Back before we went to Scotland, my biggest stress was finishing my short story for the Writer's Digest 2010 competition. I'd been going over and over it, getting advice from fellow writers and family (with backgrounds in writing/literature), and generally working myself into a tizzy about it. With the deadline approaching (May 14) and my self-confidence lacking, I got the following daily horoscope update which was exactly what I needed to hear.
"Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 -- You are determined to get what you want, but you could become your own greatest obstacle if you allow your fear of failure to run the show now. Your anxiety can increase your stress levels and instead of remaining flexible enough to respond to changes, you may begin to shut down emotionally. But you can ease your tension by simply reminding yourself that worrying won't help you be more successful. Each moment today is an opportunity for you to choose flexibility over stubbornness."
So I took the proverbial chill-pill and worked my butt off to finish it. On May 13, 2010 I submitted the story and have been (with the exception of during our trip) thinking about it ever since. The results won't be out until late October and surely my worrying will subside by then...I hope.
A big thanks go out to Ron Wodaski, Tara Watson, and Isabelle Whitman for critiquing the story for me.