Folks are getting Golden Heart scores back this week. I won't get mine until after the winners are announced, since I'm a finalist this time, but I DO remember getting that envelope in the past. The fear of opening it. The burning desire to know how bad it is. Am I in the top 25% or the bottom 50%? Should I open it now or wait?

Only you can decide what's best for you. But, I gotta tell you, don't obsess more than a couple of days MAXIMUM over it! I entered 4 times. The 4th time was the charm. I've opened that envelope three times before, tremulous and scared, and then had to talk to myself about what was in it.

You simply can't let it stop you. You write a new book, or revise the one that didn't final, and get prepared for next year. The deadline is in November, y'all. Not so far away. I almost didn't enter this time. I almost let it go. I debated with myself — should I work this hard to get the book done quickly? What category should I enter? Am I ready for this? Is it a waste of money?

I entered before I finished the book, which gave me incentive. Money, as I've said before, is a big motivator for me. I wasn't losing that $50 for nothing! Then, of course, there was the cost of printing and postage. Yeah, I was a last minute Express Mail girl because I finished it right before the deadline. Can't remember what it cost, but it wasn't cheap. Forty dollars maybe?

So look at your scores with a grain of salt, a dash of hope, and a huge helping of determination. Just because you didn't final this time doesn't mean you won't EVER final. It also doesn't mean you won't sell. Plenty of best selling authors never finaled in the Golden Heart. Some people final never to be heard from again. And some end up selling a different book than the GH book.

Get upset or get happy about your scores, but also get over them. Keep writing. πŸ™‚

Any interesting or frustrating contest experiences to share? Any lessons learned? Did you ever get advice that upset you, but later saw the value in it? I have. Someone told me my hero was a jerk and my heroine was juvenile — and then proceeded to tell me WHY. Dang if she wasn't right — once I got over it and could see the truth, of course. πŸ™‚

Update: Found my GH scores from the first time I entered: 10, 8, 7, 8, 5. Yeah, they used to score to 10 and there were no fractions. Oh, and they used to give comments too. πŸ™‚ This was the long historical category and I scored in the 2nd 25%. The following year, I entered two books. Can't find those scores, darn it.