If you follow a lot of pre-published author blogs (such as this one) you've probably seen a scattering of posts about contest results and what they learned from them. Because it's that time of year, when the big contests start eliminating people from the running for those coveted awards.
Let me say that I had no intention of writing such an article until Saturday night.
If you haven't read Friday's post, take a moment and go look at it. In it I talk about how I want to shift my writing goal from being enormously popular to having someone fanatically like my writing. That was the essence of it anyway.
On Saturday, I got my scores back from the ACFW Genesis contest. I had advanced to the second round, which meant six sets of judge's marks and comments. They were everywhere. I ranged from pretty low to very high.
It was rather discouraging. Having made it to the second round, I was expecting relatively high scores across the board. The comments were very constructive and helpful and I am truly grateful to every judge who gave it their time and attention. But I wanted better scores. I wanted them to like me. I wanted them to adore my writing.
Then God called me on the carpet. He made me go back and reread what I had written on Friday.
You see, there was one judge that really liked my entry. She loved my style, story, and characters. She thought it was fabulous. Interestingly enough, she had several improvement points in the comments despite the very high score, but at the end of the day she just liked it.
It hit me that I had gotten exactly what I asked for. Suddenly, everything was better. I was able to read the other judges' comments with a different viewpoint. With an eye toward improving what I write without losing what makes me uniquely me. (Interestingly enough, that was the core of the comments from the lowest scoring judge. Which is really pretty cool.)
But I touched one person in a major way, and that is what I felt God calling me to desire. What He wanted me to focus on. In less that twenty-four hours I had gotten caught back up in the obsession of status and across the board achievement.
Do my writing have a ways to go? Probably. Did I learn a lot from the judges notes? An incredible amount. But the main thing is, God told me what He wanted me to focus on and strive for. And then He gave me a taste of what that might look like in the real world. And I learned more from that then anything else.
Had God taught you a lesson lately? When was the last time you had to be reminded that you had gotten exactly what you asked for?
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