God, I really hate putting myself out there. Really, it is so intimidating. It is so much safer to just stay in my little cocoon and not let the world interfere with my life. I especially hat putting myself out there when it costs me money. I should do a running tally of how much money I’ve spent on my writing. Or rather entering writing contests. But I did it (because of you, H and T). No, that’s not fair–I can’t use them as an excuse. I can blame them for my underwear, but not my writing or lack of writing.
I decided to enter the writing contest–the deadline is in 40 minutes and I’d actually been thinking about entering it for the last few weeks. But did I dust off one of my stories weeks ago and begin to edit and hone it? No, of course not. THAT would be logical. No, I waited until 10 minutes ago and dashed off my piece with moments to spare.
I don’t know if that’s smart or not. Logically, I can use my last minute entry as an excuse if/when I don’t win. Because I didn’t get to work on the piece, because I was rushed and didn’t really get to evaluate it, THAT’S why it didn’t win. Imagine how much more painful it would be if I’d spent hours and days editing and refining, only to enter it and STILL not win anything. Then I’d have to take it as a sign that I’m a terrible writer.
But the point of entering the contest really isn’t to win. Really. The point is to step outside my comfort zone and do one thing different. Today it is entering the writing contest.
Here’s a little interactive exercise for you. Cross your arms across your chest. Don’t think, just do it. You probably do it a lot–without even thinking. It is a pose I make often as I’m trying to appear intimidating to my children. Which hand is tucked under your arm? Which hand is out? Have you ever really thought about it before? You probably are wondering why you are even thinking about it now.
Now, cross your arms the opposite way. If you tuck your left hand under, have IT be on top and your right one be under. If you’re like me, you probably even have to stop for a minute and think of how to cross them the opposite way. Something we do every day, something we don’t even think about, something so simple but that feels so different when we change.
So I’m crossing my hands in a different direction and seeing what the results are. If you keep your arms folded the “wrong way” for a few minutes, it suddenly doesn’t feel so strange.
It is the act of doing one thing different that can change us. Drive home a different way, sleep on the other side of the bed. Keep your mouth shut when you want to complain. Talk to someone you normally wouldn’t talk to. Do one thing different and see what happens.