Monday, 22 April 2019

Winning An Award - The Creative Process


WINNING AN AWARD

I have to admit that this isn't a post I ever thought I would get to make. It wasn't that I didn't believe in my work, I do very much believe in the stories I've told and the books I've published. However, awards always felt like they were just outside of my grasp so when I was asked about submitting for the New Apple Literary Awards, I mostly decided that it would be an exercise in frustration. But I entered anyway. I put It's Not Always Rainbows and Walk A Mile up for separate awards and mostly forgot about it until the email came through on February 19th saying they needed a couple more days.

And then nothing. I heard nothing at all. It was an anxious time, getting up in the morning and wondering if I dared dream that this could be real. In the end I didn't find out until March because my email provider had marked the congratulations email as spam. They did email on February 21st to let me know that It's Not Always Rainbows had been chosen as the solo medallist in Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans category and Walk A Mile was an official selection in YA Mystery/Thriller. And just like that I had not one, but two awards. I was finally reaching a goal that I'd set myself way back when, but had never really thought would happen.

I announced across my social media and on my Authortube channel in my Life Of Joey video (found here) and have been on cloud nine ever since! I don't yet have my certificate, but it's there in black and white on their website (found here) and I still can't quiet believe it. It's not just about getting to say that I won two awards, but also about getting that confirmation from official people that I made it, I have finally arrived as an author.

Which is a little silly I guess, because I have almost fourteen books out and two more due in the coming months. I have always been an author and will always be one, but to have something like an award to point to, is very much a validating experience. It's no secret that I am very much a small fish in the writing world. I don't expect that to ever change and I am more than happy with the status quo. While I'd love to have more sales (who wouldn't?) I'm also very happy for the readers I do have that come back time and time again when I release something new. I love the community that has been built up within that group and it matters to me that I not only acknowledge them, but also the work I've put in to my author brand.

I think a lot of the time it's really easy to see people who are doing better than you are, and to feel like you will never make it. Hell, I have moments like that still, I'm pretty sure it's part of being human. And while I have talked about not comparing yourself to others in both my Monday blogs and on Authortube (pieces found here and here; video found here) I think it's just as important to admit that we all have days when we find ourselves thinking the worst of our work, and wishing we could be doing as well as so-and-so. And that's normal. It's why we have to get perspective.

And what do I mean by that? I mean that Erin Kinsella did an amazing video recently (found here) about what happens if you hate your work? She talked about how part of writing was getting critique and that of course comes with it's own anxieties and pitfalls. You see too often the persona of the writer who hates everything they write, and it's a stereotype that exists, but there are those of us who are actually really proud of what we've done. And that's okay too. I'm not saying that you will love every word that comes forth from keyboard to paper, but it's okay to be happy and proud of the finished result. You crafted that from nothing and you should be damn proud of how it's done.

So for those of you who, like me, never really thought they'd get noticed, or that they'd love to win an award one day but feel like it's out of your reach, take a deep breath and tell yourself that it's okay. That your story matters, and that you will get there in the end. You just have to keep putting fingers to keyboard and keep writing. You grow as you do, you get better as you write, as you draft, as you revise and hone your skill. You will get to a point one day when you can point to that finished novel and be damn proud that it has your name on it.

I've been at that point for a while. Once all the new covers were done, I felt like I could happily show people my books and be like: I wrote these! On top of that, getting that outside validation from people who do not know me, have never met me and have only read two of my books, it helps a lot. It's still a feeling of being on cloud nine because I not only wrote, but I did so in a way that people thought was award-worthy.

So keep writing, keep growing and keep telling yourself that you will get there, because one day you will! Good luck!


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