How NO helps you GROW

Keith Urban Quote


When I heard Keith Urban say the above words during last weeks’ airing of American Idol, I had a YES moment. These are words that I often want to say to beginning writers whose work I critique. These are words that every creative person needs to hear. These are words that I need to tell myself as I parent my children.

Urban was referring, of course, to the many contestants auditioning for American Idol who have failed to be truly competitive. What holds them back is often not a lack of talent. It is the failure to hone that talent. They have not improved because they’ve never opened their minds to the possibility that they need improvement. They have not looked for their flaws, seeking to eradicate them, because they’ve been told they are flawless.

It is a lesson for all who seek to stand out for a skill, craft, or talent. If we live by the old adage, “You can’t improve perfection,” we’d do well to remember another old saying, “Nobody’s perfect.”

I think this is an important thing to keep in mind for every professional. It is crucial for people like writers who work in a highly competitive field. Years ago, I was in a critique group that met monthly.  Two members of my group, every single month, wrote GREAT across the top of my manuscript. That five letter word didn’t help me at all. It made me want to scream, “If it’s so great, why hasn’t it sold? Tell me what’s WRONG with it!” But of course, I never did that. Instead, I eventually quit the group.

Now, I occasionally critique the work of other writers professionally. One writer whose work I’ve had the pleasure of reading is now blogging here at Nerdy Chicks Rule. Before I met Mary, her manuscript came to me with a note that said something like, “I want to know what I can do better. Give it to me straight. I can take it.” While that entire quote is not verbatim, I am positive the last three words are. They stood out. I could tell Mary was a writer who wanted to learn and improve. I immediately knew I’d like her. And I did!

Whether you are an author seeking publication or a singer seeking idolization, it is important to get feedback from someone who will point out your weaknesses. Your work is your own and you have to make final decisions about it for yourself. But I advise writers to look for feedback from the kind of person who will tell you if you have broccoli in your teeth, onion breath, or toilet paper stuck to your shoe. These are the people who want to save you from embarrassment. These are the people who will say, “That’s not so good.” By telling you NO, these people will ultimately help you hear YES!


Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at

Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at






Community and Candice

A lot of people claimed to stop watching American Idol this season because they didn’t like the judges. Maybe you didn’t like Nicki Minaj’s acerbic observations. Maybe you’ve heard one too many dogs walk out of Randy’s mouth. Maybe Mariah’s dahlings got on your nerves. Maybe you found Keith Urban irritating. Kidding. Keith Urban is perfect.But for whatever reason, a lot of TVs across the nation weren’t tuned in this season. This was not the case where I live, in Beaufort SC, where it seems every household in the county was tuned in to FOX on Wednesday and Thursday nights to watch our hometown girl, Candice Glover, perform. It has been an exciting few weeks for us here in our little town. If you missed Candice’s performances, take a look now. I  get chills every time I hear this one.

Candice, who tried out three times for AI and was reportedly once told by former judge Simon Cowell that she’d never amount to more than a lounge singer, is an inspiration to girls everywhere. Her journey shows us all the importance of believing in yourself, even in the face of discouragement, and fighting for your dreams. We here in Beaufort County love her for it.


Our community has thoroughly embraced Candice, who is from nearby St. Helena, which is part of Beaufort County, and located about  7 miles from downtown Beaufort. I’ve been touched by the far-

This month Beaufort was also voted America's Happiest Seaside Town. Who voted? The people who live here. More proof of what can happen when a community works together.

This month Beaufort was also voted America’s Happiest Seaside Town. Who voted? The people who live here. More proof of what can happen when a community works together.

reaching support shown for her. It makes me proud to live here. A local print shop, Murr’s printing, created signs that were free to the public and distributed widely. There are signs up on every storefront downtown. There are messages of hope and support  in front of schools, on bumper stickers, and on t-shirts. A fund was started by Shannon Erickson, a member of  the SC House of Representatives, to help send Candice’s parents to her performances. So much money was donated, that after the fund was started, Mr. and Mrs. Glover were able to fly out to LA  to make every performance to see their daughter sing.  There was even money left over to help fund the Hometown Concert, which cost the city around fifty thousand dollars.

Go CandiceWaste Management, where Candice’s father works, made special uniforms to show support, an effort which spread across their national company. There were many public viewings of Candice’s performances, offering opportunities for us to celebrate her progress together. The Highway 21 drive-in offered free showings, as did USCB, The Preserve, and other places around the county, including Hilton Head. The mayor sent out emails encouraging us to vote for Candice. The Chamber of Commerce encouraged voting through the newspaper. My Facebook feed was alive with Candice support. The list goes on and on.

I think Candice has an amazing voice, and I don’t think I’m biased in saying she was the best contestant! 😉 !  She could have won on talent alone, and she should have. But if community has anything to do with who wins, Beaufort County gave Candice an edge. A lot of people here know her, and she comes from a large tight-knit and wonderful family. The community loves them. My daughter met Candice’s cousin at the hometown concert. When she found out my daughter wanted an autograph, she arranged for my husband to deliver posters to Candice’s parents, who took them to LA, had them signed, and brought them back to us. We didn’t know Candice’s parents, but they were so gracious, and generous. I think this is how community works.

We are so proud of Candice Glover: The girl who never gave up, and who fought to keep believing!