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WV writers contest/ Lessons in Losing and Winning.

I'm learning that there are lessons in losing and winning writing contests.
Today I'm mourning not winning something, even honorable mention,  in the West Virginia writing contest, winners announced last night. Four stories. Four stories, my babies, not cuddled or swaddled, or rocked.

I decided to give myself 15 minutes to be sad for myself and for them.
Then I'd get to work again! AND work harder.

The lesson in winning is that you have a few seconds of a  high and it's over. You walk around feeling great about yourself and you don't have to get back to writing right away because after all you are a winner. Someone thinks your writing is good.

The lesson in losing is that you have a few minutes of mourning and you get busy getting better at your craft. Affirmation is good but getting better at your craft is even better.

I have many reasons - excuses - for losing and none for winning. Winning is the epitome, the proof that I can write.

Often when I lose I figure it's not any failing on my part, someone else made me do it. I was too busy with family things. I was taking care of business. I was I was I was. I wasn't writing. And I wasn't honing enough.

Judging is a tough job. The judge has his own system in which he judges by. He likes and dislikes particular types of writing. You can't expect one judge to like everything that comes across his desk.

I already know the path I'm on and where I'm going next in my writing life.

I've had a great time lately blogging, journaling, working sporadically on a novel or two or three and it's making me happy. So that's what you'll find me doing on any given day.

Right now we're watching the triplets and their little brother. Sharing with my daughter Lisa.
They are grist for the mill believe me. I've learned how to give a headlock, how to aggravate a little sister if I had one, how to be shot in the eye with a water shooter, and how to shoot back, I've learned how to make four plates of food and four drinks in under five minutes and I've learned how to rock four kids in one rocking chair.

It's been a good summer thus far.

Sometimes losing is actually winning.
Blessings to all who won and lost at the contest business.
Today I'm in the Nana Barb business - where I'm always the winner.
Have a great rest of this Sunday.
God bless.


  1. I listened for your name last night Barbara. Your not winning does not mean that your work was not good, just that this particular judge did not choose it. Another judge could have picked you as a winner. I won 3rd HM in the children's story division and 2nd in Poetry on the writing wall. I am very happy with that, and it has given me a boost to continue my writing. We all need a little boost now and then. I've seen some of your writing, you are a very good writer!

  2. I'm so sorry you didn't win this time, but I'm sure a victory is on the horizon for you. You have the right attitude about it all and you also have your priorities correct...being a Grandma is the best prize!

  3. You are already a winner in more ways than one. I love your writing and I'm sorry about the contest but like you said we pick ourselves up and start again. I admire your attitude.. Susie

  4. I wasn't feeling so up earlier but all in all it's okay.
    I know I have to work harder and I still believe we are our own best critics.
    Thanks for reading. B

  5. I think a writing contest is very judgmental. Of course, the writing has to be good, and tight, with proper punctuation, but if it just didn't interest that particular judge what can you do?

    You are an excellent writer and don't let this loss put you in the dumps.

    Sounds like a wonderful, crazy summer with all those kids around!

  6. It's been a crazy few months really and I've been completely out of sorts, off balance.
    I think after the kiddies leave we are going to the mountains of WV for a break from everything, phone, tv, all demands on our time. WE both need to be recharged by peace and quiet and all the blessings of spending time with nature.
    That always primes the writing pump.
    Thanks for such sweet comments.
    May you enjoy these crazy daze of summer. B

  7. You know what? Even winning something less than first place still leaves a person wondering what the piece lacked. We're perfectionists, aren't we? It's the same for my son in bodybuilding--unless it's a first place he feels like he messed up somehow.
    One poem I submitted won two honorable mentions in different categories. And yet it was not the one I thought was the best one I submitted. Go figure.
    Your writing is beautiful, Barb. Don't doubt that.

  8. I'm sorry your work wasn't accepted this time, Barb. But those rejections are evidence that you really are a writer. You have a great attitude about both winning and losing. What we do isn't really about either, but rather honoring our muse. Right?

  9. I held my breath, listening for your name, was as dissapointed as if it was my own work. But you know the judges each talked about how hard it was to choose. It doesn't mean your pieces are not winners. Send them somewhere else and keep going.

  10. Tracked you here from Tawna's blog, because I was delighted to encounter a post from another "marvelously mature" writer. No matter what our age, though, I don't think we should measure "success" by what a contest judge thinks of our writing. Sure, it'd be nice to win contests and big fat publishing contracts, but the real joy lies in the journey. I say, let's enjoy our writing and hope for the best with it, but spend as much time as we can spoiling the grandkids. (expecting my twelfth in October)

  11. I entered a RWA contest a few months ago, but by the time I got the feedback back, the two chapters had gone through substantial rewrites, so I never bothered to read the comments.

    I've also judged for a RWA. It's not easy, that's for sure. ;)

  12. I was a judge once for RWA. Boy was it hard!

  13. Sorry you didn't win this time! Keep on trying and I'm sure you'll win soon!


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