OMG OMG OMG I'm still reeling!!! The email came in about 6:00 this evening - silly me didn't put my phone number on the entry form. I honestly didn't think I'd win! At first I thought Roxyanne meant I'd won the illustration category (which would have been good enough!). But no!!! I won the SmartWriters 2007 W.I.N. Competition Grand Prize!! OMG.
I can't tell y'all how much this means to me. I started in this business cold turkey right before 9/11. Like everybody else, I had all the stereotypical misconceptions about how it all works, and I have learned just about every lesson the hard way. But with every failure, I just grew more and more determined to keep trying. (Yes, I'm a bit stubborn).
Things have been going well lately, I must admit. But I work so hard, no violins, just truth. I needed some reassurance that this was all going somewhere. And my dream is to write and illustate my own books. That's the goal. It's so frustrating to know what you want sometimes, and know that you have a lot of work ahead of you to jump the hurdles that need jumping. Sometimes it flat out gets you down.
One of the things I find I have in common with others on this crazy journey is the conscious decision to stay positive, move forward, and not resent the need for growth.
But it's a much needed shot in the arm to receive recognition like this. It's confirmation that you are supposed to be on this path, that it's the right one.
I'm so pleased, so thrilled, so honored to be on this journey with all of you. What a funny quest to embark upon, but somehow it is so, so worth it.
Thank you to Roxyanne Young, Verla Kay, Kelly Milner Halls and SmartWriters for such a well respected competition, but especially for everybody's kind comments and support. This is not a stand-alone honor, I assure you. I am on the shoulders of so many friends.
Btw, one of the prizes in this year's SmartWriters.com competition is a copy of Anastasia Suen's "Picture Book Writing." I already have a copy, dogeared from the treasure it's been to me. Reading it at different stages of my career has revealed new and just as relevant information. So, I am "paying it forward." Email me below if you'd like me to forward you my winning copy. I'll hold a drawing at the end of the month. (Make sure you don't sign anonymously so I can get in touch with you if I draw your name.)
Keep writing, keep dreaming, don't give up!!
Here's my winning entry (click to see it larger):