Friday, January 23, 2015

Winning Isn't Everything But It Sure Is Something

If Adele can do it, so can you!
During a discussion about the importance of entering writing contests last night at my *local writer's meeting, a dignified, silver-haired fellow named Lou spoke up.

In all earnestness (and with a telltale twinkle in his eye), Lou posed the following scenario: "I won a chicken sandwich gift card in the **Fla Inspirational Writers Retreat story contest last fall; can I now call myself an award-winning author?"

The vote was unanimous: Absolutely!

So why is it such a big deal? Who really cares if you have that little phrase after your name ... award-winning author?

You care. And yes, it is a big deal.

That powerful little phrase is not only an eye-opener, it's a door-opener. When people - especially prospective publishers looking at your new manuscript, and perusing readers considering whether to invest precious hours of their time in your book - see that three-word-proof of the excellent quality of your work, they'll be changed by it. They'll suddenly see the words you've written through a lens of respect and high expectations. Your work has become elevated in their perception to that of other award-winners: Dickens, Fitzgerald, Patterson.

But even more importantly, your own standard is raised. You begin perceiving yourself as a real writer, and tackle your next project with a new confidence. A new level of professionalism. And it shows. Editors will notice. Readers will notice. Your work will improve and keep on improving. The sky's the limit!

So keep writing. Keep submitting. Keep entering contests. A chicken sandwich gift card is only the beginning, my friend! Your next award might be silver and shiny with your name engraved on it.

*If you live in the Tampa area, we'd love to have you join us for our monthly Brandon Christian Writers group. We're about 25 of the friendliest, encouraging, chocolate-loving folks you'll ever meet. All experience levels and genres of inspirational writing are represented: fiction, non-fiction, adult, YA, children's writers, humor, fantasy, women's books, devotionals, self-help ... you name it. More info, meeting time and location here:

**If you'd like to try your hand at winning your very own chicken sandwich (Chick-fil-a, YUM!), seriously consider attending the Fla Inspirational Writer's Retreat this year on Oct 3 in Lithia, Fl (I'm co-director). It's very affordable but scholarships are available if that's an issue for you. More info here:

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Adventures

Chasing the sunrise on an exciting adventure
The past week has been one chockfull of good news. This, of course, happens far too rarely, that I receive word even one exciting twist has torqued in my writing journey, much less two.

What a red letter week!

The first tiding of great joy was the official notification that my book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, won an Illumination Book Award for Exemplary Christian Books.

One response sums that up: Hallelujah!

The next splendid news was that there will be a Too Blessed to be Stressed 2016 Planner to follow the 2014 and 2015 planners already published. Yay, God! Yay, Barbour! Yay, editors with foresight! Now I have something positive to say to the fine folks who have been contacting me, frustrated that they missed out on the 2015 Planner that was sold out before the year ... hold tight! Another will be coming down the chute soon (early fall, I think), and this one will have lots of new encouragement and scriptures from my other books in the "Take On Life" series, as well as from Too Blessed to be Stressed. 

Oh, and one other tidbit that thrilled me to my socks, although it happened about two weeks before my red letter week. My editor informed me that Too Loved to be Lost, my newest book in the series, will be turned into a hardcover journal like the Too Blessed to be Stressed Journal that's now being carried by Cracker Barrel and Barnes and Noble.

I can't believe how popular journals are right now - I walked into a B & N the other day and was stunned to see three walls completely full of journals. Mama mia. I guess lots of people have lots of introspection to document. That's gotta be a good thing, right?

So I'm starting the new year in a purple haze of gratitude. I am so deeply thankful for these new writing adventures opening up before me and pray that I'll do Papa God proud for entrusting me with these unexpected blessings.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my good news with you, dear writerly friend. And please feel free to reciprocate when you receive your own good news - Ill be more than happy to rejoice with you!