At this time last year, I was riding the amazing high being a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart contest for unpublished writers. I was also buried under an avalanche of emails and still have no idea how I stayed afloat. I was getting to know an amazing group of writers, who just happen to also be amazing, strong, beautiful, and incredibly supportive women.
Two days ago, I watched the hoopla surrounding the announcements for the 2013 Golden Heart and RITA awards without a dog in either race. (Couldn’t enter the GH since I sold and couldn’t enter the RITA as my book hasn’t been released yet.)
I am beside myself excited for all the finalists, both RITA and Golden Heart, but I only know the joy and fear and overwhelming rush of emotions that those Golden Heart finalists are experiencing. And it’s only just begun.
So here’s my advice for the new finalists, worth what you’re paying for it. *g*
1) Accept that your inbox will never be the same. At least not for several months. This is okay. Do what you can do. Embrace the crazy. Ride the wave. Your fellow finalists are on the same ride. Hold onto them, as they’ll be holding onto you.
2) Stop freaking about the dress. There’s plenty of time to think about getting fancied up for the awards. Wait at least a month to even think about it. And whatever dress you choose, make sure it’s comfortable. The GH glow will make you gorgeous in a potato sack. It’ll be perfect. Don’t worry.
3) Use the phrase GOLDEN HEART FINALIST at every opportunity. Your submissions get read quicker. They’re given more weight. You’ll likely still get rejections (goodness knows I did!) but you’ll get them faster, which to me is better than waiting months and months.
5) Breathe again. You might not remember every second of the next few months. You probably don’t even remember every second of that phone call you received this week. But the experience will stay with you. And you’ll smile just thinking about it, even years later.
So that’s my advice. Oh, and I forgot the most important!
6) Write a speech! My fellow 2012 finalist, Rachel Grant, pushed our group to write one, and I didn’t. I was a DJ for 8 years talking on the fly. I thought I could handle it. Thankfully, I didn’t win, but in those few seconds before my category winner was announced, I experience a flood of fear and anxiety like I have never known. Just do yourself a favor and write the speech.