Back in February my Mother-in-Law notified me about a short story contest that The Star was holding. She likes to cut out articles for my husband and I whenever something catches her eye – I think it’s adorable. When she handed me the small advertisement, I checked the deadline and realized I only had two weeks to submit something. Cue my anxious thoughts:
You don’t have any ideas on what to write about, you won’t get it done on time, and nothing you write is good enough
I sat in front of my computer for a good couple of hours letting these thoughts wash over me, and I was slowly starting to agree with all of them. Acknowledging this fact, I knew that I had to do something about it.
What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t win? At least I can say I TRIED
So, the next day I started to form a character in my head. I kept a notepad close by to jot down a couple of notes and by the end of the day I had a solid story – in my eyes, at least. The turnaround time took roughly a week to complete, and I was quite proud of how quickly I was able to bang it out. I circulated it throughout my office to gain some feedback, and I got nothing but praise. My spirits were elevated, but that didn’t mean my anxiety wasn’t knocking on my back door.
Since I was cutting close to the deadline, the plan was to drive to their head office and drop it off personally. My ears were throbbing with my heartbeat the entire ride down. I lost grip once on my steering wheel from the excessive sweat exuding from my palms. I missed my turn and had to circle the office at least twice before landing a parking spot two blocks down. Once I turned my car off, I just sat in silence for two minutes. My breath was rigid, and I needed to calm myself down.
You’re only dropping off your story, Andrea. A decision won’t happen for over a month. You’ll be OK.
Once I was calm, I entered the lobby of and placed my entry in the provided box. It was officially too late to back out. I walked out of that building with a little more confidence. Weeks went by, and the official date of being notified came and went – I was not selected.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t overly upset about it. I was happier with the fact that I gained the confidence to push through my anxiety and draft up a short story. I hope this new found confidence can help me push through other anxious scenarios!
Click here to read The Lottery