Congratulations to Melissa Giebler for Winning the December 2023 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The challenge was to write an essay that answered this prompt:

If you could be granted one wish this month as it relates to your writing career, what would it be and why?

Melissa shared a relatable story about a struggle nearly all writers face. Enjoy her winning submission:

One Wish Granted

This Christmas, I wish for courage. Courage to hit the “send” button on my computer screen upon completing my writing assignment.

You see… I have spent hours on writing courses. Blood, sweat, and tears poring over exercises (which to my surprise were enjoyable). It sounds silly, I know, to put in time and do the work, only to do nothing with the assignment.

I wait. Sit on it. Then wait some more. I’m not sure what it is I’m waiting for. Once I click “send,” it’s done! It’s out there.

Aha! That’s it! That is the very thought that freaks me out. Next come the what-ifs.

All the what-ifs that go through my mind. What if it’s not good enough? What if I didn’t spend enough time perfecting it? What if I never get feedback? How will I know what I did wrong, or right? Oh, the what-ifs that hold me back.

Well… what if this time I make it playful.

It would go something like this: With childlike wonder I gaze into Santa’s eyes. “I wish for courage, Santa. Courage to send my writing. The very thought of sending my work shakes me to the core!”

Santa’s eyes so big and bright gaze into mine. “Why do you assume you don’t have courage? Courage is a gift all of us possess. It’s in you, just as it is in me. You need to believe.” His encouraging and thoughtful words make me feel as if anything is possible. No mountain too high!

“Oh, Melissa… do you not know the heart of the season is the magic of believing? If you believe, anything is possible. Believe that the words you write have what your audience needs. Think of sending your work as if you already knew you’d be okay regardless of the outcome. You will be okay!

“We learn and grow from stepping out of our comfort zones and doing the one thing we fear. We might feel afraid. Even so, to succeed is to do the thing you fear anyway.

“The very meaning of courage: the ability to do something that frightens one.

“So even when fear is knocking on your door, shouting ‘NO, STOP!,’ go for it, Melissa. Do it afraid. Then watch fear run away. Suddenly, it won’t have a hold on you.

“I encourage you today to just send it! Send it, because relief and satisfaction will come whirling in. Think about how good you will feel, and the sense of pride for following through. You’ll discover there was nothing to be afraid of after all.”

Then with a wink of an eye, and a whisper I hear, “Have a very Merry Christmas!”