Last months I attended an author event. It was the first time I had entered a writing competition and pushed myself into the lion’s den of being judged.

I didn’t know the outcome because winners weren’t announced until the night of the event. I’ve been writing aka blogging or books for over 10 years now but never once had I considered entering a competition. It’s not really my scene because I want to not care what people think about my writing or what I do. Ever.

Because the moment I start caring what other people think in terms of my writing or the work that I do, I create a space to shrink and play it small. And yet, if I don’t push those boundaries, how will I grow?

And so I wrote a 500-word essay and entered the competition. I found myself among some incredible human beings.

Challenge into Change is a forum for real-life stories about women overcoming personal struggles to find growth and healing. We invite you to submit a piece of writing of 500 words or less about a woman (yourself or someone you know) surmounting a difficult situation in her life. Both prose and poetry are welcome. Winners will receive cash awards; all entrants will have the chance to be published in our Challenge into Change book and will be honored at a ceremony at the 2018 Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. – Women’s Initiative

And what a humbling experience to hear and read the stories of over 80 authors who have had some incredibly challenging experiences in their own lives. We are truly never alone and the only time we find ourselves alone is when we don’t share our stories.

I didn’t win and yet I did all at the same time.

I won because I put myself out there and I won because of the comments from the judges about my story.

These comments sum up who I am as a human and as a writer. In fact, the point that got me is that through my writing they were indeed able to see everything about me.

But I am not going to sit here and say that I wasn’t disappointed. There was a small part of me that was bummed out about not winning. And that reminds me that I am human after all and that sometimes can mean the world.

I wouldn’t have known the outcome or this experience:

If I didn’t write the essay
If I didn’t submit the essay
If I didn’t go to the event

If you want to change your life then you gotta push those boundaries of your comfort zone a little at a time!

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