Friday, August 29, 2008 Ronie Kendig--ACFW BTY Coordinator and Seekerville Guestblogger


The majority of entrants walk away from a contest feeling as if they’d walked into the middle of a battle with no armor. Expectations are high, they want the victory, but are unprepared for the outcome. So, you’re wounded, feeling a bit dejected, and maybe you’ve even toyed with the thought of hurtling your computer across the room. You wanted a window in that wall anyway, didn’t you?

But let’s step back from the aggression. Take a look at things a bit objectively. I’ve worked with contests for several years now, as a judge, a category coordinator, and as the contest coordinator. It’s been very eye opening, and I’d like to help some of you down from the ledge. I think there are many important keys to surviving, but I’d like to focus on three:

1.) Perspective

2.) Acceptance

3.) Confidence

First, you’re a writer and as such, you have to get into the minds of your characters, right? So, do the same with the judges. They aren’t there drooling and laughing maniacally to see how much they can tear you down, although it might feel that way. Truly, they want to help. And remember that whether here in a contest, or out “there” in the bookstores, your judges are . . .readers. We each have different opinions, and that diversity is a part of being a writer, too.

Second, before you can fully digest contest feedback, I think you must first accept that YOU are a WRITER. That’s your job (yes, I sad the J-word). It’s a painful and sometimes gruesome reality, but writing takes work. If you want to stay ahead of the game, you must hone your skills. Always. So, even if the feedback seemed to carve your heart out, work through it. Take what you agree with and implement it, pray over those comments that leave you a tad uncertain, and tuck aside what you really disagree with.

Confidence. I find this element severely lacking in many writers, because most writers, like me, are more prone to feeling than logic (you Type A’s, don’t roast me). It’s easier to think the judges didn’t get your writing than to accept that perhaps you have something you need to work on. But being able to do this requires finding your confidence as a writer, which is vital. I’m not talking confidence as in “I have all the answers.” I’m speaking of your identity. . .being a writer. Learning the rules. Honing your skills. Once you are grounded in that confidence, once you have your “footing,” you will find that you can face the challenges of refining a story and your skill with grace and determination, because by then, you’re concentrating on story, not on YOU (read: pride) and the lies that plague and paralyze.

Contests are out there to challenge us to press forward, to be the best and write the best that we can. But remember—you are already a writer. Don’t let negative feedback define you. Define yourself! And because I’m a Christian, I find my definition in Christ, and through his unconditional love, I am able to find my footing in areas of my life that are important—like writing.

Ronie Kendig

Ronie Kendig has a BS in Psychology and is a wife, mother of four, and avid writer. She has found her voice in writing fast-paced fiction. Ronie’s espionage thriller Dead Reckoning is contracted by Abingdon Press and slated it for a March 2010 release. Also, Ronie co-authored a true story about her husband, Brian, which appears in Allison Bottke’s God Answers Prayers: Military Edition (Harvest House). She won third place in the ACFW Noble Theme Contest in Science Fiction with her futuristic military story, Liberty’s Son. An active member of ACFW, Ronie serves as the Book of the Year coordinator and as List Hostess for the main e-loop. She also volunteers on the ACFW conference committee for the national conference, as assistant to the conference appointment coordinator, and judges in the Genesis contest.

Ronie's Web site

Ronie's Blog

Ronie Kendig, has been contracted by Abingdon Press for her espionage thriller, Dead Reckoning, scheduled for release March 2010. Deal negotiated by agent extraordinaire, Steve Laube.

Dead Reckoning...
Underwater archeologist Shiloh Blake is consumed with passion for the water and angry at the injustices of life. Her first large-scale dig traps her in the middle of an international meltdown and forces her to flee for her life. When she spots a man trailing her, she questions who he is and how he's always one step ahead of her.

Former Green Beret Reece Jaxon now serves his country as a covert operative. His mission is entangled by the beguiling Shiloh Blake as he hunts down the source to a dead drop in the Arabian Sea.
The only way to prevent a nuclear disaster is to join forces with Reece. But will Shiloh violate her vow to never become a spy like her father? Will they put aside their differences to end this nightmare?


  1. Thanks Ronie. Great insight.
    It's true. Ultimately we write for an audience of One, right?
    Thanks again.

  2. Ronie, What a great post and reminder that we are indeed writers. Since there are no job prerequisites like a degree for teaching or a certificate to become a nurse or doctor, we simply begin by writing. We forget that like most professions there has to be training. All these years of submitting to contests and going to conferences are basically our college courses we would be taking for another profession. Thanks for reminding us.

    Have a great day here at Seekerville.

  3. Hear, hear, Ronie!! Great post, and welcome to Seekerville!

    And, boy, that "confidence" thing can be a real bite in the butt, but I would have to say that contests gave me more confidence than anything else (uh, except getting published ... :)), so this "type A" is sure not going to roast you on that one. :)

    I honestly had NO earthly idea if I was a decent writer or not ... UNTIL I started finaling in contests, WHICH I did not do until about 7-10 contests in. And then, ONLY AFTER I revised, corrected, revised per prior judge comments. So for me, contests are HUGE for the confidence factor ... and well worth the pain ...


  4. PS Great website Ronie. Love the bullet holes.

  5. Ronie, good article and excellent advice.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    Janice Olson

  6. Wonderful post with great insight, Ronie!!

    I'm one of the people who mentored Ronie, and I'm very proud of her.

  7. Great post, Ronie! Thanks for stepping up to coordinate this year!



  8. Julie - Wow! what a lesson in tenacity. That's so awesome, and I'm hearing about your books everywhere I go. :-D

    Sandra - thank you so much for the comments on this post and on my website (which I am woefully overdue for an update--yikes!!). I had to gut it up recently and realize that I must approach wrting as I would any other job. I had to "clock in" and get 'er done. :-D

    Sheri - Thank you so much for stopping by. And absolutely--an audience of One.

    Rob!! You're so awesome to stop by.

    Janice Ganache-lady! You're the greatest. Thank you!

    "Mama Dooley" - Yep, you sure did. Your loving gentleness and firm nudges kept me going. Thank you!

  9. Thanks, Cheryl! I am absolutely loving Book of the Year. :-D

  10. Ronie,
    Writing is a subjective business and not everyone is going to like everything we write. But contests are a great place to learn, to get that feedback. With feedback, it's learning to use what makes sense, and continue the process of growing and becoming better at our craft. Contests can also help you develop that thicker skin. Some days we just need to be teflon and let things roll of our back. God is in control, so why we worry about things as much as we do is beyond me.

  11. Hi, Ronie, and welcome to Seekerville! Everyone, be sure to congratulate Ronie on her recent acceptance by Abingdon Press.

    Ronie, I loved what you said about confidence, and also the reminder that every reader has a different opinion. I've had to face that truth over and over again. Contest results on the ms. Barbara just accepted have been all over the map--perfect scores or scathing criticism.

    In the end, as Sheri said, it all comes back to pleasing that "Audience of One."

  12. Becky, you are so right. It's completely subjective!

    Myra, my Abingdon-press sibling (LOL) - Thank you so much! You hit it perfectly--reactiosn will be all over the map, but if we're confident in Him and who we are, we roll through the punches as well as the lush, green grass of praise. LOL

  13. Ronie!

    You rabble-rouser you, good to have you here in Seekerville. Always a pleasure to see that pretty face.

    Ronie is one of the few non-Seekers who isn't afraid of me...

    Obviously I haven't been mean enough to her. We'll work on that with the release of her upcoming BOOK, yay, oh yay!!!!

    Congrats on that big time, my dear and beautiful friend. Huge round of applause for you, for Myra, and the list of authors Barbara Scott and Company have opened Abingdon Press's doors to. I couldn't be more happy for each and every one of you. Way to go!


    Next Thursday, 9/4/08, we're interviewing Barbara Scott here in Seekerville...
    I can't give away too much, but let me just say this...

    Barb loves Island food and may even bring her swimsuit. You never know. And she's partial to dark chocolate...

    She also had the intuitive good sense to grab a lovely list of both established and new authors to launch Abingdon's new line and I join aspiring authors everywhere in saluting that move.

    Hey, I've got sweet tea here, a new raspberry blend, absolutely wonderful. And I saw Mary come in with a fresh platter of fruit and croissants, a lovely afternoon repaste in Seekerville.

    Try dipping the fruit in the home-made custard. Great combination.


  14. Ruth!! You are so *sweet.* And crazy. :-D I am SO going to be here 9/4 to "meet" Barbara--I'm so thrilled! Some of the other Abingdon authors have already spoken to her, but I haven't had the blessing yet since my agent worked all this out.

  15. Awesome post, girl. Just like you. :-)

  16. Man, what a timely post. I'm awaiting contest results in the mail and there's literally a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about it.
    I've entered contests before and was fine, but suddenly I'm so nervous . . .
    Anyway, thanks for the right perspective.
    Your book sounds great. Also, I met Steve Laube at a conference and thought he seemed like a wonderful person.
    Congrats on the sale!

  17. Hey Seekers,
    Not meaning to sound really stupid here, but I thought Marlena Fortune was a real person.
    Now I'm wondering if she's fake . . .

  18. Alas, dear Marlena. Only her hairdresser knows for sure. Or something like that.

  19. Such sage advice in this post to carry with us into the ACFW contests coming up. Thank you for for all the work you've done and are doing for the conference. And congratulations on your contract. The book sounds very intriguing!

  20. Okay, I'll leave a better comment.

    Congratulations on the contract, Ronie. Yay.

    And thank you for doing the hard work of a contest coordinator. You have my respect and sympathy!

  21. Thanks Ronie, appreciated your posting here on Seekerville where seldom is heard a discouraging word.

  22. Erica - Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm not sure about sage--isn't that a spice? *grins*

    Mary -- WIpe your drool, sweet lady. I *love* coordinating Book of the Year. It's an honor! And thank you for the congrats. I'm so thrilled to be with Abingdon.

    Al - Thanks, dude, for stopping by. You're a true friend.

  23. Where's this Al character????

    I'll give him a discouraging word, LOL!



    Couldn't resist.

    Just looked like too much fun to tweak him. And men make such easy targets.

    And why is Mary drooling? Is she hungry for fresh fruit and croissants or did she just have dental work?

    Inquiring minds want to know.


  24. Oh, be very careful, Ruth. LOL Al is a good friend of mine who's a satirist. The guy has razor-sharp wit. He's lethal!! :-D

  25. Great insights! Thanks Ronie. And congrats again on your sale to Abingdon! Whoo-hoo!

  26. Ronie, Ronie, Ronie...

    Is that supposed to scare me, dahling????

    Razor-sharp wit, eh?


    All right. We're supposed to be nice here. We're REPUTED to be nice, nurturing women...

    Solid Christians, all.




    Caring and sharing, like a collection of fifteen assorted Holly Hobbie dolls.

    Just don't go near the chocolate stash on the Island, and we'll let you live. There are many among you who understand I'm not kidding. Chocolate is chocolate, Dude.

    Conversely, if you should BRING us treats, Al, you can easily bribe your way into being our new best friend.


  27. Pam, Thank you so much!! I'm chomping to see your name next, sweet lady!

    uh...what chocolate? *stashes chocolate*wipes face* I promise I didn't find any. And I certainly didn't eat any. *hiccup*

    :-D And HEY! Leave Holly alone. She's a very loyal girl, even if her clothes are outdated, and her braids are unfashionable, and she's full of it (fluff, that is).

  28. "Don’t let negative feedback define you...And because I’m a Christian, I find my definition in Christ"

    Shortly after a writers' conference awards ceremony, I walked through a building doorway with two other women. One turned to me and said, "Didn't you win an award?" I smiled (seriously!) and said no. The third woman gaily told us she did. After congratulations, she gave us a beautiful smile and said, "I guess the Lord knew I needed validation for my writing." Arrow right through the heart.

    Fortunately, the wonderful keynote speakers challenged us, as I heard it, to serve the Lord and not ourselves in our writing life. Recalling their speeches and similar words to yours helped me respond with a grace far beyond my own.

    It's very easy to try to define oneself by writing successes or failures, but as you reminded us, our Father sees us through his Son, and not through our job. Thank you for passing on this great advice. And thanks for stopping by!

  29. "They aren’t there drooling and laughing maniacally to see how much they can tear you down,"

    Ronie, this struck me as such a funny picture. Thank you. It was a hard day. I needed that.

    That's a good point you made about confidence versus pride. One is sorely needed, the other is a huge hindrance.

  30. Kimberli, I am so sorry that happened. Terribly insensitive. It's *very* easy to let THINGS and accomplishments define us. Finding not only our confidence, but our identity in Him, we are on solid ground, The Rock. :-D

    Awww, Melanie. Sorry you had a hard day. So glad this post helped you out a bit.

    Thank you all so much for stopping by and sharing this day with me! Thank you, Seekerville, for letting me hang out. Just don't tell Ruth I ate all the chocolate. *wink*

  31. Thanks, Ronie, but I couldn't blame the gal, then or now. If it had been me, I would have been dancing in the halls singing, "See, I won. I'm a writer."

    Ew, looking back, perhaps it's best I didn't win, lol. Thanks again for some great advice.