On a whim, I entered that novel in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I figured: why not? It's a free contest, I qualify, and I have this novel just sitting here staring at me. When I survived the first round of cuts, I was pretty happy. When I survived the second round, becoming a quarter-finalist, I was ecstatic. I mean, it put me in the top 5% of entrants. That's a big deal, right? The semifinalists were announced this morning, and I spent all night giving myself pep talks about getting cut: I made it to the top 250 out of 5000, got three good independent reviews, and a lot of encouragement from family and friends along the way. That's enough, right? I just about had myself convinced that it was when the list was posted, and I was shocked to see my name on it. So, just like that, I went from feeling happy with my quarter-finalist status, to seeing an actual possibility of winning the thing. I'm this close to having every career dream I've ever had come true. That's a lot to carry. So today I've been in a daze, checking the list repeatedly to make sure I wasn't dreaming (yep, I'm still there), and learning to believe in myself in a whole new way. I know winning would be a ridiculous long-shot, and I'm being realistic about it. I'm so glad to have made it this far. Being one of 50 left in the contest that started with 5000, that's a big accomplishment. But I'm also starting to see that this little dream of mine, of raising the best two little girls in the world while writing all day, it might just become a reality some day.
I'll have to remember to share that with them on a regular basis. Keep dreaming girls, and dream big. Because you just never know what's possible until you put yourself out there.