Validation is Always a Great Thing, Even Just a Little Teensy Bit

I have been a little swamped this week, with a few changes in my schedule and some health things getting in the way. Juggling multiple blogs, work, a dog*, and regular life stuff means it takes awhile to get things settled. Trying to work in this whole “writing for more than just fun” thing is a welcome change but a new one.

Case in point: a few days ago, I stopped to pick up some groceries. It was a warm afternoon, I didn’t have a car, and I got a little greedy. Maybe it was the stress of the day; running errands and dealing with the logistical minutiae of life in Los Angeles, but laying thirty pounds of food on a bad shoulder and walking four blocks to the nearest Metro stop just was not going to happen.

So I hailed a Lyft. It was a little foolish; I was taking a risk by calling a Line instead of regular, I could easily be demerited for the amount of bags I had with me. Fortunately, the first passenger and the driver were friendly and accommodating. Even better, I was the driver’s last ride so we wouldn’t be picking up anyone else. Score!

As I got myself situated and balanced a pack of diet citrus soda on my lap, my phone dinged. Most of my alerts are just Twitter subscriptions: LA news alerts, Metro changes, or friends’ fumbled attempts at observational comedy. So, while I knew that it was probably nothing that actually required my attention, I groaned anyway. Couldn’t they see I was busy? 

(In case you’re wondering, I definitely do lose object permanence when I’m frazzled. Relaxed me knows that people and inanimate objects can’t actually see what I’m doing. Stressed me wishes they could.)

After my 18-pack of eggs and broccoli florets resigned to their fate and stopped attempting escape, I heaved a sigh and checked my phone.

Oh, it’s just Quora. 

I almost didn’t open the notification, but the toast said it was a message from someone. I never received messages on Quora.

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To say I was tickled pink might be an overstatement, and in fact it is, but after some doubt and a quick investigation when I got home and had time to look into things, I was delighted. Some recognition! On Quora, I mostly just answer questions about Michael Jackson, but I have recently tried to expand my topics.

Now, being a Top Writer isn’t really the prettiest flower in anyone’s cap. It’s probably the dullest. Slow claps for me all around, right? True. It does seem that sometimes a Top Writer title is bestowed without much reason, thanks to what The Google told me.

But all the same, someone with that authority saw my work, read what I wrote, and decided that I met criteria–that I was good enough for even some basic recognition. That alone is powerful. When you’re new to something, even when you have your own confidence in your abilities, even when you know it’s what you’re supposed to do, and you don’t necessarily require any outside permission to exist in that space: when people recognize it independently is a great feeling. It’s a sign of going in the right direction.

The best thing is that it wasn’t the only thing that happened this week! A few days later, a rep from a small publishing house reached out to me and invited me to contribute to a new program.

A few red flags in the lead message got a side-eye from me at first, but after some investigation and more correspondence with the rep, I am so excited! It is small but mighty. I don’t want to jinx it just yet, as I have only been invited to contribute and have not formally submitted anything.

Once I submit and get a formal decision, either way, I’ll write a followup–but knowing that people out there who don’t know you from Jack, who have no emotional or social investment in your success, saw your work and thought Hey, we need to hear more. We want to know what you can do, and we want our readers to see it, too…that is powerful. For me, anyway.


 

*DOG

We all love doggos. Here my pupper. His name is Czar. He’s 14 and has exactly as much attitude as you’d think a teenage dog would.

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