Every day, I watch the Discover feed. If you’re a WordPress blogger, I bet you watch the Discover feed as well. It’s an envy-fest. The blogs featured are beautiful. The photographs unique and glowing. Who takes such extraordinary photos, I ask myself. Who writes so perfectly?
I read the featured blogs and I think that Discover is out of my league. I could never be so ‘put together’ as my mother would say. Never have the scarf that brings out the color in my face or the shoes that finish my outfit.
I once had a blog post that was featured on Freshly Pressed. It was a piece written in response to a Daily Post prompt asking “How will you stay young at heart?” My piece, called “You’re Asking the Wrong Question” was plucked by a WordPress editor and featured on Freshly Pressed. The editor sent me an email telling me it was going to be published which I read while standing at the counter to pay my bill at the dentist’s office. I yelped. Right there, while the clerk stared at me. Of course, then I wrote about being Freshly Pressed. Who could resist?
When Discover replaced Freshly Pressed, I figured I was done for. So I watched and waited for a good long while. And then I started submitting. I submitted several pieces before Book Mark was chosen. This is a piece that I wrote with the intention of submitting it to Discover. It is about my fumbling, ill-conceived efforts to extend sympathy to friends who had lost their children to suicide. I thought it had a message, a piece of knowledge that I’d acquired the hard way. It said something that meant something. So I wanted it to have a decent audience. Beyond my blog.
Here’s what it’s like to be featured on Discover:
- Wonderful – The feeling of having a piece featured as an Editor’s Pick is delicious and sustaining. This is especially true if it comes after several pieces that were not selected. It’s extraordinary to be in such well-tailored company.
- Rewarding – Writing is about connecting to people. When that happens, it’s amazing. People’s comments to my Book Mark piece told of their own grief experiences and their own awkward efforts to be present and authentic.
- Challenging – If you’re a writer, you have to try. Risk is what makes writing clean and sharp. Submitting to Discover involves risk – not that one would be rejected but that one would be published. The thrill of writing comes in the daring, the exposure, the loss of protection.
Of my father’s many sayings, the majority of which became meaningful only years after his death, one of my favorites is this: People make their own luck.
And the people who make their own luck have to, first and foremost, believe in their right to be lucky. They have to believe in themselves, believe in their product. In the case of writers, they have to believe in what they’ve written. That sounds so simple but I know firsthand that many of us simultaneously love our writing and believe it’s not good enough. We wear it on our sleeves and then put on an overcoat. Our ambivalence makes us dear, sweet, and small. And comfortable. Did I say comfortable?
I don’t want to be comfortable. I want my sweater to make me itch. I want to fidget in my seat. I want to worry about what is showing. I want to wear my mistakes like a necklace.That is what it’s like to be featured on Discover.