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Congrats on Being a Loser Like Me

Congrats to all who finaled in the Cascade Writing Contest!

And when I say all, I mean congrats to those who were announced as winners as well as those who didn’t win.

I can congratulate the losers because I’m a fellow loser.

The one time I finaled for a Christy Award, Nicole Deese beat me. The next night we went downtown Nashville to Broadway, and there were honky-tonks named Winners and Losers. I got my picture in front of the Losers honky-tonk.

Nicole, however, refused to get her picture in front of Winners. In fact, the night of the awards banquet, when the winners were supposed to go on stage for a picture, she made me go up with her to get a picture with her and Becky Wade.

My daughter saw the picture of me between Nicole and Becky where they’re each holding trophies, and in her silly/sassy way, she asked, “Where’s yours?”

But the joke’s on her. Because even though I lost, I felt like a winner.

It was simply an honor to be nominated. Just like it was an honor to hand out Cascade Awards.

I agreed to help hand out awards when the coordinator said I’d get to wear a fancy dress, and it wasn’t until after I agreed that she told me I’d also be speaking.

Last year, I was at the awards when Alice Crider shared a word of wisdom, but I wasn't sure I had wisdom to offer.

Actually, I relate way too much to the line in the movie A-Team, when the A-Team was described as “specializing in the ridiculous.”

But if you think about it, we’re all a little ridiculous. Writing is ridiculous. We’re telling stories—many of them with imaginary characters, and we’re daring to dream that strangers want to hear what we just made up in our brains.

Pursuing a dream in itself is ridiculous. We’re putting in all the work without any guarantee of a reward.

It feels like a curse sometimes. Like, why do I have to want this so badly? Who am I to believe I have what it takes?

The more we try, the more chances we have to fail. To make a fool of ourselves.

The bigger we build our platform, the more people will see when we fall off. The more people will notice if we’re not holding an award.

It can be scary. And very discouraging to get rejection after rejection.

So, while I didn’t have wisdom to offer, I wanted to offer a word of encouragement.

Rather than focus on what I don't have—like trophies or contracts or sales, I prefer to focus on what I do have.

I claim Phillipians 3:16. “Only let us live up to what we have already obtained.”

What have you obtained?

You’ve been given the dream to write. How are you going to live up to that?

Many of you attended the Cascade Writing Conference at one of the most beautiful places in the world. How are you going to live up to that?

You’re surrounded by other like-minded writers. How are you going to live up to that?

The Creator of the Universe gave his life for you so that you can spend eternity in heaven. How are you going to live up to that?

Wherever you’re at, you’ve been given more than you deserve. It’s ridiculous. Much like writing.

A study at Harvard University found that if they could bottle thankfulness and sell it on the market, all the benefits of thankfulness would make it the most expensive drug in the world.

Thankfulness will make you feel like a winner.

Or, as Psalm 50:23 says, “He who offers thank offerings prepares the way for the salvation of God.”

That’s really why we attended a Christian conference, right? We want to prepare the way for the salvation of God. Which means we first must be thankful.

So again, I want to congratulate all the winners and losers. As well as those of you who didn’t final in the contest and those of you who didn’t even enter. You’ve all got something to be thankful for. You all have something to celebrate.

You are a winner. Just like Nicole made me feel like a winner when pulling me up on stage after I lost at the Christy Awards.

Keep pursuing your dreams. Keep sharing God’s love. Keep up the good work. That’s winning. Congratulations.

1 Comment

Linda Rutland
Linda Rutland
Jul 01

Everybody can't win. And certainly not every time. However, I'm a reader not a writer. I think I win when I find an author who writes books that I enjoy and want more of. They don't have to be best sellers, just good stories. I'm not sure how you authors come up with all your inspiration for writing but I'm thankful that you do. I get great joy from reading a good book. So you just keep on writing and I'll keep on reading and we'll both be winners!

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