Charlie Bear here to introduce you to Mom Peep again. Here’s her important post, especially if you entered the Guideposts Writers Workshop Contest. Did you?

TAYLOR’S TIPS for a more productive you…

What happens when a writer enters a contest and doesn’t win? One of two things occurs.

The writer digs deep, looks at the possible reasons why (we’ll analyze those below), and tries again.


The writer folds up into a shell, depressed, angry, confused, and never submits another piece of work.

Which writer are you?

I attended a class on writing for Guideposts in 1997. In 1998 I sent in my story to the Guideposts Writers Workshop Contest. I thought I had it down. I was confident. But I wasn’t chosen.

sad face

There are many reasons an entry doesn’t make “the cut.” In the case of the Guideposts contest, they receive thousands of entries and they run the contest only every other year. Look at those odds. On top of that, there are many good stories out there. Many good writers. It’s a daunting task to the editors to choose only 12 people.

When I didn’t hear anything in 1998, I knew I didn’t make it. (They don’t contact the thousands of people who submitted unless they are chosen.) I was sad, but not entirely depressed. Heck, I was up against staggering odds. So you know what I did? I took the same story, yes, the same story, and reworked it, revised it, looked at it with a critical eye to see what they were printing in their magazine, how my story might fit, how I could make it better. Then I rewrote it. Put a different title on it. Chose a different editor to address my cover letter to, and sent it out again in 2000. Again I didn’t hear. In 2002 I did the same thing to the story. Didn’t hear again.

By 2004 I must admit that all that reworking, revising, reshaping, turned me into a better writer. I had attended workshops on how to write personal experience short stories every year since 1998 and I cut my teeth on the art and craft of an inspirational short story by submitting numerous times to Chicken Soup. And I was accepted over and over again. Huh, I thought, I’m making it here, why not there? I didn’t give up. I kept on writing for Chicken Soup, other magazines and anthology publications, even the local Orange County Register, and in 2004, I submitted that same story again to the Guideposts contest.

After trudging out to the mailbox one August day in 2004, I came back into my garage holding an oversized blue and white envelope that said Guideposts in the upper left-hand corner. I stood in front of my washer and dryer, ripped it open, and read the words, “We’d like to invite you to join us at the Writers Workshop in Rye, New York…..” You should have seen me. Oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh. That was all I could say. I was a babbling mess. It took eight years, but I was finally chosen and now I’m a Guideposts writers workshopper. Can you just imagine the thrill?

winner on billboard

The rest is history. I have written many stories for Guideposts, Angels on Earth and other publications in addition to now having published 40 stories in the Chicken Soup line of books, an inspirational book titled CHARLIE BEAR, a compilation of heartwarming stories in SUNNY SIDE UP, and my agent is working on selling my first fiction book (hint: it’s about a young woman searching for love and the capricious and unruly dog that helps her find it). And I’m not stopping there. I have many more stories within me.

Do you think YOU should give up? Absolutely not.

Hugs and love, and blessings on your work.

Follow your dreams…

What’s Going On:

Did You Enter the Guideposts Contest? A reader asked the question on the Guideposts blog on Aug 24: Will there be a general announcement on your website when the winners have been chosen and notified?

  • And a reply from: bleveridge on Monday, August 25, 2014 at 9:32 am:
  • The winners were chosen and notified last week. Their names will be announced in a future issue of Guideposts.

So for those of us wondering, we have our answer. But do not give up hope for the future. Please enter again. I know it hurts to not be chosen, but please be excited along with me for Judy, an attendee at the FCWC earlier this year who attended my class on the P MS to a T formula. She entered the Guideposts Writers Workshop Contest and won! I am thrilled for her and for all of you who did your best with your submission. I applaud you all. Now go forward and revise for the next time!

Thank you! To everyone who responded to my question on whether I should write the book on how to write inspirational short stories using the P MS to a T formula, I humbly thank you. I hope to have it out within a few months. I want it to be good, very good, so that many of you can enjoy the success, thrill, and reward of seeing your work in print.

Orange County Christian Writers Conference The 2015 conference will be held on Friday, April 24 (5:30–9:30), and Saturday, April 25 (8:00–5:00). Location: Trinity Presbyterian Church in Santa Ana, California. This conference was packed with writers and full of enthusiasm in 2014. Jump-start your writing for 2015 by attending.

Northwest Christian Writers Renewal May 15-16, 2015 in Redmond Washington (near Seattle). I’m excited to be on faculty and look forward to teaching and meeting with writers. Put this one on your calendar.

* * * * *

A review of Charlie Bear: What a Headstrong Rescue Dog Taught Me About Life, Love, and Second Chances

4.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Bear has a good home., August 3, 2014

By sara sara

“I did like the book. B.J. Taylor has a lot of patience and I’m so happy Charlie Bear got a good home. I passed the book on so someone else can enjoy the story.”

* * * * * *

Want to hear Charlie Bear’s “voice”?

Here’s his photo shoot for the Guideposts story:

He’s also on Facebook:
on Twitter: @CharlieBearY2K.

Did You Enter and Were you Wondering?
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8 thoughts on “Did You Enter and Were you Wondering?

  • September 5, 2014 at 1:13 am

    B.J. & C.B. I’ll have to pass on this one for I am not a writer I can only read and dearly love reading B.J.’s books, the only fault is she does not write one often enough, but realize she is pretty busy taking care of you and her other duties. Keep on keeping on B.K.
    Love and hugs,
    Alice & Beaugie

    • September 5, 2014 at 7:02 am

      Alice and Beaugie,
      Thanks for the encouragement for Mom Peep. She is working on writing a couple of books just as we speak…but they take a lot of her time, like you said. I wish I could type for her. Wouldn’t that be cool?
      Wiggles and woofs,
      Charlie Bear

  • August 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Oh, BJ, what fun to relive those days with you! What tenacity! Yes, you grew during the journey and the story became deeper, but it was already good because you’re a good writer. It’s such a joy to watch as you continue to make your mark, bringing your light to other writers and animal lovers and all who know you. Thanks for the journey! Love, Jean

    • August 26, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Oh, those days of tenacity are right! Still doing it, too.
      I think back all the time on what you and the Sixteen Thumbs have helped me to achieve. I never could have done it without you.
      Hugs and love,

  • August 26, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I never knew this amazing story! What tenacity! What faith! Wowowowo! And just think–if you’d have won any earlier, we probably wouldn’t have met. And become lifelong friends. xoxo

    • August 26, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      That’s funny you use the word “tenacity.” When asked to describe me in one word, members of my Sixteen Thumbs writers group used the word tenacious. And look at that…we would not have met had I won any other year. What is meant to be, is meant to be, and God always has a plan.
      Best friends and lifelong for sure!

  • August 26, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Thank you, B.J. I will forward your letter to the writers in my group who participated in the contest. I am so disappointed, but will not give up. Thank you for the encouragement to read the magazine and write accordingly. When I grow up I want to be a writer like you!!

    • August 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Please do not give up. Anything worth having is worth working hard for. And this is a big one.
      Warm hugs,


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