Thursday, June 26, 2008

Winning isn't everything

With my book, Keeping Her Safe, out this month, I've discovered something once again. That winning isn't everything.
I had entered four contests with last year's book, and didn't final in a single one of them. Oh, well. I was disappointed, but I'll let you in on a little secret. God won't let me win, until I learn to be a graceful winner. (I have a sneaky suspicion I wouldn't be one) LOL!
Anyway, in the meantime, friends and family alike have won at writing. If you'll allow me to boast for a moment, my daughter won an essay contest on a Canadian provincial premier. (he'd be the equivilent to a governor in the States) and she will receive $250! Pretty cool, eh, and let me tell you, everyone in the house now knows about Daniel Lionel Hannington, Premier of New Brunswick in 1874. We know ALL about him!
Bragging aside, I told my daughter she's done something I have yet to achieve. I've never won a contest. I got honourable mention in one about 10 years ago, if that counts for something.
But it doesn't matter anymore.
At my kids' school awards evening, a woman, mother of a friend of mine, sought me out, and told me something really wonderful. She absolutely loved my book. She couldn't put it down. She sat in her living room and read it cover to cover. Is that great or what?
And a writer friend took the time to write me to say how much she enjoyed the book, and loved the hero's prayer in it. It hit her right in the heart.
Just as these little compliments get me right there. They are way better than a contest. I've touched someone's life with my story and it gives me a knot in my throat. We writers write for various reasons, creative outlet, need to tell a story, the love of reading are some of the reasons, but we rarely sit at the computer and say, "I'm going to touch someone's life with this story."
We just hope we do. And when it happens, we are so incredibly thrilled, touched, a whole lot more than winning a contest.
Of course, I have never won a contest, so I may be off the wall here, but I don't think so.
You mothers out there can say that even when your son or daughter doesn't make the highest mark, or draw the best picture, the one they drew for you, the one they added, 'I love you' to, is way better than any ribbon or certificate.
Let's take the time to see how personal things matter so much more. How we can help each other, lift each other up, and encourage each other. It's worth a thousand contest wins.
Enjoy your summer!
Barbara Phinney


Debra Clopton said...

Hi Barbara!
Congratulations to your daughter!

I've been awarded a few contest wins and I'm always stunned and humbled by them. Especially knowing so many other authors like you were also competing with me in the same catagory. But, I'm with you one hundred percent because it is touching a readers life that makes me float! I'm just a small town Texas girl and when God can take my funny little stories and use them...well, it just doesn't get any better than that.

Janet Tronstad said...

Barbara and Debra --
I agree completely. I've been amazed and humbled by some of the notes I've gotten, particularly on my Dropped Stitches series.

Ausjenny said...

You have a tallanted daughter there.
and great pearls of wisdom.

Im a reader and until last year had often wanted to write to authors when there books touched me even composed them in my head but besides Gilbert Morris I had never sent the letter (well i did one other but it was returned address unknown).
The internet makes it so much easier to send a note of appreciation to authors and exspecially when a book touches me I do like to thank the author for writing it or to tell them what touched me. I have learnt it often comes at the right time but I do it because I have always wanted to do it but just never did but email makes it so much easier.
Thanks for all the books that you do write for us.