Phone Calls Good, Emails Bad

During the first part of this year, I entered a bunch of contests covering the different types of storytelling I enjoy: film festivals, a script competition, short story contests, and various programs based on the first chapter of my novel. In some strange convergence of cosmic coincidence, all those contests notified their entrants this past week. Email after email landed in my inbox: We’re sorry to inform you, but . . . . It got to the point where I was doing a Pavlovian cringe each time my email dinged with a new message, dreading the next rejection.
But in the middle of all that, I got a phone call. An amazing phone call. The best phone call of my writing life to date. Possibly the best phone call of my life period (although some of those calls from boys in high school were pretty darn exciting).
It was SCBWI calling to tell me I’d won their Work-In-Progress Grant for Contemporary Novel for Young People.
Now that’s a mouthful to say, so let me break it down for you: SQUUUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!
Ahem, what I actually meant to say is that SCBWI stands for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and every year they award a number of grants to help writers and illustrators complete a specific project in order ‘to encourage continuing excellence in the creation of children’s literature.’ And based on the first chapter and synopsis of my WIP, they picked my novel!! It’s currently called The Drama Queen Who Cried Wolf, although its previous title was The Hunt.
I couldn’t believe it. I think I asked versions of “Are you serious?” and “Are you kidding me?” at least four times before it finally sunk in. And then this happened:
Kristen Bell's reaction to a sloth
I turned into a ridiculously happy, sobbing mess. I’m not even sure what happened during the rest of the phone call. Immediately afterwards I tried to tell my parents, but I was crying so hard they thought someone had died.
Pretty quickly, though, the tears turned into this:
Kermit the Frog flailing
It’s been over a week since I found out, and I still have to restrain myself from running around the house flailing my arms when I think about it. I couldn’t share the news publically until the official announcement from SCBWI, but it’s now officially official: click here to see that I didn’t imagine it.
I’m actually relieved to see it in black and white – a part of me was worried it was a fever dream or a trick of my overactive imagination brought on by too many rejections. Another thing that made it feel amazingly real? The check arriving in the mail:
Jocelyn with check from SCBWI
I can’t thank SCBWI enough for organizing such fantastic grant program – huge cheers to everyone involved. And I’m so grateful to the judges who saw promise in my project and selected me. It’s been a wonderful boost to my writing confidence at a point when I really needed it. Also, I’m sending giant-crushing-thank-you hugs to everyone who has advised and supported me through the endless honing, revising, and tweaking of my first chapter – it made all the difference. Thank you!
And now I’m off to plan my Caribbean vacation. I’m kidding! Maybe. 


Leah Rhyne's picture

CONGRATS!!!!! Doing a Muppet Dance for you!!!!

Natalie Aguirre's picture

Yay! A huge congrats! That's such awesome news. I'm SO, SO excited for you.

Michelle's picture

I'm sooooo excited for you! *does the happy dance*
What an opportunity!

Medeia sharif's picture

That is awesome. Congratulations!!!

S.K. Falls's picture

OMG!!!!!!!!!! I'm so, soooo happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats, Jocelyn!! You totally, totally deserve it--now get writing!!!! :D :D :D :D

Lexa Cain's picture

How exciting!!! This is great news,and I'm so happy for you!!!!!! :-)

Elizabeth Twist's picture

Congratulations!!! This is wonderful news. Good on ya for applying and having an awesome proposal.

Topangarose's picture

Joce, I'm so happy for you! That's the most exciting new. You deserve all the props you get, you are so talented!!


SameeraS's picture

Wow! Congratulations! I'm happy for you. After the rain comes the sunshine!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Thank you, everyone! I still can't believe it - my arm is now bruised from continually pinching myself. :-)

Topangarose's picture

That's HUGE! So happy for you! Now when can we read it?

Rebecca Petruck's picture

Wahoo! So happy for you! And the award is well deserved--I can't wait until TDQWCW is done and hitting agents' inboxes! Kermit flail!

kathleen duey's picture

YAY and other loud happy noises!!!! And more YAY!! This is wonderful news. You have worked hard and earned both the prize and the encouragement. Thanks for the kind words about my critique/ means a lot to me. Please put me on the list to know when it is available to read!!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

And more thank yous! I so appreciate the kind words!

Beth Swann's picture

That's soooooo cool!!!!! I'm thrilled! Next thing you know, we'll see your book up on the shelves at Barnes and Noble!!! WOW!

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