My son is having a little bit of trouble making it through early schooling. When he encounters something that is challenging, he will sometimes shut down and stop even trying because he gets so frustrated he can’t do it perfectly. So one day, I came up with the phrase “If you try, you win.” It seemed to help him a tiny bit, but it has since become a bit of a mantra for me.

Where it comes to writing, I have submitted my work to four writing contests now. At the moment, I have heard back from three and I am 0/3. I am obviously a little disappointed, but I also feel like that is a huge win. It is a win because I beat all my hurdles and actually produced four pieces of writing that I thought were complete enough to submit. And I beat my fear of failure and rejection by actually submitting. In a way, I think that the rejection may serve to innoculate me against future criticism. If I ever “succeed” (whatever that means) with my writing, there will be critics. If I had won the first writing contest I entered, I might not have the opportunity to get my perspective straight. So instead, I think of it as “I am trying, therefore I am winning.”

With that perspective, I am 4/4 on writing contests. Haven’t won any prizes yet, but I won against myself and all of the resistance that tries to keep me from writing. What are you not doing because you are afraid to lose?