There’s a little badge on this page immediately to the right of what you’re reading right now, labeled “International Society of Family History Writers and Editors.” (Yep, you got it, the colorful one with the quill feather pen, green ink bottle, laptop and book.)
Well, as actress Sally Field exclaimed so many years ago at an Academy Awards ceremony upon winning that golden statue: “You like me….You really like me!”
That’s how I felt last week at the national FGS conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana when I received not one, but two, writing awards from ISFHWE, that international organization of family history storytellers.
Now don’t get me wrong, armed with a decades old journalism degree, I’ve been writing in both paid and unpaid arenas for years: for hospitals, software and insurance companies, newspapers, magazines and blogs; for women’s clubs, genealogy societies and PTOs. The difference, though, is this:
Being paid by an employer for producing the written word results in a paycheck–and while certainly not to be discounted (no pun intended)–such writing can become routine, expected, and taken for granted over time by that same employer. Unpaid submissions to non-profit publications are appreciated by editors because–let’s face it–those stories fill space and the number of volunteers willing to do that kind of job can be few and far between.
But winning a writing award from an outside third party which has nothing whatsoever to gain by what I produce, is an experience unto itself:
It’s 100% pure validation–recognition–appreciation–in the truest sense of each of those words.
It’s saying that what I’ve written matters: that my words and the ways in which I’ve put them together, have been judged by my peers to be thought provoking, insightful, educational, encouraging, or perhaps simply entertaining. It makes me feel a little bit like Sally Field. It tells me that yes, “You like me….You really like me!” (or at least my writing anyway).
And that means a lot to someone whose writing has most often been employed to promote corporate objectives, publicize non-profit events, or simply fill up those last few column inches of space.
So thank you, ISFHWE, for recognizing, appreciating, and yes, validating my written efforts in the fields of genealogy and family history. I can’t think of any other areas I’ve ever enjoyed writing for as much as these.
It’s incredibly gratifying to have those efforts acknowledged by this professional writers’ organization.
Thank you also, to my loyal readers at Going In-Depth online genealogy magazine; theindepthgenealogist.com; and of course, all of you who follow me right here on my own personal genealogy blog at www.GeneaJourneys.wordpress.com.
Finally, a heartfelt congratulations to all of my fellow award winners from the 2013 ISFHWE “Excellence-in-Writing Competition” whose names and submissions can be found right here. Do check them out. They’re all excellent as the name of this award suggests.
Now…what shall I write about next?
Copyright © 2013 Patricia Desmond Biallas