I always struggle when contemplating entering my work for awards. There’s always this idea that if the work speaks for itself, the readers understand and that is it’s own accolade. But in our era of self-promotion and author-driven marketing, writers don’t get much notice if they don’t go after things themselves.
If you look at my About/Contact page, you might notice something beneath my bio. 2018 was a major year for me. I won numerous awards, had my first son (baby #3), and learned a harsh lesson about pariahs in the publishing industry.
I’m not at liberty to speak about the latter issue, but I pressed on writing and working through 2019 and earning many new titles in 2020. I focused more on steady work, articles, and essays because they are my strong suit. I avoided awards, and schmoozing potential industry clowns because I had no intention of doing someone else’s work for them or being overlooked.
In my experience, I find that a lot of awards aren’t given to the best work, but to the person who has “paid their dues” (which really means: kissed the right asses). And sometimes dues just cost way too much.
But 2021 has made a reporter out of me. I will never again sign a non-disclosure when dealing with slime-balls and my cynicism for awards has waned a bit.
Sure there are hundreds of vanity awards that charge hefty entry fees and offer nothing more than bragging-rights to winning authors, but there are also those that are the real deal. Like, The Missouri Writer’s Guild. It’s been good to me, and hosts a network of professionals who understand the struggles of every author.
I can’t stress enough, how important it is to have organizations like this to back you up when others are just fancy crooks. So I went ahead and entered this year’s President’s contests because the returns are much more than the minimal fees, and low and behold, I’ve found a couple new honors being bestowed upon me.
This may be the longest and most annoying “acceptance speech” ever, but thankfully it’s my blog and I can drone on as long as I want. Every word counts, and 2 of my works from last year have been recognized for their merits.
My book, “Walk Your Path,” was released right as the pandemic set in. The timing was horrid, but the message remains. We each have our own path to walk, but we can walk it with love. This book has received the Missouri Writer’s Guild 3rd place Walter Williams Award.
The next one is pretty hilarious. All authors are hypocrites and I’m definitely no exception. I have consistently spewed my hatred for poetry (modern poetry, really), yet I have now won an award for one of my rare poems, The Missouri Writer’s Guild 3rd place prize for poetry, to be exact.
My poem Paternal Admiration, featured in the Father and I anthology, was written as a gift to my husband because he knows what it means to be a father to our children. My childhood didn’t have much stability. My dad was an alcoholic grown-up child with an Irish temper, so seeing my husband work so hard to be a good father makes me grateful for him everyday. I’m not a very sentimental person, but I let my sappy side out for this poem and I guess it paid off.
“Paid-off” never seems like the right phrase when my work is acknowledged. When receiving an honor like these, I get a bit shy and think of all the writers who are more deserving. It’s a humbling experience. One that I don’t know I’ll ever get used to.
Maybe someday I’ll take 2nd or 1st place, maybe my hands will fall off and I’ll be relegated to the oral tradition. Who knows? haha
For now, I have just one word for the guild, my readers, and everyone who supports me: Thanks!