A Year Later – Advice to the Newbies

At this time last year, I was riding the amazing high being a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart contest for unpublished writers.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.

4) Breathe.

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.

8 thoughts on “A Year Later – Advice to the Newbies”

  1. Hellion says:

    *LOL* Great advice–but especially like the “don’t do as I do, do as I say” of the last one. *LOL* Still, I know you exercised the first rules quite frequently and with great flair.

  2. Terri says:

    I’m trying so spare them the stark panic!

  3. Marnee says:

    Great advice is right. 🙂 I think just breathe is good advice at all times.

    1. Terri says:

      Marn, I find this advice works in pretty much all situations. LOL! Breathe!

  4. Nikki McIntosh says:

    Great advice Terri!! That was a crazy few months … but so much fun to go through. Here’s hoping that next year you get to experience a similar kind of crazy with a RITA nomination!

    1. Terri says:

      I try not even to think about that, Nikki, but it’s almost impossible. And now that Kim and Tracy have pulled it off, it’s even harder!

      Loved the experience last year and so happy that finaling meant getting to know you. 🙂

  5. Excellent advice on every front, Terri. You had quite a ride last year! Kind of a perfect Golden Heart journey, really. Nomination to agent to sale. When you’re nominated for a RITA, I’ll whoop and holler for you. 🙂

    Weirdly, I was hardly nervous at all when our category was called. Too busy with logistics. I called my husband so he and my kid could hear on the phone, and I was handing my date my camera so she could take pix just in case, and and and…

    (She had no idea how to use my camera, it turned out, even though we’d practiced. And then she accidentally hung up on my husband, to boot. *headdesk*)

    Then again, I did have a speech ready. So there’s that.

    1. Terri says:

      It was definitely a crazy year. I feel incredibly lucky to have seen so many dreams come true in such a short period of time.

      I stood up as soon as they called your name last year. It was just right. You deserved that win. You better have a speech prepared this time too. I’ll be cheering you on!

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