When I first applied for the Jack Hazard Teacher Fellowship, I realized it was one of the first times I actively put myself as a writer out into the world. 

I've been working on that— writing for an audience, putting myself out there, and doing more with my writing than just hiding it in my digital sock drawer— and while I didn't get a yes, I learned a few really valuable lessons. 

The first is that a “No, thank you though” will not kill me. I worried that it might. Did it sting the ol’ pride a smidge? Of course. While getting told no isn’t necessarily bad, it’s okay that it also doesn’t feel great. 

The second thing I learned is I can put myself out there. I can apply for stuff specifically for me. It's like taking that early morning run and coming back feeling rejuvenated. No one benefitted from this application except for me. Will I win? Who knows. Probably not. I didn't win this one. But I refuse to stop writing and taking up space. Writing, even as it empties that metaphorical emotional mug with its ups and downs and sideways turns, also fills up my soul. 

So, back to the story instead of the lessons. I got the “No, thank you, though,” from the Jack Hazard Fellowship— expected and also totally okay. I allowed myself to feel the disappointment, then I moved on because that’s what we do with disappointments. 

It's been a couple of weeks since I got the “No, thank you, though.” It's pretty far from my mind, then surprise, I get this email. And I feel fired up again, because I did get a "No," but I also got an apply again because you were a strong contender which feels freaking fantabulous. 

So, I was going to keep writing and applying for writing-related grants and programs anyways. But that email empowered me even more because it added a layer of validation. For the last year, I have focused heavily on my writing, and the work I’ve put in over the last year is paying off, and that is really cool. 

So, happy writing and all that jazz. Do something brave today!


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a year ago

Congratulations on being a contender. That in itself is victory worth celebrating and a milestone in your journey. Keep showing up to the blank page, bleeding the truth (whatever it may be), and giving it to the world. It’s the only way you’ll ever get back a resounding, “Yes!”