Everyone likes to win. We've all had someone in our lives cheer us on, whether it be in the Arts, Athletics, Academics, or Another Personal Skill. And I'm sure most of you have heard that it's not about winning, but about doing your personal best. Wisdom like this is character building and matures a soul in their journey of life. BUT...
Let's be honest. No one really likes to lose. Coming up short of winning whatever prize you're after can conjure doubt that you have any skill at all, that you should have tried harder, or that - gosh forbid - you shouldn't have tried at all. It can make you question the road you've chosen to even get to this point. The winner's circle possesses a euphoria all its own. And no matter what goal you're chasing after, when you finally catch it and make it heed to your talents you feel like you could fly.
But what do you do with that winning sense, that high that comes with learning you're on top?
Recently, I've been blessed with a bit of winning of my own. As some of you already know, my middle grade novel Motley Education has been named 1st Place Winner 2016 New England Book Festival, Children's Category. (What you don't know yet is that I received an email two days ago informing me that Motley has won another award! I am beyond humbled, but that will be for another post.)
When I learned that Motley had won an award my first reaction was "No way. It must be a typo." I felt incredibly unworthy and, frankly, even embarrassed. Who the heck am I that my work just got recognized? And before you pat me on the back to encourage me, look at yourself. Look how talented you are and all you've accomplished with your writing. How could I compare to that?
This past weekend, my husband and I attended the 2016 New England Book Festival literary awards ceremony held in Boston, MA. Top literature in an array of categories from science and general fiction to young adult and children's books were honored. Winners, runner-ups, and honorable mentions were in attendance as well as publicists and publishers accepting awards on behalf of their authors. Upon accepting their award, authors were inviting to share a bit about their award-winning book and its journey to publication.
I won't tell you about my little acceptance speech. What I want to share with you is something I learned from another author there. She began her speech not about herself or her award-winning book, but about how important it is to embrace and honor the accomplishment. She, too, had felt unworthy like I did and would much rather have swept it under the rug so no one could see it. But she had a wise writing mentor who changed her mind. He told her taking ownership that her work has been recognized above other works in her field will only fuel her confidence to work harder exploring human existence through tales that move the heart, mind, and soul. But to do this, she must give herself permission to embrace the achievement. Let it be the frosting on the literary cake she's already baked and enjoy the dessert. Sure, she'll bake more literary cakes, and sure someone else's work might get recognized over hers. But this one belongs to her. And along with her humbled appreciation and gratitude of the award, she must honor the honor by believing that she is worthy of it. 💖
(The purpose of the IWSG is to share and encourage, posting on the first Wednesday of each month. You'll find writer doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Support and a common understanding spread throughout the group as many fellow writers can relate. Feel free to JOIN in anytime.)