Three Times a Loser, But Still A Winner – I Hope?

It’s time to have a pity party…and guess who is the Guest of Honor?? Me! Yup. I have been shot down yet again for another opportunity, it’s hard to not take these things personally – since it is my writing that is not making the cut. Three separate events/opportunities/moments in time have slipped through my fingers. I know I shouldn’t say anything about them, I should just pick up my heart and my head, stick my chin in the air and continue forward. And I will – but first I need to get through the part where I am sad and then mad and then acceptance. Actually I am already at acceptance, not like I have a choice – so that leaves the sad and mad.

I have shed a profuse amount of tears on one of my denials – an anthology that I soooo very badly wanted to be a part of. I admire the many ladies that were in the first book and so the possibility of being in a follow up book had me euphoric. The topic was something I could relate to, being a walking shitastrophy and all. I knew I could hit this one out of the ball park. In reality I foul ball tipped it to the first baseman and was out before I even dropped my bat. I went with a safe submission because I didn’t want to piss anyone off and in the end I pissed myself off. That mistake will not be made again.

The second denial was for a national competition that I had no chance in hell of winning. But seriously somewhere deep down I thought…what if. What if my entry is picked? What if I am good enough? What if by some miracle upon all miracles my entry makes the cut – even honorable mention would be awesome. But another much more seasoned and nationally recognized writer won – and no doubt a better writer.

And then today came the third denial. The one that stings just a bit more than the others. The one that makes me question my abilities. The one that I thought, I really believed I had a solid chance at getting. When I read my piece, she laughed – I walked away feeling like I nailed it. Proud of the work I put forward. But it wasn’t to be. I was notified that in the end my piece was not enough to be a part of the group.

Writing might just be the hardest thing I have ever done. I have given presentations to CEO’s of Global Fortune 100 companies, I have graduated college with Dean’s list, attended school for my MBA (we had to move before I could finish it), traveled the country for work – being in multiple cities in one week, had two children, am raising a very spirited child, argued epically with my mother, watched my father’s health deteriorate till he needed a heart transplant to survive. But all that pales to writing.

Yes, I have done a lot, I have seen a lot, I have felt a lot – but nothing, nothing at all leaves me so humbled, so naked in a room full of strangers than writing does. And I love it. I love to know something I wrote makes someone smile. I love knowing that my humor is understood and appreciated by others – that I am not alone. That maybe my next door neighbor thinks I am an asshole, and the one next to her too, and yeah probably the one across the street does also – but somewhere out there you enjoy reading my stuff. That you laugh and relate to my insanity. It is what keeps me going.

I need to focus on this and stop thinking about that.

So thank you everyone who tunes in for my craziness and keeps me going. I appreciate you all more than you could ever know and as long as you will keep having me I intend to stay doing my thing…even if no one else wants me.

Excuse me while I go open a beer now and drown my sadness/anger over this latest WTF moment in my life.


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  1. Alyson I so related to this!! I acted for years and thought I was use to the word no, but somehow when it’s my writing it hurts even more then it did back then. But like you I pick myself up and go on, hopefully a better writer because of it. Love you, and I am a huge fan on not just you, but of your work! xox

    • says:

      That means so much to me Kathy. I somehow got myself going down this strange road where I equated my happiness with other things – contests, anthologies, speaking opportunities. But in reality all I want to do is write, and that is where I should spend my time. But it hurts, and I don’t know if it will hurt any less the next time it happens either. I wish it wouldn’t.

  2. Deanna Jordan says:

    Oh girlfriend! It wasn’t the right time…something bigger and better is down the pike. I promise. You are a wonderful, talented, fucking funny human being. Not to mention extremely smart and smart ass partner and mommy person. If I miss you in my news feed I go find yours for i know you will make me smile if not laugh out loud. Now go drown some sorrows….and tomorrow is new day. Love you my dear!!!

  3. I feel your pain. Today I went to a spirit tasting at a local distillery in the middle of the day, if the tells you where I am at. Nothing like stripping all your clothes off and standing there naked while people walk out of the room. I found out today that my writing I submitted to the “national contest” didn’t even warrant a comment. Not one comment. I’m pretty sure that is the equivalent of “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. I bought some absinthe today. If I can’t write well, maybe writing drunk will help. ha
    You are funny. I can attest to that. And so can many others.

    • says:

      I haven’t found out what my comments were – but I can only imagine. It is so frustrating, I wish I had a distillery to go to mid day. I did pick up a 12 pack of Sierra Nevada mid day so that’s promising.

  4. Hey. Look. You don’t need validation from other people and other projects. You crack people the fuck up on this site and that is the best thing a comedy writer can ask for. Not that I’m an expert or anything, but it’s how I feel. <3

    • says:

      I heart you so hard Sarah…if you were in front of me I would make you chug a beer with me.

  5. Terrye says:

    Story of my life whenever I submit my shit to places like BlogHer, and other places like that. I’ve submitted my crap to humor contests only to lose to writers that were more popular with a huge following. My solution? Say ‘fuck it,’ fall back and rethink what I wanna do with writing. I’m still rethinking. 😉

    Does it count that WE love you no matter if your famous or not?

    • says:

      I am about to just frame that phrase – Fuck It. Seems to be my theme recently. Looks like I am in good company.

  6. Carrie says:

    I am outraged and disappointed for you. You are an amazingly funny writer and if other people can’t see it, it’s their loss. Knock back a drink, flip them the bird and move on. You’re better than they are.

    • says:

      I can’t thank you enough for your words of support. I am drinking a beer as I type this and thinking a mental FU as well (not to you but to them).

  7. Alyson, you’ve got a hug comin’ when I see you at Erma. I relTed so much to this. This is such a hard thing we’re doing. It drives me crazy and I’ve had pleasure of going through it all with acting, music and photography, but I keep coming back. You know why? Because I couldn’t get into clown college. No – it’s for all the reasons you mentioned. Because ultimately, the joy of writing and of making people laugh or think or relate or feel something is the reward, despite all the rejection and uphill climbing in heels. The creative outlet and the victories along the way, however few and far between. Keep on keeping on, my friend. You’ve got the goods and you Maleah’s make me laugh, think and feel. There are so many of us out here in the blogosphere. But thank God we have each other to go through it all with!

    • says:

      Thank you for your words and wisdom…and thank god I have met such amazing people to help buoy me when I feel like I am about to drown in this shit.

  8. Related! Why do I attempt to comment on my phone? 😉

  9. Me again. I have no idea who Malea is. The takeaway here is to proofread BEFORE hitting send.

    • says:

      Oh Linda! I was reading that trying to figure out who the fuck Malea was but thought shit I should probably know that since she put it in her. I was thinking a spin on Madiea…but I am not an angry black woman, but I am kinda an angry white woman so I guess it works.

  10. Jean says:

    I’m still laughing about the story you told about your husband’s traumatized finger.

    • says:

      To be fair it was quite an injury he suffered, I just thank god every day he is able to get up and go to work to provide for us. And thank you.

  11. I’m so sorry this is happening right now! Please don’t let it get you down. Every writer gets rejected. It’s just part if what we do. The key is to get back up and continue on. There will be other anthologies. There will be other contests. Don’t define yourself by those rots of things. It will only make you second guess yourself at every turn.

    Ask yourself why you write. Is it to make money? No. Is it to become famous? Probably not. If those things happen, ok. But it’s not why you do it. Get back to remembering why you do it. It’s because you Love you! It. It brings you joy. You live when you make people laugh. Guess what? You’re still doing that. So what does that mean? You’re succeeding at the one thing that’s reading most important to you…making people laugh. Who cares about the other stuff?

    Hang in there. I think you’re awesome.

    • says:

      You are right, just hate to hear the same party line again and again. I try to guess what people want, but in the end all I am doing is adjusting me for them. That never worked in high school and I should know that I will never be happy if I do that. Back to basics it is. Thank you for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it.

  12. You are SO a winner. I love you, and I love your blog. You are one of my favorite blogs to read. I may not be an anthology or a competition, but I am a big Alyson fan. You make me laugh. A lot. #winning

    P.S., Looking forward to your next post.

    • says:

      Thanks lady! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. I need to just refocus on why I began doing this in the first place and stop trying to chase all the sparkly shit that keeps getting in my way.

  13. Whatchu talkin’ about Willis? Someone doesn’t love you?! Who?

    Oh….let me count the ways I’ve been rejected too….it really does hurt when it’s your writing though. It’s almost worse than someone calling you ugly. Cuz even then you can buy $500 face cream and get botox and shit. But your writing? It’s like someone just called your soul hideous. I feel your pain sister.

    I just read this somewhere:
    Stephen King says at fourteen, “The nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing.” Rejection is a red badge of honor. It means you’re serious, you’re disciplined, and you won’t give up. If you haven’t been rejected, it probably means you’re not passionate enough.

    I love you, Alyson!! And you know if I lived closer, we’d drink our sorrows together 🙂

    XO, Leigh

    • says:

      The only thing I was doing at fourteen was getting in trouble. And you are absolutely right – it is like calling your soul hideous, best description ever. Love you too lady, and we would totally drink our sorrows…it might be a good thing we don’t live closer.

  14. Abby says:

    Yup. I tell myself that it happens to everyone, but that doesn’t really tame the sting of every damn rejection. It’s hard being “a creative” and remembering that your stuff isn’t for everyone, that someone’s opinion isn’t necessarily a judgement of your work. Sigh…I try and remember that, but damn. I would love to catch a break. However, having a few people tell me that what I write makes them laugh or think in a different way helps to ease some of the pain. Some.

    Hang in there, my friend!

    • says:

      Thank you, it really is awesome when someone says your work made them laugh – and that’s why I write so I need to focus on that and stop worrying about everything else. If only it was that easy. I appreciate you taking the time to comment, it means a lot.

  15. I’m sorry. Writer rejection is the worst. DON’T STOP WRITING. I just had a disheartening experience of my own recently that kept me from writing for almost two weeks. The longer I put off writing, the worse I felt, and the worse I felt, the less I wanted to write. What a mess. You’re awesome. You know this. Keep kicking ass.

    • says:

      Thanks Jenn. So frustrating and you are right – the longer you put it off the worse it gets. I am sorry you too had a rejection recently. Sucks.

  16. Oh, I needed to read something like this today because I just got rejected from an audition for something I really wanted and thought I had a chance at. And you’re right, it feels so personal because we write our hearts out and it hurts to not be chosen! And then we start to doubt… Keep writing and entertaining! You have great stories to share!

    • says:

      The more the merrier right? Whoever said that is a jerk, cause some groups should have no one in it – and that is the group of rejection. It totally feels personal, because it is – it is our story that was turned down. It was crafted and performed by us – there is no one else to point to and say they didn’t do their part. We own the whole thing so when it fails it is so every horrible. Thanks for your kind words, and you too – keep writing!!

  17. This? Made me cry. Good gawd, I understand exactly where you’re coming from! To be honest, I envy your guts. I just quit submitting. Then some well meaning person nominated me for the whole WEGO Awards thing and yes, I lost.
    The things we write are so personal and so revealing of ourselves, that it IS hard not to see rejection as personal and to the core.
    But I know you’ll pick yourself up and keep doing what you’re doing and sister, you do it SO damn well!!! *hugs*

    • says:

      Each denial chips away a little at my soul to be quite honest, but I suppose I have to just keep going. I hate that I get so excited about the possibility and then…nope. Thanks for all your support, and I can’t thank the god’s enough for sticking us next to each other that night!!

  18. Aw now…. I know how hard it is. I have been very quiet about a rejection I got two weeks ago from someone who actually accepted my piece and then changed her mind.
    My anger almost overflowed, but then I thought. She’s the one who doesn’t recognize my genius, and I know I am way better than that.
    And you my lady, you are way way better. I have read you, loved you, felt amazed to get to meet you 🙂 so you keep on doing what you do.
    And raising a son like “ours” adds that extra bit of hard to write, hard not to, unique perspective that everyone needs to hear.
    I don’t care who rejected you, I embrace you. The end.

    • says:

      It’s so hard putting ourselves out there, and obviously I understand I will not get everything…but sometimes would it kill the universe to get a morsel? I have a lot of blessings on my blog and I should be grateful – and I am, but that damn fence always lures me to peek over it. I gotta stop doing that. Really. I am sorry about your let down too, especially if you were accepted and then shot down. That is a hard pill to swallow. And yes, sometimes I think hasn’t the universe shit on me enough with everything with my son…and then it just turds a little more. Sigh…I can’t thank you enough for your words of encouragement, your virtual hug, and just for you.

  19. My goal for 2014 is to receive more rejection. I played it safe last year, and I’m not doing that anymore. I’m reaching for things I wouldn’t have in the past, and I am on track for my goal, having been rejected several times this year. They were all things I really wanted, and there were some tears, but after a couple of weeks, the sting lessens. There are other opportunities, and honestly it helps to know that everyone faces some disappointment, even the writers we most admire.

    • says:

      It is a necessary part of writing for sure, and just as you said the sting lessens – thankfully. I appreciate you giving me your thoughts – because you are one of those writers I most admire. Hugs lady.

  20. From where I’m sitting/reading, you have some pretty well established peeps in your corner to boost you up. As a brandy new blogger, I have been knocked down almost daily but I pick myself up, brush myself off and declare myself winning. Even if I suck…which I mostly don’t (at least in my head… Ahem). I think the key is to surround yourself with people who understand what it feels like to fail and to remember you aren’t the only one who gets bitch slapped with rejection. Hugs 🙂

    • says:

      I am blessed to have wonderful people support me and buoy my pity feelings up. The bitch slap of rejection stings for sure though.