Back at the beginning of 2014, I declared that, for me, this year would be inspired by the word “brave”.
At times, the word—the idea—has absolutely inspired me. At other times, it has absolutely taunted me. Lately, it’s been the latter.
As I get to know more and more (outrageously talented) bloggers and writers, I see more and more people living my dreams—and I can’t help but feel like I’m chasing them, with no way of ever catching up. Some got a head start, others had a stroke of luck—or genius—that launched them into the spotlight one day.
Me? Well, this blog means so much to me—you mean so much to me—but sometimes I feel like my words are getting lost in the sea of ideas out there on the interwebs. Why keep going when there are so many other people out there writing equally (if not far more) beautiful, insightful, humorous things? (Cue the violins, right?)
As I mentioned in another post, Yahoo! Shine is no longer leaning on my guru-ness. And Babble, well, who knows. For years I’ve submitted post after post after post to BlogHer for syndication, and they’ve totally ignored me. My book? It will happen, but not this year. After writing and writing (remember the Month of Me?), I realized that my idea will actually take much better shape as a novel. So I’m back to the beginning—which is exciting because I know it’s the right thing to do, but it’s also intimidating.
Truth be told, I realized a couple weeks ago that sitting around waiting for something “big” to come my way has been exhausting me. So, I figured it was time to try a new kind of brave.
After being inspired by stories on the awesome Beyond Your Blog blog, I submitted a post to Scary Mommy—a hugely popular parenting blog—for syndication. I received a lovely reply, saying the post I submitted wasn’t right for their site, but to please send more ideas in the future. Maybe that’s their boilerplate response, but I found it rather encouraging.
So encouraging, in fact, that I decided to email Arianna Huffington.
You see, when she was speaking at BlogHer ’14, she bravely told the audience of thousands to feel free to send her ideas for the Huffington Post. At the time I laughed, thinking a) she obviously didn’t mean it, and b) who on earth would actually have the guts do that?
Then one night, on a whim, I wrote a quick note with a couple links to my blog. And the next morning, I received a response, not only from Arianna, but from two of the Parenting editors.
Hello Amy, thank you so much for thinking of us. We would love to feature your voice on HuffPost. I’m ccing our Parents editor [name] to follow up. All the best, Arianna
I laughed out loud—in total shock. It turns out that while brave isn’t easy, it can be simple. Brave isn’t sitting around waiting for your moment, it’s getting out there and making it happen.
And, you guys, brave worked. Because today, after a week of working with the responsive and engaging editors at Huff Po, my piece, The Anniversary We Didn’t Know We Were Waiting For, was featured near the top of the Parenting section. And I’m now free to share my writing there as I please. (Though not everything has the promise of being featured, so please follow me over there by clicking “Become a Fan” next to my name if you want to see what else I share.)
But it’s funny. After all my excitement about being out there on a great big stage, I realized something. By being able to share my story with the masses, I was reminded that all I ever really needed was right here all along.
My personal Facebook feed today has been overflowing with love and encouragement. You cheered me on, and reminded me that you’re out there—reading, relating, and celebrating my little and big successes. And maybe that was all I really needed to get me out of this slump. Because it gets lonely at times, blogging. I sit alone, staring at a screen, not knowing what you’re doing or thinking on the other end. So thank you for reminding me today—with your shares, your cheers, and your pride. I honestly and truly appreciate it, from the bottom of my heart.
(But, I’m not gonna lie, I’m keeping that email from Arianna.)