Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Okay, I gotta admit right off the bat – I stole the title of this blog post. Chip McGregor http://www.macgregorliteracy.com/ has a weekly blog that I subscribe to via email, and this title made a very eye-catching subject line in my inbox last week. It was actually for his annual “Bad Poetry Contest,” which is always a lot of fun.

Chip’s email preceded an email announcement of the winners of the Novice Writing Contest http://www.thewordguild.com/ and that was shortly followed by the announcement of the shortlist of winners for the Canadian Christian Writing Awards http://www.canadianchristianwritingawards.com/ .

So what do you think about contests?
And how do you feel in general about winning and losing?
Do you think competition is a good thing – a Christian thing?

I’ve been on both sides of the contest arena – both as a judge and as a contestant. And I honestly don’t know which one is more difficult – or more rewarding.

It’s a very difficult thing to make a decision that you know will affect someone’s future in a profound way. As so many judges say, I too often lament, “They are all winners. All of them deserve a prize.” And I want to say to all the writers: “Don’t give up! Keep on writing!”

I’ve also won awards in previous years and been shortlisted several times. And I wonder why some of my books and articles are chosen over others. And how does this affect my life as a writer – as a follower of Christ?

Simply put, it doesn’t.

Winning or losing on this earthly stage is “small potatoes” compared to winning or losing on the heavenly stage. And what keeps me going day by day and minute by minute as an author is not whether I’ve won or lost an award or had a book proposal accepted or rejected. It can’t be – or I’d go crazy! Because the life of an author, perhaps more than any other vocation, is a constant mix of rejections and acclamations.

For those of you who didn’t win the Novice Writing Contest and who were not shortlisted for the Canadian Writing Awards, I want to tell you to “hang in there” – to not give up. And to tell you that it never really does get easier. There will always be rejections of one sort or another mixed in amongst the acclamations. And as an author, you just really have to “go with the flow.” And keep remembering why you chose to pick up a pen in the first place.

You have a story. It is a story that only you can tell. No other author, no matter how famous, can do the job that you are being asked to do. Tell your story. Listen to those around you who offer advice. Pay attention to the judges, the editors and the book reviewers. But don’t allow their opinions to cause you to throw up your hands and quit.
The number one characteristic of a successful author is not talent but perseverance. Don’t give up!

Dorene Meyer

Author of The Little Ones

Shortlisted for Canadian Writing Awards: General Readership
Shortlisted for Canadian Writing Awards: Independently Published Fiction
Shortlisted for Canadian Writing Awards: Mystery/Suspense

Author of Jasmine
Now in book stores across Canada

Both books distributed by Word Alive Press http://www.wordalivepress.ca/.

Available also on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ (key in title of book and publisher: Word Alive Press).


Peter Black said...

Congratulations! Dorene, on your placements and awards in writing.
And thank you for these wise and very encouraging perspectives on how to respond to the results of writing contests.

Anonymous said...

No rejection slip or being left off a short list will stop me from writing, for writing is something I must do.

It's nice to know people have been helped, encouraged or enabled by what I write, but even the lack of those incentives wouldn't keep me from writing.

However I must admit a great puzzlement as to what makes a winner and what doesn't. I'd like to think content,good writing and a story line that not only appeals to people but is helpful would be the criteria. Does it all hinge on the judge's personal preferences? Is there only one judge for each category?

I won't quit writing, but I may quit submitting to contests.

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