Wednesday, November 04, 2015

IWSG Wednesday


Please thank our awesome co-hosts for this month, Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson
Co-hosts are wonderful beings who enjoy helping make this blog "hop" a success, so make sure you visit and thank them for all that they do, as well as our Ninja Captain, Alex himself...

For this month’s IWSG post, I have some introspection I’d like share. What does it mean to win an award? How many writing awards are out there and is there a list of those who “count/matter” and those who don’t?
I don’t know. I just know what it feels like to (finally!) win one! A Royal Palm Literary Award, first place in mystery, from the Florida Writers Association's annual competition. To win a contest where no one who knows me is amazing. That my work was judged by no one who has anything to gain by liking what I wrote, that's a wow. I love this feeling about winning an award.

On the other hand, I made the mistake, perhaps, of reading the rubrics (I should have waited until I wasn’t working on the current WIP) from the judges who commented on the other novel I entered that did not win. Depressing. Not because they were mean. Contrarily, they were professional about what they said and I could see truth in some of the comments, which made me feel terrible.
However, “it’s too late to turn back now.” What I learned from this is that I may not be able to go back and change what is already out there, but I can learn from what I did and did not do and make this next novel that much better. I’ve decided to take that route and get over my pity party, as soon as I can, which probably won’t be for another few days. I know myself. I need to grieve and dwell. Then I can move on.
How do you handle criticism, no matter how “constructive?”


  1. Hi Lisa - it's always difficult .. sometimes it's mulling it over and then taking the 'good' bits of the criticism and leaving the rest behind. As you say you will move on ... congratulations on your achievement though - it's brilliant .. cheers Hilary

  2. Anonymous3:24 AM

    Congratulations again on your award, Lisa. I know you deserved it! As for criticism, it hurts, no matter how constructive it is. Without it though, we wouldn't get far in writing, would we? You and the fellowship are the first to ever read any of my writing and it petrified me. At least I got over the fear a little, and was able to grow a tougher skin because of it. Now I put out more of my stuff, even though I know I still have a long way to go. We may not like it, but it's a necessity that will make us better at what we do. I love you!!! Eva

  3. So awesome you won the award. I don't think it matters where an award falls on the scale. They are all important.
    I don't mind reading reviews of my books because they show me where I need to improve for the next one.

  4. I try to learn from it. It's much easier to say than do, but criticism does give insight into how people perceive our stories and that's valuable.

  5. Criticism is hard to take no matter how seasoned a writer you are:) I think I can receive it much better now that I have a whole slew of critique partners and beta-readers. If you go cold turkey into some of these contests, i think you are in for a real shock! I won an award last year. The joy was almost better than getting my first publishing contract! Congrats on your awesome accomplishment!!

  6. I don't think we ever get good at hearing the negative... better, maybe, but it still chips at our confidence.

    Congrats on the award! :D
    IWSG #115 until Alex culls the list again

  7. How exciting to win! And I'm glad to hear the judges on the other non-winning book were professional. You just need time to internalize the feedback. Until then - YOU WON!!!! Yippee.

  8. Each new book will be better than the last. That's just the way it is. As long as the criticisms were of a negative tone, just remember that you're learning from every criticism, and that your next book will be even better.

  9. Doesn't matter how important - you won it. Way to go. So proud of you.

    Sorry about the adverse crit, but of course they come with the territory. Which was the one they were down on?

  10. I'm grateful for every word. They could be saying all of it behind my back and that would do me no good at all. At least this way I have the ability to make the changes I agree with. :-) Congrats on the award.

    Anna from Elements of Writing

  11. After some heavy drinking...just kidding! Well, maybe a glass of wine. Or two. I understand the need to "grieve and dwell" for a few days, and I think it's important for us to allow those feelings to emerge without judgment. It hurts.

    However, when I read criticism that makes sense, I feel some excitement along with the hurt, because someone has helped me become a better writer. What I struggle with more is the criticism from someone who obviously didn't read my work...that really bothers me, because it's out there but it isn't true.

    I haven't gone back and reread my first novel. I'm sure if and when I do, I'll be mortified. We get better with practice, and I hope I am still always proud of the effort that went into it.

    Congrats on the award! May there be many more in your future!

  12. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Good or bad, I love hearing what people have to say about my work . . . I'm still dumbfounded people read my books (besides my mom).

  13. I also indulge in a mini pity pool for several days, sometimes several weeks. Then I suck up my bottom lip, give the feedback an objective look, and determine which is useful and which isn't. Because even poorly written/presented feedback can be constructive, once the wounds have been stitched up.

    What an experience for you: win top place for one, and place near the bottom for another. Now there is a lesson in itself :)

  14. Congratulations on your award!!! Focus on the win and not those other comments. :)

  15. I think it is BRILLIANT that you won first place in that contest - absolutely BRILLIANT, and I'm *still* so chuffed for you :)

    For me, I always have to remember it's "constructive" criticism and is meant (I hope!!) with no malice intended :)

    Michael di Gesu had a TON to say about REVIVAL, and it was hard to take in his suggestions (it meant a FULL rewrite) but he was "write" and now the book is out there:)

    PS: Let me know when the pity party is over, I'll bring the cheap, boxed red wine to the post party celebrations :)

  16. There are always things to learn, always ways to improve. And still, you won a prize for how good you are now. I think that says a lot.

  17. Congratulations on winning your award!!!!!

  18. Congrats on the win, That is so awesome. The other hardly matters in that light, The Phoenix rose from the ashes, so that is the challenge in accepting criticism and rejection to evolve into the Phoenix. That is my story and I am sticking with it, lol. Seriously that is awesome having your first win!
    Juneta Writer's Gambit

  19. Hi Lisa,

    You can relax now. Yes, shy and humble Gary is here to leave one of his highly treasured comments. Or something like that! :)

    Hearty congrats on winning that award. Something to savour and cherish.

    When it comes to writing, I'm but a smug amateur. When it comes to writing, I have never had a criticism about my writing, constructive or otherwise. I must me due!

    Well done and take very good care, Lisa.

    Gary :)

  20. I've been fortunate with reviews as most have been good. So I'm thankful for that.

    Stephen Tremp
    November 2015 IWSG Co-host

  21. Congratulations on the award! I've developed a thick skin over the years, but sometimes, criticism is still tough to take. I have to remind myself that everything in this business is subjective even when I want everyone to love my stories!

  22. Anonymous7:18 PM

    Congrats on that award! How exciting! Constructive criticism that's not good is never easy to take. It always makes me cringe. Then I leave it for a few days to get over the initial horrible feelings it brings. After that I try to look at it with an open mind and use it to improve my future writing.


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