(A/K/A Getting Back in the Saddle After Being Knocked Off My High Horse)
For me, of course, not in a sports competition. My thought as the athletes entered the stadium in the opening ceremony was, “Wow, it’s a long walk to their seats!”
I’m talking about winning and losing as a writer, and that’s actually been on my mind for quite a while.
A little over two years ago, with my blog disgracefully dormant and feeling most certainly like a loser, I saw something about the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. It is sponsored every two years by the late writer’s alma mater, the University of Dayton, along with her hometown library. I decided to give it a whirl.
There are two categories – humor and human interest, with both local and global winners. I had what I considered a good story for each, but could only enter one, so I went with humor.
Lo and behold, when the judging was completed, A Pig in a Poke had received an honorable mention in the global competition — in fact, second honorable mention out of 422 entries! No podium or anthem, but I’d captured bronze in an international competition. It goes without saying that I felt like a winner.
Fast forward two years. The competition was back, and I still had my human interest story in my back pocket. Thinking it was as good as or better than my humor entry, I wrote A Dying Wish, sent it, and waited for the medal round. It came, and I wasn’t even in the stadium. No denying – it was a long, hard fall from that high horse.
That disappointment, coupled with the fact that my blog was still void of new entries, quickly slapped the loser label back onto my lapel.
But then, something great happened.
You see, in addition to entering the contest, I’d also registered for the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, also held every two years in Ohio, and have been enjoying meeting my fellow attendees on Facebook in anticipation of meeting in person in April. Someone started a thread about contest results and disappointment, and I found out I was in very good company. There was shared grief, consolation, and laughs, along with posts of other great entries that showed we were the furthest thing from losers.
Most importantly, all of this has me writing. This is the first full blog post I’ve done since August 2015. I wanted to resurrect it before the workshop, and this perfect storm of disappointment, encouragement, anticipation, and camaraderie did the trick.
So I’m back in the saddle, and I must say the ride is a lot nicer from this considerably lower horse.