A little recognition

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I won a major award the other day. Okay, maybe not a major award, but it made me feel pretty good about things. One of my silly little radio commentaries received first place for writing in the 2010 Minnesota AP Broadcasters Awards.
Watch out Jane Austen!
I hadn't realized I'd been nominated, so the award came as an especially wonderful surprise -- just the thing to snap me out of my, what was going on, month-long funk. Now that I've had my press secretary (that would be me) deal with all the media requests surrounding this momentous event, I've had a chance to reflect on the experience. . . .

Honestly, I'm pleased as punch, but the last thing I want to do is make it seem like a bigger deal than it really is.Whenever I think of writers making a little too big of a deal out of their laudable (but still . . .) successes, I'm always reminded of that scene in Notting Hill in the bookstore:

Anna: Signed by the author, I see.
William: Yes, we couldn't stop him. If you can find an unsigned copy it's worth an absolute fortune.

Because the only thing we writers like better than seeing our name in print is seeing our names on a big ol' check from a publisher (or Publishers Clearing House, for that matter). And the writer's life is filled with oh-so-much rejection. When we do actually stumble upon some recognition, it's so tempting to keep patting the new feather in our cap until we've worn away all of its fuzz, acting like we have everything.

Well, obviously not "everything" since you got the feathers and the prince, didn't ya Kate?
I was interviewing someone in the fitness industry last week and we got to talking about how to succeed in the business world when you're your own boss. He'd been working to collect input from his clients (what we in the museum biz call metrics . . . museum people really can be kind of a buzz kill) so he would know how to improve his business. The issue was that people were more than willing to spill on what they liked about his gym but when it came to giving (constructive) criticism, they clammed up.

While praise is lovely and never fails to give us a warm little glow of stratification, we can only grow and improve if we are tested. Rejection just means there's still work to do. Criticism gives us an idea of how to go about that work.

Yesterday morning I checked my email first thing and found two rejections waiting for me from literary agents I'd queried about representing my novel. 

That'll keep me grounded. More importantly: it'll keep me working.


  1. Congratulations! How wonderful to win an award for your writing--and even better, an unexpected recognition. What a lovely surprise.

    And always a nice balance in our business to all those rejection letters we get.

  2. Congratulations! Thats amazing :) Particularly nice since you were not expecting it. What a lovely suprise that you most definetly earned.


  3. Congrats on the award- and how did you get such a level head? Tips for the rest of us haha?
    Good luck with the literary agent!

  4. I am so pleased for you.Happy Dance in Virginia! Paula xxx

  5. you have such an awesome zest for writing. how do you keep your spark?

  6. This makes total sense, it always good for someone to have a balance between blind adoration and grounding rejection.

    That being said, holy crap that is awesome, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  7. YAY!!!!! I am so excited for you!!! Congratulations!!!!! Enjoy it, relish in it for a bit :)

  8. Congrats on the award. Your article about 'the wave' had me giggling. The Wave happens all over MN- EXCEPT the Twin Cities (and thier suburbs). ;)

  9. Bummer on the two letters. I'm sorry. Congratulations about your award though. That is fantastic news!
    I needed this post today. I'm trying to psych myself up for the critical take on my pieces when I submit to my residency.

  10. Nothing like a little rejection to put your feet back on the ground again.

    Congrats on your award - you deserve it!

  11. That is a good point about rejection... and pretty needed (to hear) right now!

  12. Congratulations on your award. I think that is fabulous!

    You're always so wise. I wish I were half as wise as you. You're right; a writer's life is filled with rejection. It sucks, but it makes the successes SO much sweeter.

  13. Congratulations on your surprise award! I love the Notting Hill reference!

  14. Congratulations! I think you should feel proud and like it's a big deal. I loved, "The Wave". My dad grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and he used to wave at everybody too.

  15. Congratulations on your award- that sounds like a big deal! Like Carissa, I love the Notting Hill reference! It just sums it up nice :-)

  16. Congrats on the award!

    Boo on the rejections, but it just means there's a better agent suited to you around the corner.

  17. Congratulations on the award, that's fantastic news!!! I think you're a fabulous writer so the rejection letter companies are just missing out.


Related Posts with Thumbnails