I'll keep it short and sweet: I submitted 21 pages of my work to an online contest!
It's been about two years since I've submitted any of my work to a contest or for a fellowship. Though I can easily blame this on the nine and a half months of pregnancy, the three and a half months of being a new mom, and a 10-month stint at a job where I had the boss from hell, the real reason is that I gave up on myself. Like every writer (I hope), I believe that my writing is good and worthy, however, I never felt like I received enough validation for my writing "out there" in the real world. I was rejected from prestigious writers colonies and fellowships. We're probably talking about 10 attempts.
Prior to my two-year hiatus from putting my work out there, I was also taking writers classes and got positive responses to my work. But because I was not selected for these classes, I just had to pay the fee, I just didn't see the responses as legit enough.
I continued to write, but I gave up looking for places to publish my work. I didn't allow people to see my work in draft form. I never finished anything. Only two 500+ page first draft manuscripts stuffed on an abandoned bookshelf in my office-turned-junkroom to show for it.
This year, when I turned 30 (yes the proverbial 30) I decided it was time to put my work out there. Again. Whether it be through writing this blog, finishing small chunks of work and asking for writer-friends to read it and give me feedback, or submitting to contests, I need to do it - regularly - to build my confidence and to begin moving in my dream as a writer.
The submission to this contest marks an accomplishment for me. As a writer. A real-life writer. Progress.