Monday, April 11, 2011

Mixed Emotions

Have you ever attempted to show a character with mixed emotions in your work?

I'm envisioning how to do it now.

"This is amazing, honey. I actually know a few of the semi-finalists and I'm so excited for them."

"Have you read any of their writing?"

An energetic nod escapes me. "They deserve this. They've persevered, polished and polished, and this proves it." But I have too, other than this recent time off, I've pushed myself. I've improved. Apparently not enough, though.

"Are they any better than you?" Hubby just had to ask this.

I can't get down on myself. Not when I'm just getting back into my writing. "Obviously the pieces they submitted resonated with the judges, so yes, those pieces were written better than mine was for this contest."

Worry worked through hubby's ivory flecked eyebrows.

"I'm going to celebrate, not get discouraged. Promise. And I'm going to keep working at my craft while helping others polish theirs."

I've come a long way these past eight years. I'm now good enough to help even the semi-finalists polish for the next round. Breathing in deeply, my lungs fill with a fresh, bold new energy. I'm on my way to achieving my dream!

Could you feel the excitement, disappointment, and then exhilaration in that piece?

That was me yesterday afternoon.

I returned home from a weekend away at a Christian Women's Retreat (Awesome time. Tiring, but a great experience. This, too, explains why my post is late getting up today). I signed on to the family computer to discover that a few great writing buddies that I know made it as Semi-Finalists in the 2011 ACFW Genesis Contest. I was and am still thrilled for their success, but me not making the top 20% of the entries was disappointing, I'm not going to lie.

But it's not the end of the world, nor is it the end of my writing. In fact, it's yet another beginning. When I receive my judged entry back I hope to be blessed with some direction from the judges and from that I'll grow as a writer once more. I'm on my way to achieving my dream, just like every one of the semi-finalists are. Every writer's journey is unique, and designed just right for them!

Embrace your journey, celebrate your friends' journeys, and write on...

Surrendering to Him,



Keli Gwyn said...

I'm glad you had a great time at your retreat, Eileen. Hugs on not seeing your name on the semi-finalists list. I hope your judges gave you great feedback.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Eileen, I experienced those same emotions. I'll echo Keli's hugs...Maybe we'll sandwich ya w/ them. :) Glad you had a good weekend and hope you can catch up on rest very soon!

Erica Vetsch said...

I'm so glad your retreat went well, that you were able to refresh and connect with some great ladies.

Contests are tough, there's no doubt about it. And it's okay to be disappointed if you don't get the results you wanted.

I'm glad you entered, and that you've got such a great attitude about it. Contests are a tool to help us assess things, but they aren't the total sum of our writing.

I hope you have a wonderful writing week and that you find the judges' comments to be helpful. :)

Loree Huebner said...

I love how you think of it as a beginning and not an end, and continue to support your writing friends. Awesome!

Feel the warmth of my embrace in friendship and encouragement surround you today.

Katie Ganshert said...

Hey girl - I totally resonate with this post, because that was me last year! I wrote a blog post for you today. :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I had those same feelings:( But then we pick ourselves up and keep on writing, don't we?? I can't wait for the day we celebrate our publishing contracts together! So happy you are back in it!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hugs, Eileen. I know how disappointing it can be not to final.

At one point I felt like quitting, and entered the 'Touched By Love' contest as a sort of test to see if I'm doing what I should be doing. And I came in second place! I SO needed that affirmation that I wasn't wasting my time going down the wrong path.

It's great that you can look on the judges comments as a learning tool. That's what I try to do as well, since most judges are sincerely trying to help us grow as writers.

Since I've met you, you've grown SO MUCH as a writer. I'm looking forward to watching you soar!!


Tamika: said...

You wrote this for me. It is disappointing, but I agree that it is also a tool.

I think about the scripture that challenges us to rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those who weep!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yeah, don't get discouraged about not finaling in the contest. It's not the end all be all measure of good writing. I know A LOT of writers who have finaled in lots of contests yet have yet to sell a book.
Chin up. Learn from the judges (who might even have conflicting comments) but Keep writing.

Karen Lange said...

Yes, write on! For if we don't, we never get to those places either. I'm with you. :)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Thanks for all the wonderful hugs everyone!

Life is good. Writing is good. God is the best. Peace is growing within me as I celebrate the semi-finalists achievements!

May we all write onward...

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I read somewhere recently that more contracts are made by non-finaling entries than finaling ones. So girl, get ready! :)


Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, Eileen, how we long to be super-human, so we don't experience these trying emotions that urge us to despair. I'm proud of you for not giving in to Satan's lies. Where did you go to celebrate your mature attitude?

Cindy said...


I know exactly how you feel. It is a difficult task to balance these feelings. I'm glad you're taking such a strong approach to it and recognizing that God is good and in control.

May the judges remarks help you on the road to your goal and next year's contest be your year!

Sarah Thomas said...

Oh, me too! I didn't expect to win, but I thought I had a good chance of reaching the semis. Then I got the score sheets and they offered such amazing encouragement. The whole process was worth it just to get that feedback. The judges helped me see that with a few corrections and tweaks I can be a top contender! Hope your score sheets were a big help as well.