By New York Times bestseller Dianna Love
I believe that every person is born with a gift. Sometimes that gift is obvious—what we call a talent—for something like music, art, acting, engineering, architecture or the equivalent. Other times those gifts are not as obvious and don’t fit into these categories, but I believe there are many talents and gifts that are as vital to the lives of others as the more “traditional” gifts.
One of the most overlooked—and most important—abilities in the world is the talent for encouraging others. My mom had a gift for loving and caring for her family, and she was the first to encourage me to pursue my art. She saw something in me—a passion for creating—when I was in grade school, and she stopped at nothing to allow me to pursue that passion and develop that gift. Because of her encouragement, I ended up with a successful career in art that spanned 30 years.
Then I found a new passion in writing with no idea that it would turn into a second career. But the nudges and encouragement of the writing community stoked the fire I had for telling stories, and little by little, a trickle turned into a stream, then into a river, and now my life is about creating worlds, telling stories and meeting readers – I’m thrilled beyond words.
I see examples of people nurturing that passion in others every day when I’m on the road at book signings, and even when I open my email. Readers are some of the most powerful people on earth because their love for stories is the reason an author writes. We would not have millions of books today if not for readers who love them.
I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to Sherrilyn Kenyon and me when readers come out to see us at book signings, or when I get a note from a reader saying they love the books or wanting to know when the next book comes out. That enthusiasm for our stories—that encouragement to keep writing– keeps both of us going when we’re deep in the writing cave working late into the night on the next adventure.
Because of encouragement I’ve received along the way, it’s always been important to me to give back and help others. Art teachers and my mom urged me to pursue my art, and other generous writers told me “Dianna, you can do it” when I was writing my first book. Those words made a huge difference to me, and I believe they make a difference to every person pursuing a dream, whether that passion is physics, astronomy, gardening, sewing, parenting or filmmaking. For this reason, I’m always glad when I can tell someone, “Keep going, you can do it!”
Art contests meant a lot to me when I was in middle school and high school, and they’re one of the things that let me know that art was something I should pursue. With each contest, I pushed myself to do the best work I could do, and when I finaled or won, it validated my work and encouraged me to keep going. Writing contests did the same for me when I started creating fiction. Winning a coveted Rita® Award for my first book was something I’ll never forget, and it made such a difference to know others loved what I was doing.
That’s why I decided to sponsor an art contest. I’d had the idea for a few years, and then readers fell in love with Feenix, the adorable pet gargoyle in Blood Trinity (the first Belador novel released in October 2010) and started asking for a picture of him. I sat down to sketch him and the light bulb came on. What better way to encourage other artists than to offer a contest where artists created images of Feenix!
So if you’re an artist, or know one, give the gift of encouragement to that person or to yourself. There’s no cost to enter and it’s open to several mediums of art. Drawing, painting, sculpting, sewing stuffed animals, or computer graphics—all have a place in the contest.
Prizes include cash, iPads™, money for school art departments, books for libraries, and more.
Tell an artist about the My Feenix™ Art Contest and encourage that person to enter! The next best thing to pursuing your own gift with passion, is giving back—and helping someone else to do the same.
Details about the contest are at www.MyFeenix.com
About Dianna Love
New York Times best seller Dianna Love always liked to do things big…and still does. After spending years creating unusual marketing projects for Fortune 500 companies, she’s now released her energetic muse on writing high-octane romantic thrillers and urban fantasy with the release of BLOOD TRINITY, first book in the Belador series by Dianna and Sherrilyn Kenyon. Dianna’s first book sold & won a prestigious RITA® Award (as Dianna Love Snell). Her next book hit the NYT best seller list. She speaks to readers and writers at national and international events throughout the year. For more info go to www.AuthorDiannaLove.com or visit her on Facebook at the Dianna Love Fan Page.