How Winning a Critique Built my Confidence- Thank You Angela Ackerman

Recently, I won a blog critique and a 5000 words critique from THE BOOKSHELF MUSE. The friendly and wonderful Angela Ackerman herself blessed me with the prize. I can sum it up in one word;
I mean damn. The entire thing was like a magical carpet ride. First, I had to find these vaults to enter the contest. And if you've ever been to their site; they have an impressive thesaurus on the sidebar. For the contest we searched it to find these hidden vaults. There were only 25, and I had to find 5. I had about 15 minutes before work. Really, the odds were against me, right? Right? Well, for fun I tried a word. And the first one I tired I found a vault. The third one another. The fifth one, and so one. I had all five in fewer than six minutes.

Magic like that is fate.
So I entered.
I won.
I won a contest.

Not just a contest. I won a critique of anything I wanted by Angela. Yeah. I stared at the screen shocked for awhile on that one too. What to send?

Not only that, I won a critique of my blog. Yeah. (By the way, doesn't my blog look neat?) hahaha! I laugh because her changes were so subtle, I bet no one noticed, yet they've made my life so much easier, and probably yours too. What? She knows magic like that, you say? She does.
I will share one little tidbit;
" see you have your captcha on. This is something I would consider removing. Because blogger has a spam filter now, it will 'catch' your spam before it ever hits your comments... I know it seems like a small thing, but a lot of the folks I see in your comment box are ones that comment on a lot of blogs. Removing your captcha saves them time and they will appreciate it, trust me. :) If for some reason... spam gets through, you can always slap it back on, but I would give it a try and remove it--your readers will be happier. :) " --- Aka Genius
Now onto the critique. OMG It came at the perfect time for me. Of course, I always have something sitting here to critique, edit, beta read, publish, throw in the trash , rewrite, and cry over, but still... if I wanna call it fate, you'll let me, right?

You see, thanks to her clear critique, I brought my piece to a new level. I liked my intro as was and without her critique I wouldn't have changed it. However, for fun, I gave it whirl. The change-- in my daughter's estimation-- is about a trillion times better than the last intro. Wow eh? "Gee Mom! Talk about improvements." Funny how small things can make all the difference.

And! What really won my heart over was when she referred me to Lydia Sharp's site. You all know how her critique changed my series! If not, see So Close to the Project you're Stupid.

Now of course, I couldn't use all her comments, but they did make me reflect on how others see my work. And, if I turned down her suggestions after she helped me improve my blog and my intro, do you know what that means? I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN MY OWN WORK! Now. That is something I have never been able to say.

Today, I stand before you a Writer with confidence, no more hidden addiction.
No more drowning alone in a sea of paper. I have come ashore to get down to business. You ready for this?

Thank you Angela for helping me see my work with new clear eyes, for showing me that I can make improvements to things that I like and turn them into things I love, for reminding me of those who help me along the way, and mostly for giving me the confidence to trust my own words. Finally, I can say, I am a Writer, and I can send my MS off to face its first rejections. ah... the magic in it.

I could say thank you all day. The Bookshelf Muse already has 2000 followers, and more, but if one isn't you, you are missing out. This girl is incredible, and she isn't alone over there!!

Now I know it was a prize and I should just say thanks and smile all pretty, but I really feel like I owe the universe or something for introducing this Canadian Chicky to me. So please, I'm giving everyone here a chance to recall one moment that changed your life or one person who helped you in a way that you can't repay. Leave it in the comments so others can see how lucky you are too and how magic is at work all around us, in great people like Angela who work so hard to help other writers become their very best.

Oh, did I say thank you Angela? Because really, this post is dedicated to you and to all the great friends and writers like you who have helped not only me, but other writers build their confidence so they too can get rejected properly. Thank you for being so nice to me too! It's a small thing, but sadly, not everyone is.

One day, it won't be a rejection and then what the heck will we do, eh? lol I guess, I'll come back and thank you all again! hahaha! Can't wait for that day!


E.J. Wesley said...

Awesome thoughts on the topic of crits, Tanya. It really is the lifeblood of writing. You just cannot possibly see the big picture when you're the author on the first few go rounds. You need help, plain and simple.

Sounds like it was a great kickstart!


Michael Offutt said... sounds like you got a lot of good advice.

Tanya Reimer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard said...

I can't count the times my writing critique group members have pointed out my mistakes and/or given me better ideas for my stories. Without them...well I'd still be light years behind where I am now.

Congratulations on your new-found confidence. I think you had it all along, though. Maybe you've gotten a new level of enthusiasm. Either way, you're better off.

Munir said...

Confidence combined with hard work and enthusism - -- -- -- not too far from success. I would like to konw how some people have that special combination.

Christie Koester said...

Awesome!!! You go girl!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Congratulations, Tanya. It sounds like it was a fruitful experience. You've got me all interested in The Bookshelf Muse now. Nice share, and it sound like you are closer to the goal.

Valentina Hepburn said...

Congratulations, Tanya. It sounds like you had a wonderful writing experience. Thank you for sharing it with us and best wishes for the future.

Angela Ackerman said...

Oh my goodness Tanya--what a kind, generous post. I am so glad my critique helped you, and I can't recommend THE SHARP ANGLE enough as a resource for writers. I'm so glad you did visit and sounds like Lydia and her writing Kung-Fu did what it does best.

It was lovely working with you and reading your work. I really enjoyed it and the premise of your world! Thanks again for the sweet words--you made my day!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

E. Arroyo said...

Woohoo! Finding that spark again is always nice. congrats!

DUTA said...

Congratulations on winning the critique which gave you confidence in your work, and showed you the way to improvements in your writing!

Melissa Kline said...

Great post, Tanya! Thanks for stopping by my blog today. :)


Tanya Reimer said...

I just wanna say hi to everyone who stopped in today! Wow! Thanks for all the support guys! I got a chance to reconnect with some old friends today, and make some great new ones... ain't blogging sweet?

Anonymous said...

Sorry it took me so long to add my congrats (but you know what my day was like yesterday). I'm proud of you!

My critique friends have been invaluable on this journey. No one else understands the process, the love, the hate, the calling.

You're welcome, btw!

Munir said...

Thanks so much for your support. Lately I have been going through a lot of moments of forgetfulness, and it is scary. I love to read books, book reviews and a lot of good things in the world. Having to live with a fear of possibility of any thing serious is devastating. I think I am getting a hold on things for now. I wanted to know if any one my age ever had moments of forgetfulness. I am sixty and the "A" word is making me talk to a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

You sound so excited, thanks for sharing your enthusiasms!

If you get a chance, check out a fellow writer's zombie story and help me make him wear an embarrassing shirt next year! Details are here:

Fresh Garden said...

Congratulations, Tanya. That's great!

Madeleine said...

Oh wow having a positive critique would be a boost to the self esteem. Congratulations! It must be well deserved :O)

Misha said...

Congrats on the win! I'm so glad that it was such a great help to you. Those small differences really can make all the difference.


Tanya Reimer said...

Got a message from Don Britt to pass on;

Hi Tanya.

Congrats on the Ackerman critique! I tried to post this comment on your blog but I couldn't:

That's fantastic Tanya! Great insights too. I love the one about loving your work until it shines. My life has been littered with abandoned projects just because I decided to hate my work in progress.

Sounds like you're soaring. Way to go!


Margo Berendsen said...

I have another bloggie friend who won a critique from Angela last year, and she let me look at the 10 page critique - 10 pages!!!! It was so detailed and thoughtfully worded, wow. Maybe I'll win her critique next year!

Blogger Kay Theodoratus critiqued my first two chapters last year and she made me look at my writing a whole new way. Wow.

Karol Jenny said...