Opportunities wasted: a blog about putting yourself out there.

I have been writing for years, but it wasn’t until about two years ago that I realized I can dream the dream or I can live it.  Living the dream consisted of writing multiple outlines, thinking about my stories all the time, finishing manuscripts, joining like minded people, but there was still something missing: I couldn’t live the dream if I didn’t put myself out there for rejection.

“I’ll do it soon,” I told myself.  “Maybe I’ll try after I edit the manuscript for the fourteenth-zillionth time.”  The worst one was when I told myself, “You only get one chance.  The novel has to be perfect or they will black list you.”

I have slowly come to the realization that the perfect novel doesn’t exist and so long as I keep telling myself that, I will never achieve my goal of being a published author.  I truly believe I have good novels.  I would go as far as saying I have some that border on better than good.  I’m a writer; I should know a better phrase.  Amazing? Talk about setting an unobtainable goal.  Awesome? Only if I admit I’m a prodigy of past generations.  Perfect?  No way in hell.  Writing is too objective to fully achieve perfection.

Where does that leave me?  For starters it leaves me where a lot of you are.  If you’re past all that, you at least understand where I am- dreaming the dream without walking the path.  The path is scary place.  In order to get to my dream I have to walk among my competition.  I have to put myself out there to be rejected and criticized.  (Why the heck did I not have a creepy fascination with teeth and become a dentist or something more realistic?  Oh yeah…because I don’t like teeth and I never take the easy road.)

Aren’t you glad you tuned in to listen to me whine?  It gets better.  I promise.

Sarah Bella of www.shelikesitverbal.com has been a constant source of support.  She told me about a pitch contest and pushed me to enter.  I wasn’t going to at first but over time I realized it was an opportunity that didn’t come up often.

For the first time in my life, I put my work out on a public forum.  My pitch for the novel BENEATH THE SURFACE went head to head against thirty four people who were doing the same thing.  They were living the dream even if they didn’t realize that was what they were doing.   Even if they didn’t move onto the second round, they were doing what I have been afraid of for years.

To see my original pitch:  http://passionatereads.com/2011/10/08/pitch-contest-round-1-the-polls-are-open/ or vote for my first chapter: http://passionatereads.com/2011/10/16/pitch-contest-round-2-the-polls-are-open/

The day of final voting, I gave up all hope of winning the popular vote (which meant a guaranteed advancement).  Over ninety votes separated me from the leader.  Part of it, most certainly, was my fault.  I wasn’t advertising it like I should.

Then a strange thing happened…my mom saw that I had posted something about being in a contest. It shouldn’t have surprised me; she was doing what moms do.  She promoted it on her facebook and within a matter of minutes I had votes and people saying they were excited for me.

They had to see the same numbers I did.  They had to know there was no way I could earn enough votes to claim the lead.  They voted for me anyways.

A little bit of success is a strong motivator!  If my mom thought I could do it and her friends shared the same opinion, then I was the only person standing in my way.  I used every resource at my disposal to show Grace Bradly of Ellora’s Cave, passionatereads.com and every watching me make a fool of myself that I could do it.

Winning was never my goal….That’s a tiny lie.  Eventually it became a goal, but that took a while.  All I wanted was to see what I could do.  It was kind of like the bear we all loved in grade school.

The bear went over the mountain

The bear went over the mountain

The bear went over the mountain

To see what he could see. 

Hopefully you recognize the song…otherwise I look like a complete dolt right now.  Anyways…I wanted to see how much interest I could put together.  I set a goal of fifty votes.  It was obtainable in my mind, even though the thought of it made me slightly nauseous (keep in mind I have something like 22 votes at this point).  I got to work.  Nothing gets accomplished without putting out effort.  Minutes quickly tuned to an hour of promoting.

As time went on we started to get people excited.  Together, Sarah Bella (a fellow competitor and the reason I signed up in the first place) and I set up an event and invited all our friends.  Our friends were so excited they shared it with their friends.  We were not only exceeding our own expectations, but we were catching up with the leader.

When everything was said and done, Sarah Bella and I took first and second place.  I claimed 143 votes of people who wanted to be part of my dream.

Dreams baby!  I claimed at least a small part of mine.  It was a big step in the right direction but it’s not over.

Round two is another big step.  I go head to head with the first chapters of ten other authors, including Sarah Bella.  Please take the time to check our chapters out.


Beneath the Surface by Carrie Clark (the secret me)

Sarah Bella’s 14 days of Oh!

And whatever your dreams are…don’t wait.  Do everything you can, use everything at your disposal, and CLAIM YOUR DREAM!

Liz (aka Carrie Clark)



4 comments on “Opportunities wasted: a blog about putting yourself out there.

  1. Cheering for you all the way.

    I don’t want to be on my deathbed, full of regrets for what I didn’t try, risk, or take a chance on. I may have bitter disappointments along the way, but I will have LIVED. So excited for you, Liz!

    • Thanks Bev- You have been a constant support to me and there are only so many ways to say thank you without it seeming redundant. So I’ll say it once more: Thank you! You deserve every piece of karma that heads your way 🙂

  2. What a lovely story, something to keep us all motivated. It may sound cheesy but seriously we are all in this together aren’t we?
    btw I voted for you 🙂 Yay! Crossing fingers for the next round….

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