What is a writer?
Have you ever heard the term “imposter syndrome”? It makes you wonder “is my work good enough?”, or even “am I good enough?” Writing often equals rejection at many different levels, and even when you find success as a writer, imposter syndrome makes you wonder if it was a fluke. It makes you sure that you don’t really deserve to be acknowledged as a writer. Sounds fun, right?
Success looks different for everyone. Some don’t think they are an “author” until they’ve snagged an agent, or published a book (or 3)… maybe not even until they’ve been published by a big 5 publisher (I’m looking at you, Scholastic). My thoughts on what success looks like for me are constantly evolving. Would I like to quit my day job and support my family by writing best-sellers in my adorable writing she shed, sure. Is that going to happen … probably not. Lately I’ve just been reminding myself that I write because I love to write, simple as that. I’m learning to enjoy the process and trying to celebrate every little win along the way.
In order to do that, I thought I’d share a few “wins” here, to show you that success can look different for everyone. And on days I feel like a big fat imposter, I can come here and maybe feel like I actually do know a thing or two about writing.
Last year, I was invited to read my books at Barton County Library in my hometown of Lamar, MO. I’ve always loved the library, so I feel like this was a writer’s bucket list win. ✔️ Heidi Lanz, the librarian, was super sweet and even bought a copy of each book to keep in the library. She’s used them a few times since then for other story time activities!
A few months ago, I approached the owner of Firehouse Pottery in Joplin and asked if I could come read at their Saturday storytime. She was very receptive, and found an adorable ceramic dragon that the kids could paint after I read “Blossom’s Wish”. The event sold out and I even sold a few books! I’ll count that as a writer win! ✔️ Hopefully she will have me back again sometime to read “STOP!”
Earlier this year, the President of the Joplin Writers’ Guild shared information about a national short story contest held by Indignor Publishing. I dusted off a story I wrote a few years ago, tweaked it a little, and submitted. I received an email letting me know it had been chosen to be included in the anthology. I then received an email stating not only was it going to be published, but that it also won 2nd place! I’ll receive a hardcover copy of the anthology, a certificate, and $250! I’ll count that as a win! ✔️
If you’re a writer and have a local writer’s guild, I encourage you to attend a meeting and see if it would be a good fit for you. I really enjoy the monthly 2 hour meetings. It’s a great place to learn about writing through speakers and improve my stories through critique sessions. I also enjoy the annual contests they run (a romance contest in February and a spooky/fall contest in October). Even though having my story read aloud and voted on by people attending the meeting can be extremly nerve wracking, everyone is kind and supportive and it’s getting a little easier each time. I am honored to have recieved 1st place in the spooky/fall contest and 2nd place in the romance contest for the last two years. To know other writers enjoy my stories is definitely a writing win, but even more than that, I put myself out there and that’s a win, too. ✔️✔️
Along with being a member of the Joplin Writers’ Guild, I’m also a member of the Missouri Writers’ Guild and the Ozarks Writer’s League. Membership fees for each group are minimal, especially when you consider the wealth of knowledge you receive and the connections you make. Last year, I was honored that “Blossom’s Wish” was chosen as Best Picture Book of 2020 by the Missouri Writers’ Guild. This year, “STOP!” received 2nd place in the picture book category. I’ll call that a double win! ✔️
Of course, I love receiving rewards. It’s an amazing feeling to know someone else thought your writing stood out enough to be acknowledged. But my favorite writing successes have come from readers. I especially love hearing kids tell me they loved Blossom, or my little stop sign. Just a few weeks ago, I gave a kiddo some picture books my daughter has outgrown. She told me “Blossom’s Wish” was her favorite book out of all them. In fact, she told me “I liked it AND I loved it!” That meant the world to me and is definitely a writing win. ✔️ I also receieved this picture from a parent whose child wrote the “Stop book” was their favorite book on a “get to know me” paper for school! ✔️
And finally, my high school creative writing teacher tagged me in this Facebook post. He’s now a superintendent and read my book to a Kindergarten class at his school. ✔️
So, if you’re still with me, I just want to say success comes in a lot of forms. Believe in yourself and don’t forget to celebrate every milestone. If you ever want to talk about writing, publishing, or if you ever need an imposter syndrome pick me up, you know where to find me!