And the 2011 winner is….

March 11, 2011

Lynn Cahoon! 

Lynn will receive $100 and a beautiful certificate. 
She’ll also have the considerable mojo of the GH99er sisterhood pulling for her when the Golden Heart® finalists are announced at RWANational.org on or about March 25, 2011. 
(Note: This is entirely mojo of the good wishes and prayers sort —
we have no pull in the GH contest!!)

Congratulations, Lynn!  

With Lynn’s permission, here is the winning essay:

This year’s essay topic was:  What is the best/most impactful lesson you have learned from another writer and how do you plan to pay it forward?

 

 I was one of those. The ones who declare, “I want to write a book.” I had a thriller, a middle grade time travel, a mystery, and a romance started. Each story would grab me and I’d be on fire until chapter five. Then I’d lose steam. In a few months, I’d start a new story convinced that the problem was the genre, not me.

I hung out at blogs, bought writing books, and told everyone that someday I was going to be published.

One day, I won a contest from one of the blogs. The author lived in my area and we agreed to meet for lunch so she could hand deliver my prize. When she asked what I was working on, I unloaded all the ideas for my stories. Her eyes glazed over. When I finished, she asked me what story I was passionate about. I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about so I chose the romance. We made a pact to meet in a month and report progress on our projects.

The next month, I wrote a chapter. We agreed to meet the next month. Again, she made strides, I wrote two chapters. Her secret? She sat down to write every day. No excuses. I made a commitment to write thirty minutes a day. If I couldn’t commit thirty minutes a day, I didn’t want to write a book. I wanted to talk about it.

After two years, I’ve finished four full manuscripts, seven short stories, and a novella. Five of the shorts have been published.

Paying it forward means mentoring a new writer. I want to cheer when a new writer starts a manuscript, support at the sagging middle, and spread breadcrumbs leading them to the end.

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