Tuesday, January 22, 2013

“Why not me?” vs “It Could’ve/Should’ve Been Me!”

        “Why not me?” vs “It Could’ve/Should’ve Been Me!”

by Missy Tippens

Last week my daughter and I were watching videos on YouTube. She shared an amazing video of a group doing a Taylor Swift song. (I would share it, but it’s apparently been pulled.) The group was outstanding. The lead singer, in my opinion, was as good as Taylor (in her own way).

And a profound thought hit me:

Why not me?

Now before you picture me on stage with a microphone, that's not what I'm talking about. :) I started thinking about artists...which led me to think of writers. When both are talented, what’s the difference between that young woman in the video and Taylor? What's the difference between an unpublished writer and a published one? Maybe opportunity, persistence, “luck.” I don’t believe in luck,  but rather in God’s perfect timing. So maybe timing makes a difference. Maybe that young woman (or unpublished writer) will have her chance at later.

As I pondered what launches someone to success, I thought: BLOG IDEA!

Do we ask, “Why not me?” and then jump in to work hard on our writing, sending out submissions, trying new markets, taking risks? Or do we tend to let opportunities slip by and then wonder what could’ve happened? Do we get our noses bent out of join and think, “It could’ve been me.” Or worse, gripe with sour grapes and say, “It should’ve been me!”

I’m ashamed to say I’ve probably let opportunities slip by out of inaction or outright fear of acting.

For several months, as deadlines have allowed, I’ve worked on Saturday mornings on what I call my for-fun book. It’s a young adult story (I love reading YA and have done so for years!). When Tina Radcliffe started posting contest updates for contests that allowed published authors to enter as long as they’re not published in the category they enter, I got the urge to throw my YA out there. But I was terrified. I hem-hawed around and missed one contest deadline.

Then I decided to email my agent to see how she felt. Then, yet again, I chickened out on the next contest that came by.

...What if it’s really bad? And, OMGosh, my author name will be right there in writing on the entry form! Though judges won’t know who wrote the entry, someone could find out.

...What if they hate it and I get discouraged want to quit working on it, even though I feel God leading me to work on it?

...What if it finals, but then the editor sees it and hates it, ruining all future submissions to that editor?

And on and on…

All the excuses. All the irrational fears. Goodness, we’re writers, so we can get pretty creative in our worst case scenarios, can’t we?!

Another contest deadline approached. I needed to get a little of the “Why not me?” attitude. And I guess, in a way, God gave me the nudge I needed (as well as Tina reminding me of the contest again).

In a panic, I sent it off to my critique partners. They gave some great feedback on ways to polish. But neither of them read YA, which left me anxious. So I emailed Melanie Dickerson and Mary Connealy and begged them to take pity on me and read my first 15 pages. They were wonderful. Both read it asap and gave fantastic feedback on some changes that might help.

But best of all, they both said they loved it. It was the shot in the arm I needed. With their suggestions, I condensed the opening to fit more of the chapter in the entry. And, with shaking hands, I emailed that entry off. Now why hadn’t I done that sooner? Why had I missed two perfectly good opportunities?

Last week, as I watched the video with my daughter and saw that talented young woman sing her heart out, I decided I need a BIG DOSE of the “Why not me?” attitude. Instead of pursuing this writing career with hesitation and doubt, I want to learn to be fearless. I’m not talking stupidity here. I won’t mail off something before it’s ready. But I want to get rid of the self-doubt. Learn to get over rejection and failure quickly so I can move on and try again. (My One Word this year is Resilience.) Instead of cowering, I want to jump out there and say: Why not my YA?

Wow. What a mind blowing thought. :)

So what about you? What category do you fall into? Do you worry and figure good things aren’t ahead for you? Do you waste precious time and think thoughts like, “It should’ve been me!”?

Or do you jump in and work for all you’re worth thinking, “Why not me?”

UPDATE!!!!!! I just found out on Sunday that my YA entry tied for 3rd place in the Gotcha! Contest!! The top 4 (well, 5 with the tie) will be sent to Natashya Wilson at Harlequin Teen for review. :)

Okay, I had a little squeal of excitement, there. Now back to the post…

I hope you’ll share what category you fall in, or how you plan to move to the “Why not me?” category. And if you’d like to be entered to win a copy of A House Full of Hope (to prepare for the next Corinthia, GA, book, Georgia Sweethearts, coming in April from Love Inspired!), then in the comments, PLEASE TELL ME TO ENTER YOU.

BTW, don't you love my new cover?!! Georgia Sweethearts is available for Pre-order!

Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com


  1. Howdeeeee!
    There's coffeeeeee!

    I struggle with all these.


  2. Every time I hear of someone "getting in" it's just from them chugging along doing things with a "one day it will happen" attitude and then it's a whirlwind of God orchestrated activity that blows the person off of unpubbed island. It really is a persistence thing. But it can't be you if you quit--quit improving--quit throwing your neck out there.

    AND btw, I got my cover today for Book #1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If I were a girl prone to cry, I would have cried, instead, I've had this silly grin and a skip in my step all day. The cover has it's own internet tab up so I can keep toggling back to look at it. Very bad for writing productivity levels.

    Can't wait to show it off!

    Oh, and release dates. September for the novella and October for Book 1. Yay!!!!

  3. Hi Missy:

    In my book, “Stranded in a Cabin with a Romance Writer”, the hero’s best friend wants to be a country music singer and he has a voice as good as anyone out there. (He does clubs).

    He asks the hero, “why not me?” And the hero answers, “because you don’t have a signature song. You absolutely need a breakout original song that you will be forever linked to. It’s not enough to have talent. You must also have the vehicle to carry you to success.”

    The friend then says, “Write that song for me.” The hero writes the song, “Looking For A Hero” which is the first country song about the romance genre and it goes right to the top of the charts and his friend becomes a big star and marries the hero's sister!

    I actually wrote that song and sang it to a Seeker!!! She can attest that it really exists. (I’m serious.)

    I think this also applies to writing. It’s not enough to have talent. You need to write the right book. I’ve noticed that many first books today published by big traditional publishers tend to be better than many of the books that come after them. Books have to be way better than average to be purchased as a first book.

    Even if you can sing like Tanya Tucker, you still need your “Delta Dawn” to be noticed.


    P.S. I'd like a chance on your new book if a Kindle.

  4. Helen, I really need a cup of that coffee after reading this. Bless you! Melissa's post hits home... I'm the world's worst excuse-maker when it comes to querying (or entering contests). The insecurity is so debilitating.

    I'd love to be entered to win a copy of A House Full of Hope. The title itself makes me think that there is always hope. (And yes, the cover of Georgia Sweethearts is wonderful... so appealing!)

  5. Hi Missy, that cover is so sweet.

    I keep on reading Seekerville because one of these days it will all sink in and I will quit making excuses.

    Thank you so much.

  6. Congratulations in placing in the Gotcha Contest!

    Unfortunately, I'm a procrastanator and therefore I don't even come close to the 'Why not me'. I am working on it though.

    Congratulations on your cover Melissa! I'm sure that's exciting!

    Loved your post too Vince!

    Gotta get ready for work! You all have a wonderful day here in Seekerville!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  7. congrats on 3rd place.
    this applies to other aspects of life. I know I am guilty of the not trying syndrome at times.

  8. Missy, congrats to you!!!!!
    Tina is excellent for motivating people past their fear. I just love love the monthly contest updates here for that reason.

    Melissa, I can't wait to see the cover. Show it off, girl!

    I want Ruthy to be proud of me. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to write and wrote for 45 minutes before popping in here for some of Helen's coffee. =)

  9. Missy,
    Have a great day.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  10. Thanks Missy for this post.

    Fear is a very real factor. Last week I got my courage up and sent a proposal to an agent. Fear had been holding me back. I'll try to remember "why not me" next time I consider entering a contest or something equally scary.

    Congrats on your YA.

    Vince makes me think of, "Achy, Breaky, Heart," by Billy Ray Cyrus. Definitely his signature song.

    Melissa, congrats on getting your cover. Can't wait to see it.

    Y'all have a good day!

    Jackie L.

  11. I am a worrywart, always have been. It is hard work to get past it. But this year, like you, I am trying. I appreciate your post and sharing about the missed deadlines. It lets me know I will have to keep trying, even if I fail the first few times.

    But the "should've been me"s aren't part of who I am. I had an incident in high school that set the tone for not having that attitude.

    A girl in one of my classes, who competed in pageants, was complaining to one of her friends about not winning the weekend competition. She complained the girl who "looked exactly like me. I don't get it."

    That has stuck with me for almost 35 years. We are always more than one aspect of ourselves and envy never serves to advance our dreams. Only determination and a willingness to try harder.

    Peace, Julie

  12. Helen, thank you! I need some caffeine this morning!

    And I think we all struggle with all of them.

  13. Melissa, what a celebration!!! I'll just cry for you, how's that??

    :) And I'll get a big stupid grin!!

    Yay on the release dates, too!! I can't wait until you can share the cover!

  14. Vince, that's a great point that I hadn't really thought of! Not only does a writer need some talent, he/she also needs a great product. Yes, we all need our Delta Dawn.

    P.S. (in your honor) :) I loved that song ages ago when it was popular! Loved to womp it out singing like crazy. I think I really do have a wanna-be singer in me! :)

  15. Carol G, you'd be amazed at how freeing it is to overcome that debilitating fear. I'd suggest finding someone who'll hold you accountable and give you the shove you need. :)

    And of course, all of us here will bug you about it if you want. :)

  16. Mary Cline, TODAY'S THE DAY! Make the first move you apparently know you need to make!


  17. Cindy W, thank you! I'm really excited...and encouraged.

  18. Cindy W, thank you! I'm really excited...and encouraged.

  19. Jenny, thank you!

    And yes, this definitely carries over to other aspects of life beyond singing and writing. It can come into play when we apply for colleges, for jobs, and when we date/marry...etc.

  20. Nancy, you're right! Tina is a great motivator!

    Good for you for getting up with the chickens and Ruthy! That's part of the attitude I'm talking about. :) I hope you got a lot of good writing done.

  21. Jackie L, yay you!!!! Congrats on overcoming that fear. I know it feels good to have sent out your work!

    Of course, now the waiting comes... LOL!! Yes, that's part of the process, too. And aren't I nice to remind you? :)

  22. Julie, that's such a good example of what I was talking about. Such a good lesson for us to learn.

    You know, a thought just hit me. This also applies to losing weight or getting healthy. I can sit around all I want, wishing I could lose as easily as so-and-so or could be as active as so-and-so. Or being jealous that I don't look as cute in my clothes as so-and-so (Janet). :) But unless I get off the couch and do something, then it isn't going to happen. Wishes don't accomplish much!

  23. Missy!

    Congratulations on your final, and what perfect timing!

    I am in the "why not me?" category.

  24. Rose, thank you! And good for you for being in the "Why not me?" category. I think it's important to keep up the attitude and keep plugging away at the work.

  25. Way to go, Missy! A great example of how trying something new can lead us in exciting directions :)

  26. Love your cover and blog today, Missy!

    Yes, why not you...why not me...why not all of us?

    The Golden Heart, inspy category, came to mind this morning. How many folks didn't enter because they didn't think a final was possible. So the category didn't make quota and folded. Such a shame. Perhaps one or two more entries could have made the difference. Those entries may have finaled.

    I'm all about pep talks this year. I AM a writer. I CAN write whatever is my heart's desire.

    I'm adding my HOPE to your RESILIENCE.

  27. MISSY--what a great post! You covered both sides of that "Why not me?" question so well. Thanks for the boost of encouragement this morning. Such a great perspective to keep in mind.

    MELISSA--woohoo for you! I can hardly wait to see your cover. And release dates!! How exciting!

    NANCY--you're a girl after my own heart. 4:00 a.m. is one of my favorite hours of the day for writing. :)


    I'm so stinkin' proud of you! And I love YA.... and fantasy.... and I believe that God doesn't send talent to be wasted or wanted...

    He sends it to be used, wrung out and used again!

    Go Get 'Em, Tiger!!!

  29. Melissa, that's just such a wonderful feeling!

    Oh, yay, YOU!!!!!

    I can't wait to see it and READ them!!!!


  30. I'm living up to my hair color (now a dusty blonde) today. First, I completely forgot to wish you a very happy birthday yesterday, Missie. I hope it was a great one! I got into the Jeopardy game and refused to look at comments until I finished it. Which meant I never looked at comments yesterday because I ran out of time to finish the game. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Secondly, I never answered your questions (shakes her head and sighs). First, I tend to vascillate between hoping and believing there are good things ahead for me on this writing road and "How could I ever think I was a writer?" One thing that has helped build my confidence was finaling in two contests last fall. Tina and another friend both told me, "You're not a newbie anymore. You are a contest diva." Those words have boosted my confidence. I can walk this road with God's help, a heart that is willing to learn and great friends who give me a kick in the patootie when I need it (or an encouraging word).

    Thanks again for your post today, Missie.

  31. OH! AND CONGRATULATIONS on your final with your YA. That is so exciting! AND, I love your cover.

    AND, I'd love to be entered into the drawing for either of your books. :)

  32. Love to be entered, but just won the Virginia Gift Basket! Maybe next time.
    Sometimes we can be "Why not me" and "it should have been me" at the same time, I am ashamed to say. In other words, we or at least I can be working hard with a goal and still be jealous of another writer. Of course sometimes we also light a candle while simultaneously cursing the dark. It can be done...It is a tough balancing act, because we have to study markets and be aware of opportunities, especially in this changing market, but we also have to wait on God and write the best book we can, without looking at other people's success. We have to be "out there," but not look at the publishing world and opporunities the way secular writers do. I didn't deliberately choose a word this year, but looks like mine is going to be "balance."

  33. Um, re the above, I'm Kathy Bailey.
    And I have one more thought. Seekerville is helpful because you've all been there, and when I interact with you I know "It can be me."
    Kathy Bailey
    Unpubbed in New Hampshire

  34. Congrats on the YA finaling, Missy!! Wooo hoo!

    I DO hope that next year more unpubbeds will enter the inspirational Golden Heart -- otherwise, I think two years in a row of cancelling due to a shortage of entries will mean they'll discontinue it altogether and we likely won't ever get it back. :(

  35. I see more comments but must run out the door for a while! I'll catch up later! Meanwhile, y'all have fun without me. Maybe you can make fun of Connealy while I'm gone. Ruthy can spearhead it.


  36. Congrats on placing in the Gotcha, Missy.

    And thanks for the motivation this morning. I think every writer needs a gentle nudged now and then.

    Recently, I attended a Sidewalk Prophets concert and noticed the drummer was really good. Since the second book in my series has a main character who is a drummer. I wanted to ask Justin Nace a few questions, but hesitated because duh I'm little ol' me and he's the drummer of Sidewalk Prophets. Plus how would I meet him? Storm backstage like some psycho groupie? On my way to the restroom after their set and another band was setting up, guess who was in the hallway? Yep, Justin Nace. Don't you just love those God moments?
    Anyway we exchanged emails and he is a really nice guy and very helpful.

    So, who has Justin Nace on their professionals for research list...why not me?

    And as a bonus, I get to brag to the youth in our church that I know him personally.

  37. My day starts good when Helen is first...you know, you just come to expect certain things and when it's not there? When i read the title i thought...that goes well with my life this past year. Reading the post and the comments gave a different slant to the title. i am sure i am blogging this to death with my Mom in the hospital 5 months ago, but even while she lay in a coma on life supports, others younger were dying in car accidents, or otherwise, and i often wondered why did God choose to answer YES to our prayers? i am thankful He did, and know it was because her work was not yet done. Now she is back almost to where she was 6 months ago!

  38. Oh, i really really would love to win! Thanks for the giveaway!

  39. Missy, that's so exciting about your final in the Gotcha! I think it's great that more contests are opening up to writers not published in the genre they want to enter. For anyone thinking about branching out, it's an opportunity to test the waters (is that a mixed metaphor or what???).

    And that is SUCH a bummer about the Golden Heart not receiving enough entries. The year I entered the GH, I was so blissfully ignorant about the odds that I was definitely thinking "Why not me?" And look what happened!

    Even better, the GH is the whole reason Tina, Janet, Julie, and I connected in the first place--AND what eventually brought us together with the other Seekers.

  40. Congrats on the YA finaling, Missy! I love YA as well but have become somewhat disillusioned by the direction a huge chunk of that market has taken.

    I also find it interesting that a published author would have the same misgivings as an unpublished writer.

    My one word is restoration and it's what's going to get me through the worry and fear this year. I'm striving to break that negative cycle and stop and think about the opporunties God is providing me with no matter what the situation. I'm looking to Him to restore instead of the inevitable destruction that comes from relying on me alone.

  41. I tend to be one of those people that keep trying, no matter what...that's not always a good thing. I feel I've been led to write so I keep on going, rejection after rejection...on and on. Please enter me to win your book, I would love to read it. mistyred1968@yahoo.com

  42. Make fun of Connealy????




    Jeanne, I can identify with your feelings. We all can. And right after I read yours, I read Kathy Bailey's and that final line, "It can be me."

    And it can.

    It's all about not giving up or giving in.

    And not letting negative voices (and don't fool yourself, they're everywhere... And some are cleverly disguised as "helpful"... Like cyanide) dwell within you.

    Fill you heart, your soul with the oil of gladness and belief.

    Then expect to lose, LOL!

    Because one PUSHES you... the other, strengthens you.

    You need both in this biz.

  43. Marianne, what a beautiful testimony. Love and service go hand in hand.

    Course, it's much easier when everything just motors along, smooth-like.

    But that isn't always the case, is it?

    You made Helen smile about the coffee! And I'm so stinkin' proud of her, working so hard and pushing herself out of her comfort zone this year....

    It usually takes that. At least that.

    God bless you and you Mama!

  44. Congrats on the new book coming out, Missy! And I'm so excited your book finaled! Yay! You'll have to let me know what Natashya Wilson says!!! Exciting!

    And happy birthday again!!!

    And I'm so excited today!!! It's Release Day for The Fairest Beauty and already this morning I read an amazing review that made my day, and there's an article on USAToday.com that recommends The Fairest Beauty along with two other fairy tale retellings. Yay! ;-)

  45. How exciting, Missy! Congratulations on the final. And, thank you for such an encouraging article!


  46. WOW, MISSY, I'd have to say I've nailed all three with true excellence!! ;)

    You said: "My One Word this year is Resilience. Instead of cowering, I want to jump out there and say: Why not my YA? Wow. What a mind blowing thought. :)"

    YES ... it IS a "mind blowing thought"!!! My one word this year was "passion," but while sitting in church on Sunday, God changed it to "fire" ... as in "jumping" into the fire, burning the “Why not me?/It Could’ve/Should’ve Been Me!”s away until I'm totally on fire for Him and His direction for me. "Fired-Up," so to speak, to coin a Mary Connealy title, burning away the dross till the right attitude prevails.

    SUPER CONGRATS on the win in the Gotcha Contest, Missy, and I have to say -- The Georgia Sweethearts cover is one of my FAVES of all your covers, my friend!!


  47. At the risk of being a brat -- which is no risk at all since everybody knows I am -- I would like to say ...


    I'm the Seeker who had the TOTAL PRIVILEGE of hearing Vince sing and not only that, but hearing all about his book "Stranded in a Cabin with a Romance Writer,” which had me GLUED to the earpiece in the phone chat Vince and I had. I simply cannot wait to see this book in print because if you can imagine, everything that makes Vince so great, is in this book in spades, along with a hefty dose of humor and fun.

    Go, Vince!!!


  48. Ahh Missy that cover looks like a great picnic is going to happen soon, glad you finally got that story in and they awarded for your efforts...
    I love to read your books so put me in your drawing please.
    Why not me, I am sure we have all been there but the older I get I step out a little more thinking "Why NOT me" I can do it too.
    thanks for sharing today...
    Paula O

  49. And I should have said, this is a great post, Missy! We do have to be proactive and believe that God will bless us and bless our hard work! Why NOT me! And it is so, so easy to fall into those "It should've been me"s. So painful, which is why I try very hard to avoid those!!! Still, it's hard, especially when someone else gets exactly what we wanted! But I can attest, even when you think that is what happened, God can still give you something even better if you take your hurt AND your desires to Him!

  50. This is all kinds of awesome, Missy!! I can relate to everything you said. In fact, I think last year was my year of "Not me." This year? I'm flying high on "Why not me?"

    Congrats on 3rd place! Woo-hoo!!


    I think the 'Why Not Me?' way of thinking is all part of TOUGHNESS.
    As we work, pitch, submit, get rejected, lose contests, we get tough and that pain of rejection and failure, while still bad, isn't so shocking. We get used to it and aren't cut quite so deeply by it.
    We grow a rhino hide.

    That's when we start to; Take a chance. Cast our bread on the waters. Why not me?

    I know it hurts to be rejected. Oh wow do I know how much it hurts. But stick to it. Spread your wings, even in hunting season.

    What is this? A hobby?

    I'm glad I can fill in the gap while Missy is out....what? Tippens? Picking peaches--it's Georgia, I believe there's a law everyone has to pick peaches at least 12 hours a week?

    Unwrapping more birthday presents?

    Being a 'woman of a certain age' who writes stories with young adults in them??? (In a completely non-creepy way of course)

  53. Why not me?

    That was the question I asked myself two-plus years ago when I started writing my first book.

    I had the time, I knew how to write, I had a story in mind - why not sit down and write it?

    And that book is being released in May.

    I guess you know which category I fall into!

    Congrats on the final for your YA!!!

  54. Congrats on finaling, Missy!

    I feel like I'm saying "Why Not Me?" all the time. The only thing not happening is that prepping other stuff for submission fast enough.

    (Granted, I do admit to being a little down today as the Inspirational category in the Golden Heart was squelched for 2013.)

  55. GO MISSY!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hopping over to look at the GOTCHA winners, I think I only recognize one of the inspy names [I thought it didn't announce until next weekend].

    Golden Heart didn't have enough Inspy entries - how many could it have had if people would have said 'why not me?' [haven't read comments yet but I'm sure it's been mentioned].


  56. Wonderful points, Missy!! I've never been afraid to enter a contest. In fact before I was published, I used contests for feedback on a new project. However as a published author, I can see testing a new genre would make me feel vulnerable. Congratulations on the YA final!! Proud of you!

    Fear does take hold of me. Fear that the next book won't measure up. Fear that I don't have what it takes. When we're writing for God, we need to remember the enemy wants us stopped. What better way than to undermine our confidence.

    I've noticed that famous singers have their own sound. Others can mimic them but don't have their own unique voice so never find fame. Much like a writer needs her/his own voice. Willie Nelson may not appeal to you, but he has loads of fans of those who love that gravely emotional voice.

    Vince, you made an excellent point. Successful singers and writers need a strong debut song or book. Some vocalists were one song wonders. We writers have seen that happen too. No wonder fear creeps in.


  57. Melissa, I understand the thrill of seeing a cover!! Show it off in Seekerville!


  58. Walt, I'm sorry about RWA cancelling the GH inspirational category. No wonder you're bummed. If only a few more writers had taken the risk.


  59. Fearless, Missy. We are fearless!!!

    We are wearing capes and cowls and fashionable boots. We are more than conquerors!!!!!

  60. And Melissa I cannot wait to see your cover!~!!!!

  61. On Topic

    God looked down upon the earth and could hear half the people asking, “Why not me, Lord?” He could also hear the other half asking, “Why me, Lord?”

    Then a voice came out of the sky, “Next time, I’m not going to let humans invent the question!”

    This reminds me of a very good retort. William Ewer is said to have commented thus: “How Odd of God to Choose the Jews” whereupon a good fellow said, “Not odd of God. Goyim annoy’im.”

    Maybe sometimes we just ‘annoy’im’!

    I’m not sure if it’s kosher
    but I think most would agree
    to take joy and be gladdened
    by making fun of Connealy
    would be like Leo Durocher
    saying nice guys finish last.
    He never said that but
    no one will let it pass.

    (Analyze that one! : ))


    P.S. Plotting Bootcamp Chat Tonight.

  62. Tina cracks the whip!

    Last year Tina was cracking the whip very snappily to get everyone to enter contests. Not just one contest mind you…lots of them. And with some of them, you only had two days notice before the deadline! I didn’t have anything polished but if I waited to get them polished, I’d never enter any contest. So I sent my diamonds in the rough to contests anyway.

    While I was getting high scores in some categories, I was also getting 4 and 5 (out of 10) in professional presentation. Several judges, bless them, sent me notes, “You can’t send a contest entry in with this many typos. You have to get a CP.”

    Then I thought, well why not send them in? The judges are finding lots of typos for me. I would then fix them for the next contest. After a few contests with the help of many judges, I managed to final in my last contest.

    Once you realize you don’t have to win, life gets a lot easier. In addition to really good proof reading, I received very valuable comments on how to improve my story. I practically like the judge who wrote, “your hero is a chauvinist jerk.” I don’t think she realized I was writing a comedy. He was pretending to be a chauvinist jerk to tweak the heroine. (It sure tweaked that judge!)

    I think contests are the best writing value for the money. You win if the entry improves your writing. I think I’m a much better writer today thanks to Tina and the ‘just do it’ philosophy.


  63. OHhhhhh, YES!!!!

    I love this post!

    I'm so happy you've followed your heart and written your for-fun book!!!

    You can't let anybody stand on your creativity. And I love Melanie and Mary for encouraging you!!!

    I have some encouragers (one I just met) who remind me regularly, that the person I need to account to, in the end, is God. When God puts a story on your heart, you'd better not shelve it. :) In the face of fear, or obstacles or naysayers or other unmentionables... God knows best.

    I love my YA series but it's on hold for right now... And I have a middlge grade fiction I wrote for my son, but that will probably be in e-book.

    But my Christian romance series (starting with Pride, prejudice and Cheese Grits) has really been a dream for me for years.

    I love working with LI and knowing if I keep my brand with them clear and my work up to speed, I can multi-task to my heart's content. I've never been one to be afraid.

    And Walt, I'm so sorry about the GH. That is such a blow to writers wishing to get in front of judges.

    But I've read your work and I'm convinced it will happen. In God's perfect timing.

  64. Vince! My hero. YOU GET IT!

    I don't have time for a critique group and sometimes it's more chat than work. I pay to enter a contest and get a cold read with no strings attached and no need to clean the house and make brownies or even take a shower to meet at the coffeeshop and no need to read anyone else's stuff in return.

    A very good deal!!

  65. Congrats, Missy! How exciting for you!

    Thanks for sharing your inner angst. It's nice to know that even published authors have fears!

    Congrats, Melissa, on your cover. Can't wait to see it! I'm sure that's every new author's dream - to see their first cover!

    Can't believe it about the Golden Heart. How sad for the inspy entrants. Now I wish I'd entered. Maybe next year.

    Don't enter me, Missy. Already read your lovely book!


    P.S. Prayers would be appreciated for my son who has had almost 3 weeks of constant migraine headaches and is likely going to miss his semester exams. Wish I could take the headaches for him.

  66. Thank you, Missy, for this post. I so agree with Vince. I'm a better writer today, too, because of Tina's motivational posts and my just do it attitude. But I can't forget to mention Tina's fab critiques. And all that feedback from contests has been well worth the expense. Congratulations on placing third in the Gotcha, Missy.

  67. Missy, thank you for this post. I love hearing from those of you who have been where I am at. I bet you have a great YA voice. But please don't quit writing for LI! And please enter me.

    Susan, praying for your son. I've been whining because I had three migraines in the last week. I can't imagine having one for three weeks! I have a heart for young people who have them.

  68. Okay, I've read Melissa's book 1. It's wonderful, I can't wait to read the novella, and hold book one in my hand (several copies because that's all I'm buying for Christmas 2013).

    My "Why not me?" Excuse is I'm a terrible procrastinator. My husband preached to me about it again yesterday...really preached. I trust someone else needed it too, or God would have had him preach it at home.

    I'd love to win the book.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  69. I've been in both groups, but I am moving into the "Why no me?" group by committing to writing this year. My one word is LIGHT--for many reasons, but in this case, my writing will see LIGHT as I put words on the page (or computer screen). I'd like to be entered to win your book. Thank you, Missy!

  70. Seriously, Tina. Go ahead and shower whether anyone's coming over or not. I'm begging you.

  71. Oh, Sherida...

    I love that 'one word'.



  72. Hi Virginia:

    I’m really worried now!

    I’m just like professor, Ransom Fielding, in your book, “Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits”. In fact, I’m way worse. I not only had rules for being in my class, I made the students initial next to each rule and then sign the whole thing. At least, I did give my students -- who brought food into class -- two choices: they could eat it outside in the hall or the whole class could wait and watch them eat it. They all chose the hall.

    That heroine, Shelby Roswell, should have never undermined another teacher’s discipline like she did! I’m furious! Besides you have my mind jumping all around: is the professor supposed to be Shelby Foote? Is that why the heroine’s name is Shelby? Is your pen name Hathaway because that was Shakespeare’s wife’s maiden name or, like me, are you a big fan of Anne Hathaway the actress? Is the professor’s name Fielding because Austen admired Henry Fielding? Did you pick the name Roswell because the heroine is kind of UFO flakey?

    Don’t answer any these questions!

    I’ll get to the bottom of this and then I’ll read the book again just for the fun of it. To quote Tom Brown about Dr. Feel, "Non amo te, Sabidi, (Shelby)”


  73. P.S. I know that should be Dr. Fell. Mea culpa.

  74. Non amo te, Sabidi
    I do not love you, Sabidius

    (for those of us who are not fluent in Latin)

  75. Congratulations!!!! Missy!!!! So excited that you finaled in the Gotcha!

    And your post touched a chord with me, too. It is so stinkin' easy to sit back and say, "I'm not good enough..." etc. But sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump. It might be in the deep end of the swimming pool, but if you can't swim, that's what the lifeguard is there for. And in my humble opinion, Seekerville makes a great lifeguard for those shark infested waters around unpubbed island!

    Vince, the more I hear about your book, the more I want to read it. Hurry up and get it published. Okay? :-)

    And a bit of news from my little corner...
    My first book signing is tonight, in the very library where I work. It's cool and scary all at the same time. Nervous is my middle name today.


  77. Veni. Vidi. Vici.

    I took Latin in High School.

    It didn't occur to me until I realized my instructor was 108 years old that it is a dead language.

    Et, tu, Connealy??

  78. Yea, Clari! I hope your signing goes wonderfully! Just have fun with the people coming. :)

  79. Vince--

    You know I love to make a completely unlikable heroine. This books isn't for those seeking the perfect heroine.

    She definitely should NOT have busted in. HAHAHA! And we get to laugh at her as she realizes it.

    OOOOOO! Nothing worse than admitting you've done wrong to your worst enemy. Grrrrr.

    I've worked in academia and HATED people eating in class. Huge pet peece. I'm Rebecca in this book.

    And yes, Shelby for Shelby Foote, you smart man. I won't say why the Hathaway. :)Yes, Fielding. And Roswell because I have a map near my desk and I name characters for cities.

    Geez. I have no secrets from you. :) At least, name-wise.

    But I so adore a bad character who thinks she's good and then turns better when she realizes how bad she really is... got that?

  80. Oh, Clari, I dreaded (really, really dreaded) my book signing.

    And it was huge fun!!!!

    I bet you'll have a great time!

    (Bring chocolate as giveaways. That makes everyone happy.)

  81. This comment has been removed by the author.

  82. VIRGINIA: Thanks!

    MISSY: Congratulations on your YA! I hope all are home safely.

    SUSAN: Prayers for your son.

    MELISSA: Great news about your cover!

    GOLDEN HEART: Yes, learning that there were not enough entries was certainly a "should have" moment. Sorry to those who entered.....Let's try for NEXT year!!!

    TINA: Please keep me on your list for encouragement to enter contests! I won one in a "Why not me" moment, but I need more "push" to try again.


  83. Sherida, the next Contest Update is February 1. I don't encourage however, I kick buns and take names. LOL.

  84. Clari, how exciting about your book signing! Hope it's a huge success!

  85. TINA: That's what I need! I'll watch for FEB 1!

  86. I'm finally back! I'm sorry to be away so long. I drove 2 hours to take the grand-dog back to my son. :) We've been dog sitting for 3 weeks while he had two work trips. We had a wonderful time catching up, so I didn't want to interrupt to get online. Then I drove 2 hours back home! yes, I love that dog--and my son, of course. LOL

  87. Thanks, Mia and Debby!

    And Debby, thank you for the pep rally! You're so right! :)

    Jeanne, I'm glad it was encouraging!

    Ruthy, thank you! I like being called a tiger by you, the queen of go-getters! :)

  88. Jeanne, I think your friends are right! You're officially broken in now with contest finals. :) Don't you love being a diva??!!

  89. Hi Clari:

    I know you don’t have much time but here are two good articles on having a book signing you can find right here in Seekerville:

    Are You Ready for your book signing


    How to Avoid Book Signing Disaster


    I’ve been to many book signings. I’ve had a few nonfiction ones myself at seminars. Here are some questions, from insensitive people, you may need to be ready for:

    How much money do you make a book? (They do ask this).

    “Oh, I don’t talk about my income, do you?”

    Do you know (name of an author.)

    Yes, they want to talk about some other author that they are interested in and not talk about you!)

    “I’m so busy trying to write the best books possible, I don’t get out to meet many other authors.”

    Do you mean you’ve only written one book? (Forewarned is forearmed.)

    “I’ve written many books, this is just the first one to come out. Would you like to get on the mailing list for the others when they release?”

    Is your goal to someday write a real book? (These people don’t like romances and they don’t like anyone else to like them.)

    Pick up a copy of your book, tap the table with it, and say, “It’s hard to think of any book that is more real than this one. Oh, is it available as an ebook? Is that what you mean?”

    I’m working hard on my “Stranded” book. I’m rewriting the first chapter to introduce the heroine first as many judges wanted. It’s much better this way. Good luck on your big event!


  90. Kaybee, you're right. It's such a balance. I want to depend on God, yet at the same time be strong enough to do my part without fear.

    And yes, I still get jealous. I hate to admit that. :)

    Thanks for your insight!

  91. Kathy B, I'm glad it helps to know we're all in this together and can help each other!

  92. Glynna, thank you! And yes, next year we want to make sure to encourage everyone to enter the GH!

  93. Bridgett, that is such a cool story! Yes, I love those God moments. Why not you?! :)

  94. Marianne, those are questions we all ask. And it's just not possible to understand with our human minds. Still, no matter the outcome, we God is good and sits on the Throne.

    I'm so glad to hear the good news on your mom!

  95. Tina:

    Latin is not dead. Look how many people on Seekerville use Latin. Besides the problem is that Latin has intermarried so many times it has lost its identity. Take the Latin out of many languages and there won’t be enough left to make much sense.


    P.S. I just got a beautiful certificate in the mail for being a Finalist in Contemporary Romance. Do you know what this means? I’m entitled to a rose at the next WIN ACFW’s meeting. I just wish Myra were still there to give me my rose. That would make it perfect. : )

    Missy: Do they give roses at your club? Congrats on the YA. I’m a big fan of YA. I like the younger YA – still in high school the best. : )

  96. Myra, I think I started with the "why not me?" attitude. But about the time I tied for 35th out of 36 places in my first contest, my attitude got crushed. LOL I've had to work to get it back!

  97. Congratulations, Missy! It's so brave to venture into the unknown. I've started a romantic mystery for a change of pace, so I know what you mean about writing something unfamiliar. But it's fun to 'expand your horizons."

  98. Kav, thank you! My story is a girl power story with some sweet romance. I feel called to help girls build self-esteem, to be strong and confident in the fact God loves them just the way they are. I hope there's a market for that! :)

    I like your One Word. I'll be praying for that restoration.

  99. Hi Julie:

    Thanks for the wonderful comments about my song and book. I was going to leave it up to you disclose my singing. : )

    Enough judges wanted me to introduce the heroine first so I am rewriting now for the next contest. Heroine wakes up, opens the cabin door, and looks right in the eyes of a mama bear with really bad breath. She slams the door and does not know what to do. Then the hero shows up on his motorcycle and the bears run away. Now heroine is really motivated to have him around the place if not exactly inside the cabin with her.

    He pulls up on his motorcycle, she comes out of the cabin, and he says, “I apologize if I scared your bears away. Are you one of those ladies who talk to the animals?”

    And so it goes.


  100. Thank you, Vince! I appreciate the information and the ammunition. :-)
    I'm definitely forearmed now. (hee, hee!)

  101. Misty R, I'm glad you have the ability to stick with it! That's huge in this business. I wrote for nearly 12 years before I sold. And most of the people I know wrote for several years before that first sale. So hang in there! You're doing a good job.

  102. Ruthy said:
    Fill you heart, your soul with the oil of gladness and belief.
    Then expect to lose, LOL!
    Because one PUSHES you... the other, strengthens you.
    You need both in this biz.

    Missy says: you're waxing poetic like Vince today! I love that quote!

  103. MELANIE, THAT'S WONDERFUL NEWS!!!! I can't wait to get your book!

    Do you remember my Bible study leader who I got you to autograph a book for at ACFW? Well, she LOVED it and can't wait for the next. :)

  104. Vince, I'm stealing your book signing tips. I'm scheduled for February 6. :)

  105. Thanks, Hallee! I'm glad you found it helpful.\

    Julie, what a great word God had for you Sunday! I love to hear you so fired up. It always inspires me! And it reminds me to always come back to the fact God is in control. I just need to do my part.

  106. I think I fall into the Why Not Me area. My husband and I started a business and a shoe string. Seriously we didn't have much but he had the know how and some of the equipment. I had management skills and we threw it together. We did great until he was in a terrible accident in September 2011. You don't know if you can do it until you try.

    I would love to be entered in the contest for the book.

    MinDaf @ Aol.com

  107. Paula O,

    Georgia Sweethearts SPOILER ALERT!!

    Actually, that picnic table isn't the site of a picnic. It's actually the site of their first kiss!

    So, y'all just be sure to forget it before the book comes out.

  108. Melanie, what a beautiful way to state it! God can give us better than we ever imagined.

  109. Jill K, I'm so glad this is going to be a better year for you! Your excitement is contagious!

  110. SNORT!!!! Mary, you made me nearly spew on the keyboard, and I'm not even drinking anything! LOLOL

    Yes, I write YA in an entirely UN-creepy way. :)

    And yes, I also agree about what you said about our rhino hide. We must build it.

  111. Jan, good for you! I'm so glad you're keeping that attitude!

    Walt, I'm so sorry about the contest. I just hate it. I'd suggest y'all go for moving to another category. I've finaled in a contest before in another category (although it wasn't the GH).

  112. Carol, thank you for celebrating with me! :)

    Janet, what a great point about voice! We all have to find our own. That's what makes us stand apart.

    Amen, Tina! Man, I wish I had used my superwoman photo in the blog! :)

  113. LOL, Vince! Yes, I know that I must annoy Him. :)

  114. Vince, amen to Tina cracking the whip! And yes, contests really can help. Especially if we've toughened up and can take the feedback.

  115. Virginia, you're my hero now. You'll be my inspiration to be fearless!! :)

    Still so excited about your ebook! Now to find the time to read...


  116. Sue, so sorry to hear about your son. Sending up prayers right now! I get migraines and know how awful they are.

  117. Pat Jeanne, thank you!

    Donna, YES! I want to keep writing for LI!! I'm working on revising a proposal right now. The YA has been my Saturday project. :)

  118. Andrea, you can do it! I'm a procrastinator, too. I have to fight it all the time.

    Sherida, I love that word: Light! I'm so glad your writing will see the light this year!

  119. Gotta run again! Will finish later! I'll leave it with Mary and Tina tormenting each other. Or maybe Vince. :)

  120. Love this post and your new cover!
    Congratulations on your Gotcha placement!

  121. Missy, I'm considering moving my manuscript. However, the only option open is historical. My biggest concern is having a judge think "wrong category" and not realizing that the inspirational category is no more. Had I won or placed in a historical category in any contest before, I would do it immediately. Not having done so, I'm thinking my money may be better spent elsewhere. (I'm thinking of using the money to test a new manuscrpt that's never seen a contest before.)

  122. Please enter me to win A House Full of Hope. I think I have one of your books.

    Why not me? and it could've been me! I'm a bit of both.

    Your mention of YouTube and music made me think that if we could all sing we'd all have at least one C.D. out there. We could record it at home and sell it online!

  123. Missy
    congrats on the Gotcha placement. way cool confirmation that your for-fun writing is a God thing.

    i think i've always been in the "why not me?" place - just haven't disciplined myself to the point of taking action in the positive direction (no action kind of slides one backwards, i've discovered) Guess what my one word is? yep DISCIPLINE

    the woulda, coulda, shoulda syndrome reminds me of a sign i saw attached to a post of a woodworker's booth at an Art Show down at the Beach. He had rather simple, yet well crafted pieces to sell. His sign?

    "Sure, you could make it - but WILL you?"

    To which I say after reading this post... "I WILL, I WILL!"

    i adore reading Vince's comments. happen to be laughing at how people tease the Connealy. free entertainment for my daily dose of healthy laughter. good for the soul.

  124. Loved your post, Missy, and CONGRATS on being a Finalist! Please toss my name in the drawing for your book (and I'm so excited about your Georgia book's release too--plan to purchase it for sure). Hugs, Patti Jo
    P.S. Sorry I'm sooo late chiming in today...very sad day (oldest kitty died today--She used to be my Daddy's cat, and today was also the 6-year anniv. of his passing...). I like to think of the kitty with Daddy again, sitting on his lap in Heaven.*smile*

  125. Clari, I somehow missed your comment! I hope the book signing went great!! I'm sure it did.

    Vince, I wish I'd had your advice before my one of my early speaking engagements. I was NOT prepared for the "how much money do you make" question! LOL

  126. Vince, we do give roses at our Georgia Romance Writers meetings for first sales. Our ACFW chapter sometimes does it as well.

    Yes, this YA is set in high school. My character is a senior.

  127. Missy, super big congratulations on the contest placing leading up to Natashya Wilson reading it. Way to go, girlfriend!!

    Everything is in God's perfect timing-even the periods of silence. Keep at it sweetstuff. Your YA stories ROCK!

  128. Crystal, I'm sorry to hear about your husband's accident! I hope he's doing better now.

  129. Debra, thank you!!

    Walt, it's a tough decision. Getting feedback on a new mss might be the way to go.

  130. Michelle F, I've got you entered.

    Deb H, YES! You will, you will!

    And yes, it's so fun to tease Mary. She always gives me a daily dose of laughter. I often credit her with adding years to my life. :)

  131. Oh, Patti Jo, I'm so sorry. We had to have our 12-year-old lab put to sleep on Thursday, and it's still very hard.

  132. Why not you indeed!! Very well done.

  133. I didn't make it here yesterday, Missy, but better late than never. Congratulations on your win :)

  134. Ooooo, Vince ... I like it!!! :)


  135. Yay Missy, congratulations. I am so happy for you and wishing you much success with your YA. And this is an excellent post that came at the perfect time for me.

    I catch myself with the self-doubt problem of "it can't be me because", but with terrific critique partners and lots of prayers, I'm taking on the "why not me?" attitude.

    A minister who was preaching on promises from God said, "I would rather fail at something than succeed at nothing."

    For me personally, I feel guilty if I don't do something with what I believe God gave me (my writing). It may not harm anyone else, but it harms me and my relationship with Him, because I'm being disobedient.

    That doesn't mean, "poof", I'll be published. It means I'm doing like you, and putting my work out there. It is the most public way to show I'm moving toward my goal of getting published.

  136. Mary and Annie, I'm glad you stopped by!

    KD, I love what you said! Yes, I feel like I have to be obedient in working on this story and sending it out for feedback. What happens with it is in His hands.

  137. Don't y'all forget to check the weekend edition for the winner of A House Full of Hope.

  138. WAHOOO and congrats, Missy!!!! And Happy Birthday again! This was a terrific post. (I've been using May's word lately a lot more than mine.) ;D

  139. I would love to win,Enter me!!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
    Sarah Richmond

  140. Great post Missy. God is in the process of moving me beyond the worry and to take more chances, and most importantly to TRUST in Him. I read this quote on the first day of our 25th anniversary trip to Florida. It's from James MacDonald. "Trust is the antidote to anxiety; it's the resolution of worry and the destruction of fear." So even when I can't see, I'm working at trusting in Him instead of worrying.

    It was easy to trust while on vacation, not so easy when I came back hoping to receive 'the call' from an editor and instead had an email in my inbox asking for another set of revisions. Satan tried his best to tell my I'll never make it and I should just give up on writing...but I choose to trust that God has led me on this path for a reason.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    Jodie Wolfe

  141. Jodie, revisions are fantastic! That means the editor is investing in you. I did two sets of revisions before I made my first sale. So take heart!

  142. Congratulations! That's so exciting! Yeah, I would fall in the category of playing it safe. I should be out there going back to my writing or trying to get myself out there. Thanks for the reminder!

    Please enter me in the drawing. :)