Judging, Glad I Didn’t Have To

I was privileged to be invited to give some remarks at a Young Author’s Red Carpet Ceremony at the local intermediate school last night. Before the ceremony, I had a chance to read some of the stories, which had been bound into books.

Earlier in the year, I had been invited to be one of the judges, an honor I declined.

As a writer who has submitted many stories, suffered the agony of rejections (which I now call “returns”) and acceptances (which I now call “when can I expect the check”), I didn’t have the heart to sit in judgment on the work of aspiring young writers.

But I could do the speech I was requested to give: five minutes or so about how I got started, what the writing life is like, and encouragement. I told them:

  1. When I was very little, I thought all the books had already been written. When my mother told me people still wrote books all the time and got paid for it, that was all I ever wanted to do.
  2. Writing is always hard: You make the book the best you can and, when you believe it’s perfect, you submit it. Most of the time, it gets sent back and you never know why. Most of the time, the reason is NOT that it’s a bad book; there are lots of reason any particular judge or editor passes on any particular story. And being asked to do edits doesn’t mean the story isn’t good, just that it can be made even better.
  3. Writing is always fun. Writing the story is a joy. Seeing your work, with your name on it, out in the world where other people can read it and enjoy it never gets old.

The speech seemed to strike home. The kids and parents all listened, and I saw a lot of nods and smiles.

Joy. It’s what writing is all about.

WRITING PROMPT: Outline a brief speech about what writing has meant and does mean to you.

p.s. I’m posting today at Fatal Foodies on the subject of jum-jills, with recipe.


I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Judging, Glad I Didn’t Have To

  1. damyanti

    April 12, 2011 at 9:50am

    Love your speech. The 2nd point is what keeps writers alive. And yes, joy is why most writers write. Thank you for sharing.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      April 12, 2011 at 9:17pm

      It’s amazing how energizing creating is, isn’t it? And when we get burned out, we just sit around with other writers and talk story, and get juiced up again. 🙂

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  2. Laura Marcella

    April 12, 2011 at 5:58pm

    Hello, I found you through the A to Z Blogfest! Great choice for J. You made such a lovely speech! Writing really is a joy, and I’m glad I was lucky enough to be bitten by the writer bug!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      April 12, 2011 at 9:19pm

      Those kids were so excited about their books! Some of them were dressed up as if they were going to a prom, and the ones who were invited up to receive a carnation (special mention) escorted by their special people (parents, friends, siblings) grinned from ear to ear. It was great to be there!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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