Girls Write Out
Thursday, April 20, 2006

Since this is the day after the Genesis Contest finalists were announced, I thought it a good time to talk about contests.

No doubt those of you who have finaled celebrated last night and went to bed with happy thoughts.

Those of you who entered but did not final most likely overdozed on M&Ms last night (you know who you are) and you're wondering if you will ever write another word--well, other than the grocery list.

Contests and I have this sort of love/hate thing going on.

I LOVE the idea of winning. Entering is scary, but boy, if I could only win! Dream bubbles of trophies, Hollywood movie contracts, and lifetime supplies of chocolate dance in my head.

And I HATE the idea of waiting—the red splotchy hives, the lost sleep, chocolate binges, biting my nails down to stubs, and screaming every time the telephone rings.

This year I entered my first contest—Colleen made me. And yes, I admit it. I’m a chicken. I absolutely HATE to put myself out there. But I have to admit once I did, it felt good that I took that step, you know?

And the really cool part is I totally forgot about it after that. Oh, it wasn’t on purpose. I just didn’t figure I had a prayer of finaling, so it slipped my mind. Well, Colleen already told you the story of how we found out about finaling in the Holt Medallion Contest and how fun all that was. But everybody’s different. Some people work hard at getting their stuff out there, and other people, like me, struggle to set their baby free for the judges’ eyes.

Still, one thing I know. Every step in this journey takes you that much closer to publication. Doesn’t matter if you win the contests or not—though it’s fun if you do and disappointing if you don’t—bottom line is we have to do the work. I know you’ve heard me quote Derrick Johnson before when he said, “Excellence is doing the best you can, with what you have, every chance you get.” If you’ve done that, then you can be proud, no matter what.

So ditch the bag of M&Ms (if it's empty), and get your patooti back at the computer. One day of wallowing is all you're allowed. You can do this! Persistence and a hefty supply of chocolate? That's how to make it in this business! :-)

Diann Hunt  
posted at 6:54 AM  
  Comments (12)
Delicious Delicious
At 11:11 AM, Blogger Kristin Billerbeck said...

I rarely enter contests. Not because I care if I win, but because I don't care if I lose, so why spend the money? But if I were still unpubbed, the feedback is really interesting. You can get all fives on a book, and then some ones. And you know? That is the real world. People can love and hate the same book. I think writing is not a destination, but a journey, so good for you for the encouragement, Diann. As a published author, you know, you never really get to the destination. It's like a rainbow.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I like the challenge of entering a contest. I'm an eternal optimist--hey,I just might get a call that livens up the week. Sitting in the chair writing all day can get old. We writers need SOMETHING to spice things up. Even a rejection is okay because I TRIED. There's nothing worse to my mind than not trying. Be like Nike and JUST DO IT!

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Great post! Loved it. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," is a maxim my mother raised me on. So I always TRY things, even if I fail. My novella in Church in the Wildwood (Barbour 4-in-1) won Third Place in ACFW 2004 Book of the Year Contest (novella category), which was such an honor for me.

Sir Winston Churchill said, "Victory is never final. Failure is never fatal. What counts is the courage to continue on."

Keep trying, is my mantra.

I like the way you put it:
"Persistence and a hefty supply of chocolate? That's how to make it in this business! :-)"

Ooh, I just love that! That's going in my quote file. :)

However, I've been heeding that "maxim" too, and my backside now looks like two giant M&Ms!!!

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Hilarious, Kristy! I can relate too--but what a way to go!

You guys have so inspired me, shoot, I'm looking for another contest!!

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Cara Putman said...

As one who didn't final :-), thanks for the encouragement. Now I'm more determined than ever to move on to the next project -- and I can't wait for the feedback. I hope I get at least one kernal which will make the manuscript I entered better and trickle over to my other projects. That alone will make the proces worth it! And several good friends did final, so I get to rejoice in their good news! Though do I still get to be a member of the club if I reached for a bowl of homemade tapioca rather than chocolate :-)

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

Okay, I admit, I love contests....judging them, entering them, coordinating them. I think it's one of the few times you can get a lot of feedback for a low cost. And a final and/or win? Wow, that's a rush!

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Honestly, Cara, Tapioca? That's the best you can do? LOL!

You get crackin', girl, I've NO DOUBT your time is coming!!!

Besides, I can't handle the thought of you doing that tapioca thing again.

You're right, Robin, contests do offer a lot for the brave-hearted! Congrats, by the way!!

At 2:28 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

I've never finished a work. I always write myself into a corner or get tired of my characters...OR I realize that I hadn't thought out a plot simply because I just wanted to WRITE.

I started a new one yesterday, and I guess each time I start one I always think, "Is this THE ONE?!" Your post was encouraging and made me want to get my butt in gear! Watch out, here I come!

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

On second thought, maybe my backside looks like two big honeybuns. Remember that commercial? It was hilarious.

I love this maxim which is true for me:

Late to bed,
Early to rise,
Dulls the brain,
And bags the eyes.


I just wrote this one, poor writing though it is:

Slave at the keyboard,
With a snack at your side,
You're liable to end up with,
A huuuuugggggggge backside!


At 3:33 PM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

Well, Kristy, I can't blame it on writing. I had a huge backside way before I began.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Kayla, you can do it! So maybe we'll see your name on the contest list next year!

Kristy when I read your little poem, I shoved my snack away from the computer, in case you were watching . . . .

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Chaos-Jamie said...

M&M's? No that disappointment sent me straight to the ice cream section. Dove Unconditional Chocolate, anyone?

The really crummy thing is that I USED to get good feedback on these same pages and now? (big sucking sound) I've edited so much, I think the life is sucked right out of it.

Next project.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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