Third Time Is A Charm!

A few nights ago, I was ready to give up on the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I had six posts left to write in three days, and I didn’t think I had it in me to finish. I proclaimed my defeat to my son, who looked at me and said, “I’m not going to let you do that, mom. You have to finish what you started.”

And he was right. Smart kid. Must take after me. 🙂

I’m happy to say that I have finished this blog challenge for the third time. While writing can be a lonely activity sometimes, I know I have many people cheering me on. So, without further ado, there are a few people I want to thank.

Thank you to my family, who reads and comments on my posts and supports my writing. You give me permission to write about everything (to a certain extent), and I appreciate you trusting me with your stories. And thanks for doing the dishes so I can spend more time writing!

Thank you to my friends at Philadelphia Writers Workshop and the Ultimate Blog Challenge community who inspire and encourage me to “blog on.” It is a pleasure and a privilege to be among kind and talented people like yourselves. Special thanks to my writing buddy and accountability partner, Heather. Someday, we will both be published authors; I can feel it!

And thanks to everyone who subscribed to my blog, read them regularly, and/or tweeted them out to their networks. And if you were only able to read one or two posts, I hope you liked them and will come back for more.

This month I tried something new and focused on one topic – my love for books. It turned out I had plenty to say on the subject. While I will return to writing about various topics, books will have more of a presence on my blog to inspire others to read and support their local bookstores.

I have also acquired a regular writing habit and will keep going with more posts all summer long. There is much to write about, and I hope you will be here for it.

In the immortal words of Sylvia Plath,

“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”


Writer or Imposter?

A few months ago, I finished the book “The Power of Writing It Down: A Simple Habit to Unlock Your Brain and Reimagine Your Life.” I gave it two stars on Goodreads and added it to my 2021 Reading Challenge. That’s about as much as I got out of the entire book. I should have realized that when I read the subtitle because that’s all it was — 200 plus pages dedicated to one habit. The habit is to show up and write, and I do that already.

My issue is dealing with imposter syndrome which is loosely defined as doubting my abilities and feeling like a fraud. I am not a published author (yet), but I’ve been a writer all my life. I fight those thoughts daily by continuing to write and – most importantly – hit publish. And I love to read your comments because my biggest hope is what I put out into the world resonates with others. Everyone who comments on these posts helps me build my confidence as a writer. But when I hear crickets (or see no comments), the self-doubt creeps in. So, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who shared their thoughts and posted them for me to see.

Finishing the Ultimate Blog Challenge is a huge boost in battling imposter syndrome. This is my 29th out of 30 posts for this month. I will write one more before the day is done. And, I want to keep the momentum going, so I plan to attend a writers conference in August. And as an added challenge, I’m in the process of writing an essay to try and win a first-time attendee scholarship. If I win, this will be another arrow in my quiver towards feeling like a real writer. And if I lose, I’ll still attend the conference. I know I’ve already earned a spot in the writing community. And by visualizing my future success, I can keep fighting the imposter syndrome that often weighs me down.

How do you deal with imposter syndrome?

*The image in this blog was taken from Grant Snider’s book, “I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf”

Bonus Post – Jeopardy Champions

Last week, I watched the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions. Although it will never be the same after the passing of longtime host Alex Trebek, the thrill of victory hasn’t changed.

This year’s winner, Sam Kavanaugh, is a substitute teacher from Minnesota. He was holding back the tears as the host announced his $250,000 cash prize. I read somewhere that he lost his job during the pandemic, so this win was incredibly bittersweet for him.

His approach to the game was both strategic and courageous. He bet it all on the Daily Doubles and won almost every time. He also started each round at the bottom of the board with the hardest clues. Personally, I love when players never stay in one column for too long. It is much more challenging to answer the $2,000 clues in various subject areas than running the entire category.

Seriously, if you are a librarian or an English lit major, it is a given that you are going to get all the right questions in the Shakespeare category. Where is the fun and element of surprise in that?!

Anyway, back to Mr. Kavanaugh, he was pretty emotional after winning the match against two equally brilliant women. My son, Andrew, and I watched it together, and he asked me why the newly-minted champion was crying. I told him it was because these people train for this show for a long time.

Andrew gave me a strange look because the concept of training for a game show was foreign to him, so I explained.

Auditioning for Jeopardy isn’t like trying to get on The Price is Right. You need more than a fun personality and cute smile to get a spot on Jeopardy. According to Wikipedia, the online test, a 50-question qualifying exam is administered to pre-registered applicants, who have 15 seconds to answer each question. If you pass that test, you get an in-person audition where you answer even more questions and compete against others in a mock-Jeopardy round.

Potential contestants not only need to know random facts in topics from colonial America to world history and pop culture to science and medicine, but they also need to access all of that information within seconds. It is a sprint and a marathon at the same time.

Basically, to get on this game show, you have to be a hard-core trivia buff. These people are usually longtime fans of the show. They have the home game and the app. Friends and family at home support them and help them practice. I know this firsthand because when I was younger, my family helped one of my dad’s friends train, and he went on to become a five-time Jeopardy champion. He thanked us on national television, which was very nice of him.

As you can tell, I’m a fan of the show. When I watch with Andrew, I answer a good amount of questions, and he is impressed. I chalk this up to my age and interest in lots of different topics. But I’m no Jeopardy player. I’ll stick to holding my own in a trivia tournament.

Anyway, congratulations to Sam Kavanaugh. Your performance was a joy to watch and well-deserved.




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