Saturday, July 20, 2013

The contest

This week I was named one of 20 finalists in a contest to win a trip to a national journalism conference. My brief bout of excitement at being named a finalist was shortly followed by terror -- in order to advance in the contest I was going to have to rack up as many online votes as possible. In order to win I was going to have to ask people to vote for me. A lot of people.

I am not a person suited to such things, to say the least. I have 137 friends on Facebook, 53 followers on Twitter, and maybe about four good friends in "real" life. I've spent years trying to overcome terrible shyness. In high school and college I basically wanted to disappear.

But on the other hand, I couldn't NOT participate in the contest, however uncomfortable it was. In the first place, it did seem like a conference where I could genuinely learn a lot. Second, I was the only person from our region who was a finalist, so I couldn't hand off the responsibility to someone else. And third was that voice of Sheryl Sandberg that sometimes whispers in my ear to lean in and take a seat at the table.

So up went the self-promotional posts on Facebook and Twitter. I emailed the friends and family not on Facebook whose email addresses I had. I asked the HR people at work for some help. I emailed the professional contacts I have accumulated over the years.

And a funny thing happened -- instead of brushing me off, people actually responded. One of the first to respond was a grad school friend who said she voted for me at work. Former coworkers I hadn't seen in years posted messages on their Facebook pages on my behalf. My boss posted the link to vote on his personal Facebook page.

The HR department at work responded to my request and sent out an email to everyone at my workplace asking them to vote for me. After that my coworkers came up to me in the ladies room and in the elevator to say, "I voted for you." I responded with extremely grateful and slightly embarrassed thank you's.

As much as I dreaded doing this at first, I was humbled and honored by the reaction of my friends, family and coworkers. I was so afraid I was just going to be bothering people with my request, but instead I was overwhelmed by a giant wave of goodwill. I typically think of myself as a lonely person who doesn't have much interaction beyond a few people, but this experience reminded me that the truth is my life intersects with many other lives. And those people's lives intersect with others. And so on and so on, forever.

Even if I don't win the contest, I consider myself blessed to have had this experience. I'm a person who doesn't like to ask for help, but when I asked, people were willing, even people who I would never expect, and they were willing to go above and beyond my expectations. And all I can say is "thank you, thank you, thank you."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Writing contract self-evaluation

I totaled the number of hours I wrote these past 30 days and it came out to 19.91. I counted partial hours in the total. So I met my goal of 18 hours (5 hours per week minus two vacation days) set out in the writing contract.

I could have done better on documenting the time. I would often forget to document it daily and lump them together on a day when I actually remembered to document my time.

I produced 18 posts on my Annette's Notebook blog this month. Twelve of those posts were documenting my refined sugar fast. Six were on other topics including my trip to New York and an article on feminism. I also wrote some journal entries during that time.

I don't know if the quality of my writing improved. I really didn't do anything different on the blog than what I have been doing. I didn't have a goal as far as that. I didn't submit anything for publication.

Would my writing get better if I spent more time doing it, or if I set some more goals? Undoubtedly. I was doing some career research this week and came across this blog post. In the comments, the author says she spends four hours each weekend day on writing fiction, and six to 10 hours per day writing, for a total of 100,000 words a month. I suppose it all depends on my commitment to it and where I want to go with it.

I give myself a grade of B. I did put in the time and I didn't produce total crap but it's not the kind of effort that would merit an A.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I wrote for about 40 minutes tonight, and about an equal amount of time yesterday. My mind is toast tonight so I will be going to bed.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another hour of writing completed. I did about 45 minutes yesterday.

Saturday, July 28, 2012