Streeeeeeeeetch Yourself

I have to apologize to my forum members today, because I was supposed to do this yesterday. As a few of you know, and most of my board knows, I ended up with another flare and the infection is fighting me again – or am I fighting it? I forget anymore…, so yesterday, in the middle of typing up a blog post here for you guys, I fell asleep! Yes, hands on the keyboard snoozing.


So, today you’re going to get two blog posts, but I wanted to start with this one, because this is one I’m really excited to write about. Why? Because something absolutely wonderful and amazing is happening and I need to share that with everyone… because, 1) I think it’s going to make an impact on those I’m about to mention and 2) I’m hoping if you’re not one of those people, this might just motivate you to do something you’ve been holding back on doing.

On a whim, a few weeks back, I issued a challenge. I wrote about the challenge here on my blog and then put the challenge thread up on my board.

The challenge, essentially, was for everyone who accepted the challenge to find at least one paying gig that beyond what they were used to doing, something out of their comfort zone, whatever that comfort zone was to them, and to write up a query and/or submission and put it up in the crits section and let us all on the board tear it apart, and then submit it.

I gave them until the end of the month.

Here’s what happened.

Andi Caldwell stepped out of her comfort zone and entered her first ever entry into the Accentuate Writers Short Story Contest. She had never submitted fiction before, so this was a big stretch for her, but she accepted the challenge bravely and her entry sits awaiting the judges’ decisions! Give her some kudos by visiting her other writing ventures here. Congrats, Andi!

LindsayM had this to say when I asked her what she had done with her challenge:

“I had been avoiding sending the query to MomSense because I was a little scared. Scared to query and ask to write a series of articles, scared that I’d simply get laughed at, scared that they’d say, “Yeah, okay lady. Fat chance.” Even if nothing comes from the query, I am immensely glad I sent it. Thank you for the shove. If nothing else, I don’t have the “What ifs” hanging over my head for not sending it!”

I asked her permission to use this quote, because I found it so motivational and encouraging. See, she didn’t say it was easy or simple, but she chose to do it anyway, and the enthusiasm and pride I felt from reading about it… well, I figure, if you’re scared too, maybe, just maybe, this will motivate you to stretch yourself like she did! You can give Lindsay a visit on her Silly Mom Thoughts blog. She’s got some great stuff there.

Now, AngelS has been working hard to get the hang of keywording and writing fiction, and somewhere along the way, she started flashing us. Nah, get your mind out of the gutter. I think she’s probably dressed most of the time when she’s on the board. What I meant was Flash Fiction. Short shorts, so to speak, and again, I’m talking writing, not clothing (or lack thereof.)

Angel is a self-published author with several books on Lulu and now, she’s submitting and having flash fiction published, breaking out into a whole new genre for her. She’s got a knack for the shorts, and I’m proud of her finding her groove and going with it. Good job, Angel!

Heather Mark stepped up to the plate and submitted an article she thought was out of her league, simply by changing the way she thought about the article and what it would mean. She is submitting to a prestigious publication what is bound to be an interesting topic! Heather, I personally wish you the best of luck and can’t wait to see if they pick it up. You’re definitely a winner in this challenge and way to step out of that comfort zone! Give Heather’s blog a looksee!

CWilson came in under the wire with her essay that she just put up for peer review (I’ma get to it, Clarissa, promise!) I know this one was a stretch for her, and I’m so excited to see her stepping out of that comfort zone to submit this one! She just put it up on the board yesterday and since I slept through my day, I missed it. I can’t wait to go read it. While I’m taking care of that, you guys can check out her blog and some some of her other writings on eHow!

I want to say something special here about Rissa Watkins. She won the Accentuate Writers short story contest last go-round, and it went to her head and somewhere she got the idea she might actually (gasp) be a writer. Read her declaration of independence. This is so worth reading. Rissa, I’m so proud of you! I mean it. If you have hope of ever being a writing for a living, this is a blog you must read.

Which brings me to my friend Jennifer Walker and her journey to freedom. Jenn quit her job, what was it, last month, two months ago? I remember her on IM with me whining about how much she hates her job, and now, I hardly talk to her, because she’s so busy goofing off in coffee shops, at the library and the cyber cafes… oh, you didn’t know? She quit her job… and, even better, she has pretty completely replaced her income doing what she loves – writing and editing. Visit her website here and then visit her blog here to see how she did it.

The next person I want to mention is Tanya Katerina. She has entered the contest with some really good writing. Mechanically, her writing rocks. She has great story ideas too. I haven’t really said this to her, but I’ll say it here for everyone – this girl has potential. No, I mean, real potential here. I think the only thing left for her to do is get that brilliant ‘idea’ or ‘concept’ and she’s going to kick it with fiction writing. She doesn’t freelance like the rest of us poor schlubs, so the best I can give you is her Msypace. Stop by and say hey, maybe add her as a friend, and encourage this woman to keep writing!

Laurie has been sharing with us for some time each new step she takes. On the board, she’s our resident poetry and prose writer, and her fiction writing has a literary fiction feel to it. She has been slowly taking one step forward after another, spreading her writing wings farther with each step, and hopefully not mixing metaphors as badly as I just did. I’ve enjoyed watching her grow in confidence and look foward to seeing great things coming from her. She’s got a blog you can visit by clicking here, and get a feel for some of her Ponderings.

I know I’m probably missing someone and I’m going to feel horrible about it afterward, and I’ll pick them up on another blog if I did…

… but before I close, there’s one more person I want to mention.

Amy Browne. Man, when I issue a challenge, some people step into the water timidly, but Amy embodied the spirit of challenge, and she just went crazy submitting! She found paying markets, she dug deep into her and shared so
person things and put them into what stands to be some powerful writing. Then she went out and put herself out there and started submitting. She sold one of her writings to publication earlier this month, and she just didn’t stop! If she keeps this up, she’s bound to hit something big soon. Keep going, Amy! Way to take on a challenge!

If I forgot or missed anyone from the board who stepped up, let me know and I will be sure to include you in a new blog tomorrow or the next day. If you have taken the challenge but have not yet posted it for us, let me know soon so I can get you up here on the blog too.

You all did what many won’t – you stepped out of your comfort zone, and now, you will all promptly burst into flames.


But you’re one step closer to whatever you seek… so if you’re not one of these people or if you’re wanting to branch out but haven’t yet, why not?

These folks might not have thought they could do it at first either, but here they are doing it. You can too, you know.

Just do it. Don’t think it. Don’t fight it. Just do it. You’ll be glad you did!

I’ll have an update about the short story contest, a new tutorial video and some information about a poetry contest we’re hosting on the board coming up later today, so stay tuned.

Until then, give the folks up there in this post a visit to the links I’ve included!

Keep writing!

Love and stuff,

PS: I knew I would forget someone! Of course, I could blame it on her, since she didn’t post in my thread immediately after I asked for people to do it (ppffffft) Susan! I’m so sorry I forgot you! (HUGS)

Susan is going to be my next victi– (ahem) I mean, uhm, protege, yeah, that’s it. I’m giving her until after the holidays, and then she too will be assimilated. Susan actually stretched out of her comfort zone and jumped on the challenge as well. I have a lot of faith in Susan as a freelancer – she’s got the right attitude for it, so now I just have to help her find her motivation. Ya’ll go see her writing blog here.