I’ve never been much of a gambler, but my mom always told me if you don’t roll the dice, you’ll never win. I apply this sage wisdom to everything I’m passionate about in life, most importantly—writing. When I first dived into the game around 17, I wasn’t sure how to maneuver and I needed a push.
Long before the hashtag #ShootYourShot became popular on Twitter, I was shooting my shot left and right. I was trying to get with girls, applying to college, creating art with sheer ambition. I took a step back and shot from eighty feet out, sending some of my early scribblings to a few writers I admired. In retrospect it was a little ballsy and stupid. However, these writers read my short stories and gave me the push I needed to continue shooting wild shots.
I began submitting my stories to a bunch of different magazines and anthos. Despite the heap of rejections I received, I stayed persistent and continued sending my stories out and slowly, but surely acceptances trickled in. This spurred me to take much crazier shots, hitting up publishers and pitching books. Much like my short stories, this was very hit and miss. Still, the shots I made were incredible (in my head at least). This led to getting my first book Notes from the Guts of a Hippo published along with a few bigger short story sales and a little more confidence under my belt.
More often than not, I feel like a lot of us creative types become too comfortable in certain communities. Some of us even settle into the small press scene thinking we’re not good enough to hang with the big dogs. Fuck that. I’ve never been one to rest on my laurels and just accept where I’m at. It’s time we get up and shoot for something larger than ourselves.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about sending your short story to a huge magazine or submitting your weird hybrid novel to that one publisher (you know the one). You’ve been thinking about pitching a novel to a book agent for years. Why not shoot your shot? The worst that can happen is he or she says no. Just shrug it off like Kanye, reassess the game-plan and keep charging forward. Best case scenario? They say yes, and you can finally pop that champagne and eat that slice of cheesecake while you relish your victory.
Celebs constantly hop into people’s DMs on social media only to get shot down, ignored, and ridiculed. But there are times it works out and they get the green light they’ve been looking for. Why not shoot your shot and get that fat royalty check. I’ll be right behind you whispering… take that shot.
Grant Wamack is a hip hop artist & Bizarro Fiction author.