Monday, December 2, 2013

4 Reasons to Celebrate Your Writing Milestones

Writing is a long journey. We can’t simply wake up one morning, say, “I’m going to write a book today,” and it’s done. It takes time to craft, develop an idea, research, plot, write the first draft, rewrite, revise and edit. The journey isn’t done once the book is complete. Those cover blurbs, queries, and synopses need to be written. And still the journey isn’t done once the book is out in the public. There’s the marketing, more marketing, and still more marketing … and then there is the next book.

Because of everything that needs to be done, the book can seem like a golden egg at the end of an arduous quest through rocky terrain, past fire-breathing dragons, across seas of flesh-melting lava. Okay, so perhaps not that bad, but you get the picture I’m painting here. The sheer magnitude of what we want to achieve can become daunting. We need to break the journey into manageable sections, the end of each with its own little treasure waiting for us. And that treasure is the celebrations. Here’s why:

Celebrations give writers:

1. A sense of achievement. By celebrating our milestones, no matter how small those achievements might be, we turn our focus from what we haven’t yet done, to what we have. We can look forward with a sense of satisfaction, which in turn builds our confidence to keep working toward that golden end goal of publication.

2. A reminder of the love of writing. Celebrations build the passion we have for not only the end product, but the little joys along the way. It’s easy to get caught up in the doubts and questions and hard work. As a consequence, we might begin to drag our feet. To regain our skip, and recall why we love writing so much, we need to step back and celebrate.

3. A ticket back to reality. Often when I write, I throw myself into my story world and get caught up with the characters. It’s good to step away and reconnect with the human race. Celebration is an easy way of doing this. It coaxes us from our self-made writing caves and invites others in.

4. A needed break. Celebrations provide a necessary break and enable us to dive into the next part of the process better equipped. If we keep working without taking a moment to step back, then we’ll lose that special something in the story.

So the next time you complete an outline, polish a chapter, or query an agent, celebrate. You’ve come a long way. You’ve taken an amazing step. You are a writer.

What are some ways you like to celebrate? What have you most recently celebrated?

Don’t forget this Wednesday is IWSG day where we all post about our writing insecurities. If you haven’t already joined our group and would like to take part in our encouraging community, then you can sign up HERE.



Lynda R. Young found success as a digital artist and an animator for many years, and now as a writer of speculative short stories. Her work is published in a number of anthologies and online. She is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative.
You can find her here: Blog, Twitter, Facebook



33 comments:

Andrew Leon said...

I'm not really a party person.

P V Ariel said...

As Andrew said I am also a man of no celebrations!
But by reading this piece it prompts me to jump into celebration mood. LOL
As far as I am concern every moment of our life is a celebration and we need to thank God for that in celebration!!!
Keep Going,
Keep inform
Phil

sjp said...

Sometimes its easy to miss a milestone until you look back and think, actually, that was pretty good!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We have to recognize what we've done or the road ahead will overwhelm!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

If we just focus on the big goal, we'll get discouraged because it won't look like we are making much progress. We have to celebrate each step in the process.

Terri Tiffany said...

The celebrating is the best part! I try to recognize the steps too ....if not it is a blur.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I often forget to celebrate those milestones. Thanks for the reminder! :)

I often try to work on smaller, more manageable projects, writing related or otherwise, in addition to a novel - something with a beginning and an end I can easily see!

Julie Flanders said...

I'm like Madeline and usually forget to celebrate milestones like this. I seem to always be thinking about the next goal and don't take time to celebrate one I've achieved. Thanks for this reminder to change that!

G.S. Jennsen said...

It just so happens I finished the draft of my novel, "Starshine," yesterday after a flurry of post-Thanksgiving writing.

My husband encouraged me to celebrate (and pretty much just started celebrating whether I wanted to or not), and we ended up having a lovely evening :).

Pat Hatt said...

I recognize my feats, but don't celebrate, just keep on keeping on

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Lynda,

I try to celebrate by taking a long walk through nature's beauty. It clears my head from the stress and awakens the senses.

Three weeks in Colombia, SA, certainly gave me some amazing insight to a world not on the beaten path.

Some amazing highs and lows that reflected the mountainous terrain beautifully.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I haven't celebrated anything in a while, unless going a whole day without accidentally-on-purpose tripping an annoying person is cause for celebration. But I think it is important to celebrate writing; like you said, it's good to celebrate the things you love and that make you happy.

lmmilford said...

I have a tendancy to not really mark it when I hit goals or achievements. This means I tend to keep driving forwards instead of occasionally stopping to take stock. Thanks for the reminder. Will make sure I celebrate more!

Jemi Fraser said...

A hot chocolate with mini marshmallows always works! :)

jamieayres.com said...

The best way to celebrate is with some chocolate and good coffee :-)

Christine Rains said...

Great post. I celebrate with chocolate or ice cream or both! I recently celebrated completing my 10th year of NaNoWriMo with peanut butter cookies. Yum!

Lynda R Young said...

Andrew, the celebrations don't have to be full-on parties. When I completed NaNo this year, I celebrated with chocolate cake. :)

PV, I totally agree. Every moment is a celebration. God is awesome like that.

sjp, exactly

Alex, well said.

Diane, celebrations are the best way to keep that discouragement away.

Terri, hehe, it can turn into a blur sometimes.

Madeline, yes! Those smaller projects also help with that sense of achievement.

Julie, yep, the next goal is never far from my mind.

GS, a huge congrats for finishing your novel!!!!

Pat, aw, you don't celebrate even just a little?

Lynda R Young said...

Michael, long walks are brilliant for clearing the mind and also have a way of refreshing the creativity.

Workaholic, that could be a cause for celebration :)

Immilford, I'll admit that sometimes I do the same, but when I do celebrate, it makes a huge difference.

Jemi, I'm with you!!!

Jamie, the best things in life! Well, the chocolate is anyway ;)

Christine, both is good!! wow, you've done Nano for 10 years! I'm so impressed!

Tyrean Martinson said...

A big cup of vanilla chai tea with French vanilla coconut milk and honey . . . or a good walk. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

And thank you for the reminder to celebrate! I admit, I don't remember that sometimes.

Meradeth Houston said...

I'm trying to think of the last time I celebrated--I think my last release warranted going out to dinner. Hmm, I think I need to remedy this! :)

Michelle Wallace said...

I've never thought about celebrating the milestones/achievements... not in a conscious way...
In my mind, I acknowledge them. That's about it.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great reasons to celebrate, Lynda. After finishing a manuscript, I usually reward myself by taking a week off to do nothing but read during my usual writing hours.

Crystal Collier said...

This is why I keep the cheese handy. "Mini milestone. Wahoo!" Toss a slice back and return to work. =)

Lynda R Young said...

Tyrean, wow, you know how to drink chai!! I've never had it with French vanilla coconut milk and honey.

Meradeth, going out to dinner is a favourite.

Michelle, acknowledging them is definitely important :)

Susan, reading is not only crucial, but it's fun too.

Crystal, your love of cheese is legendary.

Lexa Cain said...

"...the book can seem like a golden egg at the end of an arduous quest through rocky terrain, past fire-breathing dragons, across seas of flesh-melting lava."

Yup, that's it exactly. I agree with celebrating in theory, but I don't do it unless it's a book release. At every other stage there's still just too much work to be done.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I agree that it's important to celebrate the milestones along the way. Short breaks watching a favorite TV show, or having your favorite snack really help break up the day.

Julie

Toinette Thomas said...

I try to let each celebration fit the accomplishment. If I just finished writing a chapter, I may watch a half hour of tv or read a chapter from a book. If I finish a first draft, I get ice cream or some other sweet treat. I find ways to celebrate all my little acommplishement so I don't let all my struggles and setbacks get to me.

Rick Marchetti said...

When I finish a book, I celebrate with a cigar.

Javier I Carbajal said...

With a long nap and all day long doing nothing but tv at sofa

shayla kwiatkowski said...

Thanks for the reminder. It is very necessary to remind myself how much I LOVE writing. I LOVE creating. But when life gets cranky, it is too easy to see writing as just another chore. I am fortunate to ba able to write to my own satisfaction, and I do enjoy the journey. But we also have to remember to apply the same joy to life--- even when it seems overwhelming.

Leonie van de Vorle said...

Hi everyone, just signed up, newish eauthor Leonie from Australia. I never thought to celebrate either, but it is such a great idea, I'm going to from now on.

Sylva-MD-Poetry said...

Every book is celebration ... We should celebrate
but there is no time for celebration...
I celebrated not for my poetry books, but with my first medical article in 'The Lancet' ...which took me years to publish ...Books are easy to publish compared to scientific articles...each article punishes you till it is published...
one article is not equal to 10 books...!!!