Monday, March 14, 2011

Confidently Stupid?

My wonderful friend Dora, who is also a writer, reminded me last week about the SCBWI grants and wanted to know if I was going to apply for one.

It took me a day or two to check out the website to remind myself what the grants were for, but after looking through the requirements and checking through my folders for material that I might have ready to go, I decided to go for it.

Deadline: March 15. No exceptions. Mailed applications only.

I finished polishing on Friday night. Saturday morning I printed off my application form. Bundled a screaming baby into the car to the printers and then the post office, only to realize both were closed on Saturdays. (I thought post offices were open half-days on Saturdays, but I guess that was before the recession?)

After the printer and post office disappointment, I wondered, should I even bother entering? I had Monday. I could still overnight the material to California and make the deadline.

I made my photocopies at church on Sunday. Sunday night I looked into UPS costs.

Thirty dollars for their cheapest next-day service.

I asked the Dashingly Handsome Sidekick what he thought about me spending thirty bucks on getting a grant application in on time. He's such a nice husband, he said it was okay.

Today, I walked down to the hardware store where they accept UPS packages and found out they don't have a morning pick-up time, only an afternoon. Which would make the cheapest overnight cost fifty dollars.

I hesitated. Of course I did. Fifty bucks and no guarantee I was going to get this grant.

But I went for it.

Call me confident. Call me stupid. I don't know which I am. My stomach was in knots all the way home over what I'd just done. I knew spending that money might be comparable to throwing a fifty dollar bill in the toilet bowl and flushing it down. As I walked, I thought of all the other things I could have spent that money on. It was a painful walk home.

But I'd come so far and invested so much valuable time, part of me felt there was no turning back.

Have you been in this same type of situation before? Give me some perspective. How did it turn out for you? I don't mind hearing the bad outcomes as well as the good.


  1. Good luck Amy! I've rented an agent's ear for $75 before. Didn't get me an agent, but it was a good experience!

    "good experience" definition- an experience that didn't live up to your wildest dreams and you tell yourself has given you deeper self knowledge, such as how you deal with rejection.

  2. Good luck! And good for you. I think sometimes investing the money makes us realize how important this is to us. Motivates us to write more and work harder at it.

    Kudos to you for taking the plunge!

  3. Good for you, Amy! When you think of all the useless things we spend money on, $50 toward your dream is not being frivolous. Think of how much taking the kids to McDonald's costs nowadays.

    Even though there aren't guarantees, you'll never know unless you take a chance. Good luck! I hope you get that grant!

  4. For next time - go to to print postage, and you can mail things whether or not the post office is open. Plus keep USPS Priority Mail envelopes around the house - they are flat rate and you can cram a lot of pages in there, for less than $5. Or even Express Mail envelopes.

    But if you hadn't spent the money, you would have always wondered what would have happened if you had mailed it ...

  5. This will make a great "before I was published" story! When you're speaking at conferences people will laugh with you at this story.

    Faith is a beautiful thing. No matter what, you won't have to wonder "what if." You went for it, and that takes guts.

    Good luck!

  6. I've never done this, but what a great opportunity! Your dream is worth so much more than 50 dollars! =) Your worth it.

  7. Boy- I hope you get it! And you know- sometimes spending your money on stuff like that is OK, especially when it's once in a blue moon. Also- it's not that easy to jump into the water on stuff like that. :)

  8. Good for you. It is an investment in you & your writing - even if just the mental accumulation of feeling like you and your work are worth it. :)

  9. It certainly sounds like an expensive delivery service but you really did have to go for it. Like they say, you have to speculate to accumulate. I wish you loads of luck. You will let us know the outcome, won't you?

  10. The adventure of getting an app out of your hands is part of the journey. Follow-up is the other part. Good luck!

  11. If you don't get the grant this year, it will be much easier for you to apply next time. And I second what Julie said. It makes a great story. I wish you the best of luck!


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