Tomorrow is a big day for many romance writers. Many of us have entered the Romance Writers of America's contests for published and unpublished authors. The RITA and the GOLDEN HEART contests are our industry's version of the OSCARS for writers.
Today, as an unpublished writer, I'm getting all twitchy because I have two entries in the GOLDEN HEART. I have other unpublished friends who have entered as well. Tomorrow we will most likely be nervous and anxious as we wait for all the finalists to be announced. We'll pretend we don't care, but we do. It's a huge honor! A huge feather in one's writing cap. It opens doors. It doesn't guarantee publication, but it does mean that you've become part of a select sisterhood of writers. So it is a big deal. A very big deal. It's like getting a college degree: once you have it, no one can take that honor away. For unpublished writers it is also a huge affirmation that they aren't whistling dixie against the wind and completely delusional.
This is the creme de la creme. A finalist gets all kinds of writing princess perks. Who wouldn't want to be a Princess for four days at the RWA National Conference?
A lot of my wonderful published friends entered the RITA. This contest is important to them, too. I know it generates more interest. Gets agents interests, booksellers interested, but I'm not published so I have no idea how much extra oomph a RITA Award can give a published writer. I do know this: it's beautiful, bright and shiny. I touched one at a writer's meeting. The winner brought her RITA Statuette into the meeting and shared her victory with us. It was sweet. It was a moment. She was a Princess for four days during the RWA National Conference. Then she shared her sweet Princess moment with us.
The award mattered. A lot.
But for all the people who final, or win, these awards, there are many who don't. Tomorrow will be a day of highs and lows. Therefore I thought that today I'd focus on why we became writers--why we strive to create stories. Because we have to have more than shiny awards and statues to keep us going as writers. We have to have an inner drive that supersedes material recognition. Otherwise we won't keep writing--writing for no pay, no recognition, no awards.
So today, before the announcements are made, I want to say that YOU ARE ALL WINNERS! You entered, you wrote books, you took a chance, you put your heart out there, you risked losing. And in risking the disappointment you grew as writers.
I have a few quotes I want to share with you. Quotes that keep me going as a writer. Quotes that remind me about why I write:
I hope that your measure of success will be not the gratification of getting an agent or seeing your name on the cover, but putting together a novel of real depth--of having something to say and saying it in a story with lasting power. Donald Maass
The object of goals is getting there... the object of dreams is the journey. Delle Jacobs
The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both. James A. Michener
Tomorrow will be a big day. I have three bottles of champagne chilling in the fridge. I plan to open one of them and to celebrate everyone's successes. I am also going to have a THINGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE party.
So join me tomorrow for a special blog that celebrates ALL of the writers who have entered the prestigious RITA/GOLDEN HEART contests. Let's be happy for the finalists. Let's celebrate their victories. But let's also remember to celebrate the gift of having the courage to enter the contests because we all love writing compelling stories that move people.
And that is what we're all about: writers on a journey who encourage and celebrate each other!!
See you tomorrow!