When I was seven years old I won first prize on the Morris B. Sachs Amateur Hour, a local ABC television production in my hometown of Chicago. I sang "Chocolate Ice Cream Cone" and I wore my Bluebird uniform since the contestants on the show were all Camp Fire Girls. My award was a cash payment of $75 and a Gruen wristwatch engraved on the back "First prize winner, Morris B. Sachs Amateur Hour, 1950." When I returned to the show to compete with finalists from the the show's winners for the entire season, I lost. It must not have disappointed me too much. Throughout my life I still entered all kinds of contests and competitions, some of which I won and some of which I lost. I was a finalist for homecoming queen but not voted into the court. I lost every year I tried out for cheerleading except one year in middle school. In my senior year I won the lead role in my school musical but only after several rejections in prior years. And on and on.
They say that to be a writer you have to have a tough skin. I can attest to that. I have a drawer full of rejections. But I've had some successes too of which I am very proud.
In my old age, I am still entering contests and over the past year submitted three applications for my writing. I was chosen to be a finalist in one category. The winner is still to be announced. I have to admit that I was disappointed that I did not win in at least one of the other two categories, but I've learned through the years "you win some and you lose some." My husband's favorite saying is one by Winston Churchill that goes "Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
Mimi Pockross is the author of three books, most recently Pulling Harvey Out of Her Hat: The Amazing Story of Mary Coyle Chase.
Find out more about her at mimipockross.com