A great part of being involved in writing organizations are the opportunities to get your material in front of published authors, agents and publishers through contests. The feedback they provide are valuable and instructional.
My local chapter of RWA – the OCCRWA – hosts the Orange Rose Contest every year for unpublished authors. You send in the first 35 pages and a synopsis of your story.
The first time I entered was in 2015. I took all the feedback and made several changes and decided to enter again in 2016 to see if those changes made a difference.
What a shock to find out I won 1st place in the inspirational category! I received this really pretty certificate and got to stand in front of my peers who all cheered me on.
Then a month later I found out that those who placed first receive an engraved award at our Annual Birthday Bash. Here’s a picture of me giddy with excitement after being presented with my award (yes I had to give a little speech).
my name was listed in the Romance Writers Report Magazine
And what was my next goal? Turning Pro!
For an RWA member to turn Pro, you need to submit your complete manuscript to show proof of your work. In January of this year, I uploaded my document and held my breath. I received word they accepted it and voila! My status was updated to Pro.
What I didn’t know at the time – and I was jumping up and down when I found out – I would receive a rose from my Orange County Chapter for going Pro.
What’s the big deal about the rose? Every month at our meetings, authors receive roses for selling books, novellas, and other stories. Each color rose means something – Red=Novel, Pink=Novella Length, Purple=Self-Published, Yellow=Non-Fiction, White=Articles, Peach=Turning Pro.
I’ve been watching everyone receive roses for a few years and couldn’t wait to receive one. I even purchased a vase a while back to hold my roses in. So when I found out I would be receiving one for going Pro, it was difficult to contain my excitement (just ask my husband!).
Not only that, I received a PRO pin to wear on my badge with pride AND I got my name printed in the RWA National Magazine on the PRO page.
It feels like all of this happened quickly, but I’ve been working up to this point for a while. It’s nice to be able to see progress in my work. I’ve included pics – I have to document it all – it helps encourage me when I have those days I don’t like my writing.
Now with these goals met – I have my eyes set on new ones for the rest of the year; Find a critique partner, edit Book #1 and finish writing Book #2.
As a writer, there is never an “I’ve arrived” moment in our career.
It’s not about the end result.
It’s all about the journey!
Thank you for letting me share mine with you.