Each year I attend the Las Vegas Writers Conference I walk away with tons of inspiration, validation and insight.

This year, one moment took me completely by surprise.

The last dinner of the conference is reserved for awards given to Henderson Writers Group members who have shown outstanding participation. A dear friend of mine, who is an absolute dynamo, received the Founder’s award for all the work she’s done and the way she embodies the spirit of the group.

She wasn’t expecting it. The best people usually don’t see things like this coming. We do what we do for the greater good of the group and that’s all we’re doing.

While she was on the stage, tears in her eyes (and the audiences’ as well) she said “As a writer, I’m so used to rejection…”

That was the moment, right there. I sat back in my seat stunned beneath the weight of all the implications that statement held.

Rejection. Writers are told you will be rejected countless times before your book finds a home. Artists, musicians, filmmakers…suffer beneath the fickle voice of critics dictating to the world what the masses should or shouldn’t like. The sad truth is that if you create something, be prepared to face rejection and suck it up.

In doing so, many creatives have forgotten the joy and art of gracious acceptance. It’s uncomfortable for us to stand in front of a room while our colleagues applaud our accomplishments. We somehow feel that we don’t deserve it. We wait, cringing and heads covered, for that other shoe to fall. Or, we think, what does this person want from me? Am I a part of someone else’s agenda? Our bodies tense in anticipation of the dreaded critique that puts us back in our place and drives us to the rewrites or drawing board once again.

This is what the world does to us. It’s time to turn that around. You are worthy and you do deserve this! No one could ever possibly know the blood, sweat, tears, sleepless nights, effort, money, time and LIFE you’ve poured into your work. If you’re good, you make it look effortless. If you’re starting out and learning, that’s a struggle too, and merely picking up the brush or sitting at the keyboard is a titanic effort.

But you do it. You’ve learned how to pick yourself up and keep moving forward. That in itself, deserves an award.

So, my dear fellow creatives, take a moment to bask in the spotlight. There’s plenty of light to go around. Enjoy it, revel in it, celebrate it.

And then, do what you’ve always done; pick yourself up and take the next step. Creativity is a road trip, not a death march.

In fact, tell me in the comments one moment in your life where you outshone the spotlight, yet chose the shadows. I’ll applaud you. We all will.

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  1. We yearn to be recognized, to be vindicated for the effort we put into our craft, yet find it hard to accept when the acknowledgment comes our way. Tonya is all the things said about her and truly deserving of the award.

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