DAY #24: A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

So, it’s Day 24 of this 30-day writing challenge.  I am sitting here at my kitchen table writing before my family wakes up.  My mind is swirling from the events of yesterday and I’m brooding because I should be happy.  But I’m not.

For those of you who haven’t missed what is essentially a neon sign on the front page of this blog, my article was published on Scary Mommy yesterday morning.  You can check it out here, if you haven’t already read it:

It was the first time that I’ve had anything published on such a huge web site.  I mean, this parenting website has over 1.3 million followers.  So when my husband announced in the wee hours of the morning that my article was live, I FREAKED OUT.

OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG.  My stomach churned.  I felt like hurling, even though I hadn’t eaten anything.  You’d think that I would have been happy, and a part of me was, but the overwhelming emotion was Panic.  With a capital P.  Nothing but panic.

I raced downstairs to my laptop, flipped it open and stared at the screen.  OMG.  The title is wrong.  They have the wrong title.  It’s reading “Being The Daughter of Foreigners” instead of “I Am The Daughter of Foreigners.”  OH MY GOD, THE ARTICLE IS MESSED UP!!!!  IT’S A SIGN.  IT’S A VERY BAD SIGN THAT I SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE THIS.  THE UNIVERSE IS TELLING ME TO PUT THE KIBASH ON THIS RIGHT NOW.

As I frantically typed an e-mail to Scary Mommy to point out this disaster, I thought, I don’t want to do this anymore.  This is horrible.  Even though this has been my goal for the past year, I don’t want this anymore.  What if no one reads it?  What if I only get 20 views and they’re from my friends?  Or worse, what if people read it and they hate it?  What if I get 1,000 views and only 20 LIKES?  That’s WORSE.  MUCH, MUCH WORSE.

Oh, MY GOD.  Someone made a comment.  My first comment on my first published work.  AND IT’S NEGATIVE.  This person told me that I should have used the word “bigot” instead of the word “racist.”  I’m a writer.  I should have known that.  And it’s the first comment.  Now anyone who goes to post a comment will see that comment first.  It clearly points out my error.

I seriously just wanted to cry.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  It’s too hard.  I can’t deal with it anymore.  Let me go back to just writing for myself and to hell with putting anything I write out for people to view.  I’m done with this.  It hurts too much.

Fortunately, or maybe not so fortunately, a pesky little thing called parenting intervened.  I had to tear myself away from the train wreck that started in the comments section to get my kids ready before dropping off my son at school.  I was dying to look at my phone, but was forced to actually get things done the entire morning.

Hours later, when I returned to the computer, I was relieved to discover that there were more positive comments.  In fact, as I scrolled through the comments section, I would have to say that over 95% of the comments were positive.  By the end of the evening, I had received more than 1,100 “Likes” on FB.  Since I was hoping to get into the 100’s, I should have been happy about it.

But I wasn’t.  And I’m still not.  I’m consumed by a malaise that I’m struggling to understand.  There were 3-4 negative comments, two of which were ultimately deleted.  If I was still in school, I should still receive an “A” for this post.

So why are the handful of negative comments bothering me?  I fully expected that I would get verbally torpedoes.  This piece talks about immigrants, so OF COURSE, there will be negative comments.  I even planned my approach for dealing with trolls.

I think what got to me is the hatred that fairly oozed from one comment.  It just makes me sad that such ugliness exists in this world.  Especially when I have two small children.  I want them to have a beautiful life, and how can they when such people exist?

But I’m hoping that in this world, the compassionate people outnumber the cruel people.  Like on this article.  Over 1,100 Likes vs. 3-4 Mean Comments.  Kindness won in this chapter of my story.  Hopefully, over time, kindness will win in the world’s story.

DAY #16: A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was check my email.  This single action could be the focus of an entire blog post about screen time addicts, but I digress.  I checked my inbox and was surprised to discover a message from the website Nugget Tales.  It contained the following message:

[New post on Nugget Tales] Shivani Roy and The Demon King of Lanka

Another piece here from a brand new writer, this is an excerpt from a novel they are working on and they would really appreciate some feedback from our readers. We hope you enjoy it!


I stared at the screen in shock.  OH MY GOD!  THAT’S MY STORY!!!!  I knew that it was supposed to appear sometime in October, but I still wasn’t prepared for the surprise.  I would have shrieked, if not for the fact that the house was quiet.

I clicked the link to Nugget Tales and to my incredible delight, saw my story PUBLISHED LIVE ON THEIR SITE.  For a few moments, I just sat in the dark, basking in the glow of that incredible screen image.  Someone actually thought enough of my story to post it on their site.  Unreal.

After a few minutes, my husband walked into the room to inform me that the kids were up and saw me just sitting on the bed and staring.  He beamed when I told him the news, hugged me and said, “Congratulations!  I’m so proud of you!  You’re a published author now.”

I pushed him back and automatically replied, “No, I’m not.”

He looked at me strangely and tilted his head towards the screen.  “Isn’t that your story?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Isn’t it posted on that website?”

“Yes,” I said hesitantly.

He shrugged.  “Then you’re a published author to me.”

I didn’t argue with him, but had trouble accepting his words as truth.  Which is why I’m writing this post.  I have it in my head that to be considered a “published author,” I must have a published book or be a regular writing contributor to a large website.

So, is this my own personal issue?  Or do other people share my views?  What does a writer have to do to be considered a “Published Author?”

I recently read an article on Kristen Lamb’s blog about women not “owning” their achievements.  Men own their achievements, while women minimize them.  Is this my problem?  Is it because I’m female that I feel so insecure about owning this title?

After struggling with this internal debate all afternoon, I finally updated my LinkedIn profile with the following title:  “Published Author.”  I still feel guilty about putting it up there.  I have this image in my head that people will see it, roll their eyes and snicker about it.  But I’m going to try and own it.  We shall see.