Tuesday, December 13, 2011


a guest post by Holly Jahangiri

Silver Lake and Crystal Lake

I was telling one of my blogging buddies, today, what drove me to enter Weblogbetter’s Surviving the Blog Contest. “I had every intention of buying front row seats in the Peanut Gallery and heckling the contestants through comments and blow-by-blow commentary on my own blog. I was finally going to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming the next Simon Cowell!”

“Aren’t you mixing your reality TV metaphors?”

It’s true. I had no idea what I was getting myself in for, here. I was getting excited about this contest, though, because it was going to be something new and unique – not the usual blog contest format. It was going to run a full ten weeks; anyone who has disciplined herself to blog regularly and consistently understands that’s likely to be a worthwhile challenge. And the prize package? When it got up to $1000 plus ownership of the blog itself, plus some blogging goodies like premium themes and such – well, I have to admit, the temptation was almost more than I could stand.

But that’s not why I entered. I entered, because there in the last week before the signup deadline, there weren’t enough participants signed up to hold the contest at all.

I’m going to admit something here that I haven’t admitted until now: That made me a little angry.

I see so many people making excuses, day in, day out. “Oh, I could never do that. I’m too [busy, lazy, untalented, unskilled, inept, stupid…] but it looks like a real blast! Good luck, everyone!” Or, “Looks intriguing. I don’t have enough info. Maybe next time.” What? You don’t have enough information? Then ask questions.

If you want to win at anything, you’ve got to get yourself into the game. I started out just wanting there to be a game, because you can’t play Simon Cowell or throw peanut shells at the contestants or whatever, if there isn’t any game to begin with.  And I think seven contestants had signed up. The deadline was fast approaching – you’d think, with $1000 at stake, more people would at least try. I imagined how disappointed those first contestants would be if the contest got cancelled due to lack of participation!  On August 26, shortly after the contest was announced, I had officially “voted myself off the island” and tried to avoid temptation – but on September 18, I threw my hat in the ring. Actually, I threw it in the ocean and a shark ate it – so if you ever wonder why I’m working so hard to win this thing, it’s because I know there are sharks around the island, and they’re hungry enough to eat hats.

The truth is, once I’m in the game, I’m driven. Several people have remarked on my “intensity” these past few weeks. The only way to explain that is to tell you what my parents told me, growing up: “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

I see writers who don’t submit their work for fear of rejection. What is that, exactly? You fear rejection, so you reject yourself, first – before a publisher can do it to you? What have you got to lose but a little misplaced pride? The writer who risks their pride by sticking a manuscript in the envelope, addressing it to a publisher, and sticking enough stamps on is eventually rewarded. The one who refuses to get in the game can never be.

Are you driven? Or does fear of rejection cause you to reject yourself before you get in the game?


  1. The photo shows Silver Lake, Ohio. That tiny little clump of trees is a man-made island; I've actually had picnic lunches on it. Although the "island" of the Survivor series is usually a jungle fraught with peril, I choose this one to represent the virtual island I hope not to be booted off in the "Surviving the Blog" contest. If you click my name, up there in the byline, you'll find ways you can help keep me from having to swim to shore.

    It's not a long swim, as you can see. Somewhere, in the trees along the short (on the left side of the lake) is where I used to walk my dog and where I started writing stories. The biggest peril on the island that often stimulated my childish imagination was great big black "picnic ants." The kind that can heft a whole sandwich and take it off to parts unknown while you're looking away to be sure your rowboat hasn't drifted off.

    So help me to survive this thing, if you will - as I imagine it's my little island in the middle of Silver Lake.

  2. Nice post, Holly! Curious to see what people think of it.

  3. Me too! :) ("Short" should be "shore" - you can tell my hands are in need of a good ice bath and a nap, can't you?)

  4. I'm amazed you've been able to create so many blog posts. Poor hands.


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