only entered one contest, and I didn't make it :-/ I'm sure I'll enter more and I'm determined as you are to keep at it. You go girl! Proud of you!

  2. Thank you, Darci! The one thing I can say about the contest is that it has led me to make some online connections and interact with writers that I never would have met before. So in that sense, its been completely amazing. I even found a critique partner, which I'm really happy about. So, yeah, I'm bummed that I'm not a finalist. Of course I am. But I'm not broken.

    I think that's what makes writers who they are - regardless of what gets thrown at you, you continue to write. Its not even what you are. Its WHO you are. :-)

  3. I know exactly how you feel. I got the same sinking feeling in my gut, kept coming back to that bit in The Hunger Games about hope being more powerful than fear and thus more dangerous. And still, I can't get the notion out of my head that "it's not over" ... GAH!

    You are resilient! Your comments to the winners feel so genuine, I was all like *how is she doing that*?

    Good things will come.

  4. Jessa,

    Hi! I am so glad I came to your blog, I think! Until I read this post, I was still holding out hope that Janet was contacting each person the day before. Now I know...maybe some of my OCD will go away.

    I am glad you had your meltdown and it is over. I think I probably have tougher skin than you, since I have a few years on you, but it is still hard. Especially with her saying how talented everyone that entered is. It would be nice if some of the ones that did not make the final 9 could have their manuscripts given to other agents so good work doesn't get lost in slushpiles.

    To enter the contest took a lot of courage and was a giant step! Be proud of that! And I am so glad it made you want to write more! I do have to say I am not happy about not making it into the finals but I am almost glad it is over. The waiting, and agonizing, has had me somewhat frozen. So now...back to writing!

    Are you guys still doing the query clinic? And how does it work? Also, there is a site I follow on Twitter called World Lit Cafe. They are having a Pitchapalooza. Sounds similar to Janet's in a way. The winner gets an agent if I read it right.

    Best of luck in your writing and NEVER give up!!

    1. Hi Lisa! I'm sorry I disappointed you. I'd toyed with not saying anything, as I know Janet was enjoying making us sweat (*maniacal laugh*) but I knew what it was doing to me (emotionally) and I figured I'd help someone else stop stressing over the finals. Now we can all move on with our lives!

      It was a fun ride, and I do feel like I learned so much from the experience. I've also gained new friends, and have found myself a critique partner, which is invaluable.

      Thank you for telling me about the Pitchapalooza! i found the info and will try to participate for sure!

      As far as the query clinic goes, we all just posted our queries on our blogs and then commented on everyone's posts, giving our suggestions/critiques/praise. Then, each person you've commented on comes to your blog and returns the favor. Let me know when you've posted your query, and I'll do what I can. *If you've read my query, however, you may not want my critique! lol ;-)

      You can start here, and see who commented. most of the people have their queries posted on their blogs, so look around and comment away! :-) *You don't have to leave comments on mine - its totally changed and I would love your comments when I post the new one shortly. :-)

  5. Hi Jessa! didn't disappoint me. It was actually a relief to know. It was a fun ride and I am so happy for Cassandra. The best part was the positive feedback (minus the query bashing...LOL) we got from one of the best in the biz. And if we could put ourselves out there for that...we can do it again.

    I really like your new query and I am glad you found the info on Pitchapalooza. Good luck!! I didn't notice if you put how many words your query is. Did you see Pitchapalooza is 200.

    Thanks for the query info. I have been so bad at being consistent on blogging. I just started it about 6 weeks ago. Another new adventure for me. But I will post my query on it. I need to reduce mine down from 250 words to 200 for Pitchapalooza. I will definitely let you know when I post mine.

    Take care and best of luck with your writing career!