1. Every kid is not the Most Valuable Player.
2. Each game should have a winner and a loser.
Don't get me wrong. Winning isn't everything, but losing doesn't mean hanging up your sneakers, either. When you fall, brush yourself off, quit your crying, and get back in the game. It's important to always do your personal best because your only real competition is yourself.
I was a cheerleader--the kind that believed more in the job than the uniform. I disdain the "spirit leaders" who leave when rain or sleet falls from the sky. If the team can still play, then they can still cheer.
|12th grade: front and center in a parka in the pouring rain|
Last month, I put my dormant cheer skills to use and cheered myself on through my own special version of March Madness.
Here are the rules: If a writing opportunity presented itself, I must enter the competition.
Even if I doubted my abilities--especially so--I must take action. With failure comes wisdom. With wisdom comes success.
Want to know how the brackets turned out?
I submitted my essays to two Listen to Your Mother shows. Instead of submitting to one show, I embraced March Madness and submitted to two.
Two! Two! We want two!
And, well, you know how that turned out. Read about it here and here.
Then, I tried Brenda Drake's agent contest. My cheerleader was still asleep when I dragged myself out of bed to submit early in the morning. Right before I pushed send on my carefully written entry of my novel's first 250 words and 35-word pitch, I doubted myself. I changed the pitch.
I did not make the next round.
That's all right. That's okay. We're gonna win another day!
Then another opportunity presented itself. Mini Vaughn, one of the slush zombies for the contest, volunteered to critique the pitches on her blog Dirty Silly Things. I thought, "Oh my. I can't put myself out there and face rejection again. It's so public. She even says something about spanking us and making it hurt." *Blushes*
My cheerleader gave me a high-kick in the butt.
Be aggressive! B-E Aggressive! B-E- A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E! Be aggressive! B-E aggressive!
Because she was an obnoxiously perky, insistent little inner cheerleader, I not only sent the rejected logline, but I also submitted the one I'd planned to send. If I was going to get a smackdown, I might as well really feel the pain, right?
The critique wasn't painful at all. She thought the original pitch was "fantastic." Lesson learned. My biggest opponent is self-doubt.
Defense! (clap, clap) Defense! (clap, clap)
Over the month, I had a couple of contest triumphs and forfeited one opportunity. The point is that I put myself in the game.
I'm gearing up for submitting my freshly revised novel to agents. I've listened to agents who seemed excited about the story but rejected it. I've rewritten the novel and improved my game.
First (clap) and ten! Go! Fight! Win!
Why compete? Because someone has to win. Why can't it be me? Or you?
Dribble it! Pass it! (clap) We want a basket!
Have you stepped outside your comfort zone lately? What would you like to achieve?
Go for it!
Listen to your personal cheerleader and take the challenge. Let me know what it is.
I'm already waggling my spirit fingers for you.