On Not Winning
Remember in gym class, when some of the other kids could climb the rope and you couldn't? Okay, maybe you could climb the rope. Or maybe you didn't ever have to climb the rope. Anyway, my point is, in all lives envy sometimes creeps in. Along with a sense of failure. I couldn't climb the rope! Sally can climb the rope! Oh, I am just worthless. I should just give up!
An author friend of mine is having great success with her book. It is great. She is very talented and deserves every bit of it. We both entered a very high level contest and her book is on a very short list to win. Mine didn't make the short list. There are some very big, recognizable names on that short list. I motored through a short burst of feeling sorry for myself. Why not my book?! I wrote my book while I had a full time job! It took me YEARS. I think it's a great book! I should just give up writing!
Or, I should just grow up. I think it is pretty normal to feel invested in your book, after all, you spent more hours with it than any living soul. At least I did mine. You can't always win, that is the simple truth that we were supposed to learn on the field hockey teams. Sometimes you get sent out to the outfield where you stand all day with nothing to do. Sometimes you climb the rope, sometimes you don't.
I won't lie, it stings a bit that my book didn't make it to the shortlist. Not because my friend's did. Ours are very different and in different categories. It stings because I really, really bellieve in it. I feel like it's the best thing I have ever written. Maybe that's enough. It has to be.