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If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dust Yourself Off

I received scores from three judges for a writing contest I'd entered recently.
The first two judges loved my excerpt and gave me glowing scores and remarks.
The third judge hated everything about my piece. He/she couldn't even muster any constructive comments.
Third judge's score was a whopping 40 points (out of 100) lower than the other two judges.
If her low scoring had followed with constructive suggestions such as: "this paragraph needs an action beat," or "add more description of the environment in this section," I'd have received her evaluation with appreciation.
But, nothing.

So, I will chuck her unbelievably low scores.
I'll push my jaw back in place after it dropped to the floor for ten incredulous minutes while I perused this judge's low score.
And I'll dust myself off and "get back on the horse," so to speak.
I'll study what the positive judges said and put their advice into practice.

If I were a new writer, this negative and (non-constructive) evaluation would have really messed with my mind and heart.
I wonder if judges realize that their comments have the power of life or death over aspiring writers, even established authors.
This judge wrote his/her comments with a kind of "got-you" attitude.

But I've already published lots of articles and stories and devotions.
And last year I semi-finaled in a national writing contest.
I've got more publications coming out in the fall
and my literary agent is shopping out one of my novels.
And I have four more novels waiting in the wings.

I've experienced both rejections and acceptances and I'm getting used to the idea that the writing industry, just like the music world I used to live in, is fraught with emotional upheaval.
There's nothing new under the sun.

So it doesn't shock me so much when I see how subjective the evaluating of manuscripts can be.
And I don't take it personally. Well, not as much as I used to.

And the main reason I don't get so bent out of shape by a lousy evaluation is that God has called me to write.
So what is one fallible judge's opinion compared to the Lord of the entire Universe? 
Of course I have much more to learn in my craft. What writer doesn't?
But I won't let one little, negative evaluation thwart the plan that the Lord has for me to write stories that glorify Jesus and comfort and encourage readers.

So if you're reading this, still smarting from a similar negative evaluation at work, at church, in sports or the arts, at home, wherever, please don't let it stop you.
Get back up, take a big breath and ask God how this experience might teach you and make you a better person.
Only small people stay down.
Be big.
For God's sake, be big!

"Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still;
teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning." (Proverbs 9:9 NIV Bible)

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