Thoughts on the Reader’s Choice Award in the Write Michigan Short Story Contest

Friends – I’m thrilled to let you let you know that I won the “Reader’s Choice Award” in the first annual Write Michigan short story contest. I’m humbled and overwhelmed. Honestly.

All month long I’ve been receiving emails and Facebook notes from acquaintances and friends far and wide, letting me know they read my story and cast a vote for me. Friends from High School and college that I haven’t seen in years read my story. My extended family and my wife’s extended family read my story. Loads of people at my workplace read my story. I’ve already said it multiple times, but I don’t know how else to describe it: the support and encouragement I’ve received has just been overwhelming. 

It’s been a strange and awesome thing to know that so many people have read fiction I’ve written. Will they think it’s too depressing? Will they wonder why I didn’t make it ‘more Christian’? Will they tell me that the main character didn’t seem real? Are they just telling me it’s good because they’re my friends and don’t want to hurt my feelings? These and many other questions bounced around in my head all month. I’ve felt vulnerable. It’s been humbling. But I’m glad to have experienced this. It’s reminded me to be thankful for those around me, and especially for those who have been encouraging me to write for a while now.

For the last five years I’ve been in a writers group, The Weaklings. They have been and continue to be my best friends and companions on this writing journey. My parents, my wife, and other family members have also been critically important supports for me too. So to all of them, and to all of you who read this blog, I want to say a big “THANK YOU!”

I feel like I’m gushing a little bit in this post. That’s probably true. After all, this is just one little contest, right? Not to me. This is a big deal. This has been an experience I won’t forget. This has been something that’s both affirming and (hopefully) character shaping. I’m hugely blessed to have the support I have in my family and friends. There’s no way this story would’ve happened without them. And there’s certainly no way I would’ve won a “Reader’s Choice Award” if so many people hadn’t gone out of their way to vote for me. I’m a blessed and thankful man.

Thank you all!

-AR

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