July 20, 2013

Sit On Your Ego by Brenda J Wood

Recently the organizers of a writing contest asked for prayer before they delivered the winning entries. Apparently, they feared the reactions of the losers. They even sent a letter of apology and encouragement for them.

What have we come to when grown people cannot take rejection?? Did we never learn that as good as we might be, sometimes the other guy is better?

Did this begin when we were passed through every grade simply because “we do not fail our students anymore?” Or was it because Mother didn’t teach us to share? Or was it when the hockey coach made too much of us when we finally got our one goal of the season?

Face it, writers. We did not write the Bible. Our books may not be enjoyed and revered as we would like. But was that our goal? Surely we have a loftier plan than that.

Answer these questions honestly.

  • Is my book truly awful? (Hint-Don’t trust your mother’s opinion!) As Ambrose Bierce once said, “The covers of this book are too far apart.”
  • Did I write my book in the wrong genre? Take Madeleine L'Engle’s advice. “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
  • Am I taking the book (and myself) far too seriously? Maybe my book is light fluff for the masses and not a Pulitzer Prize winner! Francis Bacon thought that some books were to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and a few to be chewed and digested.
  • Is it too long? Take Thomas Jefferson’s advice. ‘The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” (That means edit, edit, edit!)
  • What is my real goal? Did I accomplish that? Well then, give a copy to a person who needs to read it. Martin Luther advised us to change the world by picking up our pen. The books are only dust collectors if they sit in your back closet.

Finally, as Winston Churchill said, “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.”

Do you have any? (Courage, that is?) If so, you will take rejection on the chin like a man/woman of God who writes their best and then lets God handle the rest.

Brenda J Wood


  1. Thanks for this post, Brenda. You've asked us great questions and given many things to think about when we are writing. I always have to remind myself that I need to be faithful to what God calls me to, no matter what.

  2. I loved the quotes - and the questions are spot on. Unfortunately I think your suggestions for 'why' we've become so egotistical are correct too... We're so bent on not hurting anyones self esteem that we've lost sight of the wonderful lessons learned through trials and failure

  3. Brenda,
    I too found it odd that we have to be told before the winners are announced that we might be rejected and not feel too bad about it. When you enter a contest we know that either we win or not. We are taking that risk so we should be able to learn from it. If we are so egotistical then we surely aren't following Christ.

    Great post - we have to learn that all our lives we are learning, growing and becoming closer to Christ (hopefully).



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