Well, that has been my recent experience. I wasn’t the writer who had won things for my writing when I was a teen or had ever been pointed out in college as having written an excellent essay. Until this year, I was still feeling on shaky ground as to whether I could “do” this writing thing. People said they liked my work and I did have 5 star reviews but still, I wasn’t sure. I decided to enter a contest. It was almost on a whim. I saw an ad to enter and had debated about it for a while and then one day, I just took the leap.
I entered two of my books in several different categories that I thought they best fit into and then I waited. It was 5 months before they were going to announce the winners. I wrote it on my calendar and said a silent prayer. When that day came, there was no email in my inbox. I was disheartened but I thought I would go check out the winners. I went to the website and started scrolling through the list. There was my book in 2nd place! Later, I read that they didn’t send out emails. I wish I had read that detail earlier.
Anyway, nothing beats the feeling of seeing my book on the winning list. I was elated! I felt the most validated I had ever felt as a writer. It’s like in Pinocchio when he says, “I’m a real boy.” That’s how I felt, “I’m a real author.” Up until then, I had felt like I was just pretending at this writing thing. The cool thing is they had an Awards Ceremony and placed medals around your neck up on stage. That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Well, I hope not, but it was truly magical. I have never been so proud and felt so accomplished in my whole life.
So, I’m not saying this to brag, I’m saying this to encourage you to enter contests. You might have felt like me, afraid to put your work out there. But, as a writer, your writing is being judged every day by your readers. Some contests even provide feedback. That would be invaluable too. Even if you don’t win, you get information to help you improve your writing so possibly you can win next time. So, enter contests and maybe you’ll be writing in to tell me about it too. I’ll be jumping up and down with you to celebrate!
Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 4 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, and Little Birdie). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com