Why Do I Have to Have Such a Good Smeller?

That’s all I am going to say about THAT!

This week has so many possibilities that are wonderful. Here’s what my Libra horoscope says for today:
You’re still having fun, even if the weather is nasty — you just feel lifted by something welling up within you. It’s a really good time for you to appreciate just how great you really have it.

And my Chinese horoscope (or whatever those are called) says this for today:
Even if you’re willing to start from the bottom today, you may well be aiming too high. Your grand vision and plans could be a little too much for some people today. In matters of the heart, keep your feelings to yourself this evening. Your loving emotions might not be conveyed properly.

Neither says: You did not win the Caldecott, Newbery, Printz or Coretta Scott King awards.
Neither says: You didn’t win The Laura Ingalls Wilder award or The Golden Kite or the Margaret A Edwards award.
Neither says: You thought it was announced today but it’s announced next week. Still–IF–What?! Next week?

But what about writing for awards?

Every year, every year for some time, I have been sad when I haven’t gotten a glance from the NBA or some other big award committee.
But last year, towards the end of 2012 when I read something from a reviewer who said that WAITING was a good book and had garnered strong praise but would never get any notice from any of the BIG committees nor the small ones (and the writer named a committee I had never heard of that wasn’t including WAITING on its list of finalists), I decided “This is it. From now on, I write for me only. I write what I love. And I am not going to care about anything else except that I do the best I can and I write as a writer. Like Stephen King.” Stephen King, I have to admit, is one of my heroes.

What’s different about my statement than what I have said or done in the past?
I have always written for myself.

Write the commercial book, people have always said.
Don’t write literary work, it doesn’t sell. It may even work against you.
Don’t write sad stuff, it’s not profitable.
Write plot driven books.
Write what sells.
Don’t talk about God.
Or death.
Or faith.
Write a fantasy.
Write a paranormal.
Write anything but what you’re writing.

I have always written the book I want to write.
Every year I’ve felt sad that I haven’t sold more or made this list or had sold movie rights or starred in my own picture.
I’ve written what I have written because the words came from my heart.

Cait said to me this morning, “WAITING meant so much to me.”
A book written from grief and pain and wondering if I was valued by the God I love.
I told her, “I would have never written that book, Cait, if it hadn’t been for you.”

Since last year I have decided to rejoice in whatever I write.
And that’s what I intend to do.

I may be a little sorry I don’t make a lot of money or don’t make the special lists or bring in the awards or get to be the start of my own sitcom.
But I will never be sorry for the words I have chosen to put to paper. And I will never be ashamed of them.

And no matter what you write, neither should you.



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8 responses to “Why Do I Have to Have Such a Good Smeller?

  1. CLW

    Not one of you said the award ceremony wasn’t today. What’s wrong with you people?! I plan on re-posting this terrific blog post AFTER someone else wins in the next few weeks. So there.

  2. And it IS a terrific blog post! Inspiring! Interesting! Exciting! Full of the hope and desires and wishes and angst we ALL feel. And THAT’s why we love CLW ! ! !

  3. this post has so much to it. i love it. i wish my vote mattered because if it did, you would have won long ago for The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson. i have loved all your books (sincerely and truly), but especially that one, which i reread to nearly every year. thank you for writing the books you want to write. they are real life and real love and real hurt and real hope. they are beautiful. just like you.

  4. Andrea

    I can’t say it any better than Shar did, but I agree with her wholeheartedly:).

  5. Cheryl Christensen

    Carol, what a beautiful post. That was so inspiring and touching. And, maybe you don’t realize it but you are the star of the show!


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