Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cheer for Your Team

I'm not very good at the preschool athletic mentality. 
1.  Every kid is not the Most Valuable Player.
2.  Each game should have a winner and a loser.

That's life. 

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

After a few adult beverages, I'm willing to dance my high school's fight song.

Go Bulldogs!
 

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.

Gooooo team!

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.

22 comments:

  1. Great post, Brandi. We are our own worst enemies aren't we? I love your cheerleader, I have more of a drill sergeant and she is not nearly as perky.

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    1. I didn't write about the annoying heckler in the stand. She's a real b&#$%. She's the reason I changed my logline at the last minute. I'd like to send my heckler to your drill sergeant.

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  2. Fabulous blog and oh so what I needed to hear!
    I grew up the queen of the optimists - my home football team only won one football game in my entire four years of high school, but I still went to every single game thinking this time we will win.
    Writing takes every bit of optimism I can muster - but even the little success are fantastic. But the main thing is to keep trying. No one wins who doesn't enter.

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    1. My high school was phenomenal in athletics. Seriously, name the sport, they were probably in the play-offs. When I went to college during the dark ages of OU football, I learned what it was like to lose. Not so fun. I applaud your optimism

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    1. I'm so glad! Thanks for telling me.

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  4. WooHoo for the waggling spirit fingers Brandi! I'm pumped and ready to roll. Please post this positivity more often, I need to read it every day.

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    1. Posting positivity? I'll see what I can do.:) Glad you are "ready to roll," Lisa.

      DRIBBLE THAT BALL ON DOWN THE COURT AND SHOOT (CLAP) FOR TWO!

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  5. Brandi, Your tenacious spirit has always inspired me!

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    1. Ha! Well, I WAS a Bulldog as a kid and as a teacher. I hear those animals won't let go of a bone. Tenacity is a likely side effect of being exposed to those mascots.:)

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  6. amen, sister. you can't win if you don't play. keep on putting yourself in the game!

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  7. I really needed these words today. Great post. Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome. Thanks for your sweet comment.

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  8. Very motivating, Brandi - thanks. And Jennifer's drill sergeant comment cracked me up. I have more of the Jewish/Catholic-mother-type-guilt nudge going on. "You don't have to do it, dear - I can live with the disappointment."

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    1. Hee! I'd love to know who everyone's cheerleaders and hecklers are. They'd probably make a great sitcom.

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  9. Love this post! This same theme has been on my mind a lot these past few weeks. I tell my kids all the time that failure is nothing to fear. Not trying is the bad thing. Failure is a valuable experience and as long as you are learning something from the experience. And I'm totally with you on the preschool mentality thing. I think we are totally doing our kids a disservice with the everyone's a winner thing. Part of life, is learning to perserve in the face of failure. Whew, that was a long comment! Obviously, I really liked your post. : )

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    1. Amen, girlfriend. We sometimes need a reminder to practice what we preach. It's nice to know I have kindred spirits in the blogosophere.:)

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  10. What a fantabulous post! We all need our inner cheerleader and obviously your to kick us into gear at times. Thank you.

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  11. What an uplifting post! You had me cheering with you while I was reading...and also thinking about what I wanted to accomplished.

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    1. Yay! Let me know how it goes for you.:) Gooooo Rachel!

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