Do you remember field day back in grade school? The 100-yard dash, long jump, shot put, and so on? I used to love field day. (That was before I knew I wasn’t athletic.) We were outside doing fun activities and we got ribbons for doing well. Blue and red and white ribbons.
Okay. Maybe what I loved were the ribbons.
Then, in middle school there were certificates for academic achievement and perfect attendance. At high school and college graduations there were special cords and tassels to wear. I loved them all. I still have some of them.
Then I stepped into the working world where there are things like employee of the month or year, credentials to be earned (I have letters after my name), and certificates to hang on the wall.
And then there’s this writing business. Turns out there are markers of achievement here, as well. Reviews, writing awards, interviews in journals, prestigious speaking engagements . . .
But what does it all MEAN??
When Miracle in a Dry Season came out, RT Book Reviews gave it three stars. Nothing to jump up and down about, but a fine review. I told myself that one review wasn’t all that important, anyway. Library Journal gave the same book a starred review. Clearly they “got it.”
Well, last week, RT Book Reviews gave Until the Harvest four and a half stars and a Top Pick ranking. So now the temptation is to think, this time around, the review means a great deal. I mean it’s a blue ribbon with a gold star instead of the plain white ribbon from last time.
It’s also coming around to awards season. The Christie, The Carol, The Selah, The RITA. Can I have one of each, please? Because if I have awards to put on my shelf, then I’ll know I’m a REAL writer.
Oh, the temptation to measure success with reviews and trophies and awards.
Before my first book released I asked my editor about the importance of awards and he in turn asked me a really great question. He wondered if I’d rather have lots of awards or lots of readers.
And as much as I still covet awards, I know the better answer to that question.