Friday, April 26, 2013

The Winners of the Respect Your Dream Essay Contest

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitter,Pinterest, or on her author website.

It was amazing to read how all of you are respecting your dream of being writers! I got giddy just thinking about all the amazing books being written right now. 

It was super hard to judge this contest. There were 49 entries, and Stephanie and I thought they were all amazing. There was no right or wrong answer for this essay. We wish we could give you all books and trophies and hugs. We are so proud of all of you for how hard you're working toward your dream of being published authors. Keep it up! You'll be to the top of that pyramid in no time! (If you're like, huh? See James Scott Bell's guest post.)

But we said we'd choose, and choose we did. 


Congratulations to our top 15!

Rachel Leila
Anna Schaeffer
Leah Good
Tonya LaCourse
Tierney Reardon
Deborah Rocheleau
Jazmin Frank
Daniel Rader
Maure
Samuel Deck
Emily Dakin
Sarah Olson
Griffen Bier
Tiffanie
Emii


Steph and I decided that this entry deserved an honorable mention for creativity, so we added a prize.

My Writing Dream by Tierney Reardon

I respect my writing dream,
Scribbling down stories on every theme,
On chickens and roses, on toothpicks and cream;
I respect my writing dream.

I respect my writing dream,
Collecting ideas so they build up like steam,
Then letting them out in an inky stream;
I respect my writing dream.

I respect my writing dream,
Polishing pieces until they gleam,
Make them twinkle, sparkle, glitter, gleam;
I respect my writing dream.

I respect my writing dream,
Filling up notebooks; now they burst at the seams,
To tidy my desk I must hire a team;
I respect my writing dream.

I respect my writing dream,
Nowadays my family deems
My writing commitments a little extreme;
I respect my writing dream.

I respect my writing dream,
Writing page after leaf after ream,
Plotting sagas with elaborate schemes;
I respect my writing dream.

I respect my writing dream,
My tired overworked mind still teems
With dozens of wondrous ideas (so it seems);
I respect my writing dream.


Here are our three runners up:

Anna SchaefferAnna's example of treating her dream like a friendship was lovely. And Steph loved how Anna is going to school rather than trying to publish anything just yet.

Here's Anna's entry:

If you love someone, you demonstrate your feelings by investing in them, spending time with them, and being patient with them.  You don’t automatically become best friends when you meet someone. It’s the same way with my dream of being an author. I've learned that, just like a friendship, I need to allow my dream some time to grow. Because I love writing so much, I’m willing to invest in my dream of being an author: get to know it and practice with it, rather than rush into publishing. I would be cheating myself if I jumped right into the writing world without first learning how to navigate it.  One practical way I’m doing that is by studying creative writing in college. Although it’s tempting to try to publish a novel now, rather than devote four years to studying the craft in a university setting, I know I need to give my skills a chance to develop. The more I learn about how I can live out my dream, the bigger my dream grows. Of course, I’m not putting my dream on hold while I’m in school, but making an effort to incorporate what I learn into my writing. I've learned so much already. So in summary, I respect my dream by treating it like a friendship: I’m investing in it, spending time with it, and learning to be patient so that my dream can continue to grow. 


Leah GoodLeah had us both at "marketing degree." What a clever way to invest in her future as a writer. And we also loved seeing that she's attended a writers conference and is planning to go again. Investing in your dream is so important!

Here's Leah's entry:


When I first got serious about wanting to write for publication, it didn't take long to realize that the road would not be easy. That’s okay, though. I like challenges. In order to pursue this goal I have attended two writing conference and am signed up for a second one. I also shaped my college education around my dream. Because publishers want writers to do so much of their own marketing, I pursued a degree in marketing and worked hard to finish the degree by the time I was eighteen. Now I’m taking a full year to simply concentrate on writing. Thankfully my family supports this goal. I also completed a two year class with The Institute of Children’s Literature, and read lots of books on the writing craft. Oh, yes, and of course, I write! A lot. God has blessed me with several wonderful writing friends to exchange critiques with and help with brainstorming.
Writers studying the craft learn early on to give their heroes big obstacles to overcome. The bigger the obstacle, the more satisfying the goal will be when reached. That’s the way I look at my dream of publication. It won’t be easy, but reaching the goal will be that much sweeter as a result.



Tonya LaCourse—Tonya had some great thoughts about accepting a beginner's status. "Humility is the foundation of all other virtues." —Saint Augustine 

Here's Tonya's entry:

Respecting my dream is accepting my spot as a beginner. When I first dreamed of writing I thought I'd have an idea, write it, and sell it. I didn't expect to have to write multiple drafts or have to be aware of slipped tenses, creating characters arcs, and having unique plot twists. It was supposed to flow and be dreamy.

All to often I want to jump ahead and be great but I'm a beginner, I have to start somewhere. I'm  making  writing goals, writing manuscripts and revising them to make them deeper, I'm reading blogs and books on writing, and I'm keeping my eyes out for the conference that'll be the first one I attend. Most of all I'm allowing myself to make writing mistakes and putting my fingers back on my keyboard for some more.

When I realize my plots are boring, characters flat, and dialogue lacking I get frustrated and defeated because I want to be a good writer. It shuts down any ability I do have. When I stop to embrace my place I'm much happier and move along faster. It's through letting go and handing over my inhibitions I nurture my goals. It doesn't matter how slow you go as long as you don't give up. 


And the winner of the Respect Your Dream Essay Contest is:

Rachel Leila—When I read this, I was delighted. And it really stuck with Steph too. Rachel and her writing partner have really discovered a creative way to improve themselves, to encourage each other, and to have fun.

Here's Rachel's entry:

How am I respecting my dream? Well first I had to realize it was a dream that needed respect. I needed people to know that I was taking authorship seriously, and they needed to respect my dreams. The next step was to determine how I would achieve publication. It’s one thing to dream about something in your head and another to figure out how to accomplish your dreams. I talked to fellow teen writers, published authors, searched for blogs (hello goteewriters :D ), and purchased writing books. My friend and I put together a writers pact. Once prep work was finished we had to write 2,000 words per week. If we fail to meet the word count we must put 1 dollar for each 400 words we missed in a special jar. The money will then be used to buy the other person a drink at Starbucks during the next writers meeting. Once we have both completed and edited our novels we will have one year to send the novels out to as many publishers that meet our criteria. Whoever has the most rejection letters at the end of the year wins. The other person will have to treat them to something fun, tickets to the fair, gift card to Barnes and Nobel’s, or something along those lines. My writing partner makes a huge difference in my writing and fuels my desire to become published. We respect each other’s dreams, and push each other to success.  



So, Rachel Leila, Anna Schaeffer, Leah Good, Tonya LaCourse, and Tierney Reardon, please email jill@jillwilliamson.com with your mailing address to get your prize. 

And thanks for entering, everyone!

Oh, and one more thing:


30 comments:

  1. Wow, everyone, that's incredible! Very inspiring reading those entries :)

    And gracious, now I'm wondering what that "5 days until it opens" is about...new blog design? Or maybe I missed something?

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    1. Same here! Very curious indeed...

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    2. Maybe it's the release of The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. I'm doubting that though...

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    3. Oh, good point. That DOES release on May 1st. MWUAHAHAHAHA. But now the question is, is that what the thing's about??

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    4. I thought it might be the release date for The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet, too, Alyson, but why would Jill write '5 days until it opens'?
      If it was about The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet, wouldn't Jill put '5 days until it comes out'?
      Arggghhh, I'm not making much sense here! I'm confused!!
      Put us out of our misery, Jill, PLEASE!!!!

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    5. Maybe there's going to be another contest. Whatever it is, I think we're supposed to be frustrated (I hate surprises...;)

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    6. Ditto guys. The suspense is a killer. (Oh, and congrats to the terrific winners! Woot!)

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  2. Those were WONDERFUL!!! I especially liked Rachel's and her friend's writing 'club'. :) What does "5 days until it Opens" mean?!?!?!

    -Abby :D

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  3. Wow, a writing partner is a good idea. Maybe I should find one : )

    What opens in five days???

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  4. Wow! I can't believe I got in the top 15 let alone first! Thank you both so much!

    I loved the other entries that were posted. It's neat how everyone has different angles and took the topic in different ways. All very inspirational!

    I'm still in shock. I've got to go text my writing partner and let her know!!

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    1. Hahaha, Rachel, I think I'm going to adopt your rewards and punishments scheme. My writing partner definitely needs more motivation, and I could use some free caffeine >:) lol

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    2. LOL Hannah!

      Congrats, Rachel! I read yours and it was really good. Man, I need to get a partner, if only so that I can do that with them. ;)

      Katelyn

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    3. Hannah, your comment made me laugh! :D We've invented a bunch of different rewards and punishments but the Starbucks one is my favorite.

      Katelyn, thank you! Haha, well I hope you find a writing partner, for the Starbucks and the encouragement!

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  5. I'm loving the concept of a writers pact! That sounds like a great source of motivation! All of y'all have such great ways of respecting your dream. And the poem? Amazing! I'm definitely in a group of big dreamers :)

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  6. Ah, to bad I missed this one... I was on vacation:( Everyone's entries are good though:) Hmmmm... 5 days until what opens???;)

    Layla.

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  7. Congrats guys! Oh my gosh, you have no idea how much that "5 Days" picture got me on the edge of my seat... I'll be counting down! Hopefully another prompt contest :)

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    1. Yes! It might be another competition!! Oh I hope so!! :) *crossed fingers*

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  8. Congrats to the winners! I really loved Rachel's, but I'm certain that all the entrees were great! A writers pact sounds like something I need... 5 days until what??? Y'all are killing me!!

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  9. Five days isn't so long . . .
    *grin*

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    1. It's evil!! So that makes it long.

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  10. Oh, wow. Great job Rachel, Anna, Tonya, and Tierney. And thank you Jill. I'm so excited!

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    1. Yours was great Leah! It sounds like you've build up a firm foundation for all your future writing. I also love how you compared the authors obstacles to the heroes journey. :)

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  11. Congrats! Love the money for a coffee-shop thing, Rachel. I'm so talking someone into that. 5 days, hmmmm...

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  12. From Amo Libros:
    Thank you so much for this contest! I didn't enter, but the entries here really touched me and encouraged me. Thank you so much!!!
    Anna and Tonya - your entries really encouraged me to take a look at where I am and to relax and be comfortable with where I am. And Rachel - what a great idea! I've already discovered I write better "with" someone, the strategy you and your friend use sounds great! And Leah - the marketing idea was great!! And what you said about heroes and obstacles helped me put things in perspective!
    Thank you so much!
    And thank you, Ms. Williamson and Mrs. Morrill, for putting together this contest! You do such great and important work here, thank you!

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    1. You're welcome, Amo. I'm glad the finalists were encouraging! :-)

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  13. Congrats to the winners! Good job guys.

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