When a Loss is a Win


My family is very involved in horse shows. My daughter in particular. She spends hours a week riding and training horses. She even has been given the honor of having her own student and being an apprentice judge at an event. To say she is dedicated would be putting it mildly.

Something happened recently that sparked a rather thought provoking conversation between us.

My daughter had arrived at our district horse show with two horses in tow. She had placed with them in every event at our county show. And we were very proud of her for her effort and achievement. At the district show, it was a different result. Each class recognized the top eight competitors, although only three or four continued on to the state level. My daughter walked away with three ribbons, but did not continue on to the state level.

Was she disappointed? Of course. She wanted to go to the state competition very much. I was disappointed for her. But in her? Never.

Hence, our discussion. Because in my eyes, even though she didn’t move on, she still came out a winner. Why? Well, let’s look at what exactly she had accomplished. Her own mare had gone lame during the winter and she needed to find a horse, fast. She chose a young, mostly untrained pony her trainer owned. This sweet pony did not know much of anything. His first show was a complete disaster. Instead of giving up, she worked with him every week. She was able to train a green pony to the level that he made it to the district class in every class she showed him in at our county show. He even took first place in English pleasure. And he managed to place in English Grooming and Showmanship at the district level. He took eighth place out of fifteen. That’s impressive for a little pony who couldn’t place at all for a long time at his county shows.

She learned so much, and her own training skills improved so much, that I believe she actually won more than any ribbon would show. Because I know she worked hard and did it all herself. Wow.

Then I started thinking about writing. What? How on earth can this be tied to writing? It really is. Trust me. Many writers, myself included, enter contests and/or submit manuscripts to various publishers. Frequently, the results are a rejection. And that is so painful. But is it necessarily a failure?

It feels like one. It hurts like one.

In the end, though, I think we have an opportunity to grow. Most of the writers I know take those rejections, cry a little, than read the comments and try to look at the response objectively. We look for the advice that will help us improve and grow in our craft. Because many generous authors and editors step up to the plate to offer their wisdom and encouragement. I’m humbled by the time and energy they expend to help others.

Writing is not an easy endeavor. Like my daughter’s work with horses, it takes grit, determination, and the willingness to try again when things don’t go as planned. But for those of us called to it, there is also tremendous joy. Joy when we can encourage others. Joy when we can celebrate successes, ours and those of our friends, with others. And tremendous joy when readers contact us to tell us that the stories God entrusted us with has touched their hearts.

To writers, that is equivalent to any blue ribbon.




I love to hear from readers. One commenter on this post will win her choice of either Interrupted Lullaby, An Inconvenient Courtship, or The Colonel’s Timely Bride. Just leave a comment between now and October 7th. The winner will be chosen randomly.

Also, please consider signing up for my newsletter to get news on releases and contests.





  1. Debbie Miller on October 2, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    Hi Dana, I go to church with your Mother-in-law and she has been telling us about her granddaughter that loves horses for years! I did get a copy of Interrupted Lullaby and loved it. You have a new fan.

    • Dana R. Lynn on October 3, 2016 at 7:29 am

      Thanks, Debbie! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Virginia Winfield on October 5, 2016 at 11:06 am

    These books all look really good. Would love to win one.

  3. Ann on October 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Enjoyed your post Would love to win a copy of one of the books.

  4. Debora Wilder on November 3, 2016 at 1:17 am

    What a great post. I really like how you focused on the work your daughter did and not on the fact that she didn’t advance.

    • Dana R. Lynn on November 3, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks, Debora!

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