An unexpected surprise arrived via e-mail last week. Pictures from the 2006 Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference. That was the year Pandemic! won first place in the Young Adult category of the Paul Gillette Contest, sponsored by the Pikes Peak Writers. The contest coordinator, Dawn Smit Miller, sent a link to the photographer’s web site, where the photos were posted.
The smiling faces of my fellow winners took me back to the excitement and pleasure of that night. Among the winners that year were two other members of my critique group, Meridee Cecil and Randy Fraser. And two other friends, fellow members of our Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI, Ceil Boyles and Colin Murcray. Five of us from our close-knit community of children’s writers.
During the time we all waited to have our pictures taken, I felt a spirit of camaraderie, even with those writers I hadn’t met before. “What do you write?” “Where did you place?” “Tell me about your book.”
The room rocked with excited voices and laughter. And hopefulness. Winning or placing in a contest is a great confidence booster, and it’s an important asset for your writing resume.
Then, home and down to the hard work of revising and polishing. Handing out to first readers and critique groups. And a sudden jolt of reality when someone in my group said, “Back to writing. It’s not a contest anymore!”