Sunday, June 13, 2010

Milestones & Celebrations

My daughter graduated from college yesterday and it started me thinking on milestones. There are so many in life, usually accompanied by a celebration. Now, they even graduate preschoolers (I'm not knocking it - just sayin'). But once you're an adult and out of college, what milestones do you celebrate? Getting older? Not that there's anything wrong with getting older, I'm a fan of it myself, 'cause the alternative isn't much fun, I've heard. But really. Promotion at work? That's great, but if you're a writer, your heart is usually not at your day job.

In writing there are milestones, but usually nobody throws you a party to celebrate. Finish that first book, or send out the first round of query letters, friends may buy you a drink - or if you're really lucky, dinner. Going to your first conference, networking and getting an audience with an editor or agent is a huge milestone. Everybody will cheer when you get published, but *sometimes* that can be a long time to wait. Great friends will toast to your continued success, but in the end, it's the milestones YOU celebrate that mark your progress in this business.

So my advice - for what it's worth, LOL! - is to celebrate those moments in writing, even if you don't feel it's worthy of mentioning. If you belong to a writer's group, let them know you hit a milestone. If you have writer buddies, email them a quick note that you've accomplished something great. Have a virtual toast if you don't live close to your critique partner or writing friends. BUT CELEBRATE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Nobody is going to beat down your door to congratulate you.

Here are just a few, if you want to write them down:
  • Book completed
  • Queries out to editors and/or agents
  • Request for more pages from queries to editors and/or agents
  • Rejections (because you're sending out your work!)
  • Pro Status at Romance Writer's of America (requirements: you must be a member of RWA, completed a book AND received a rejection from editor or agent - hey, a reason to celebrate that rejection!!)
  • Book sale, or even a phone call from interested editor and/or agent
  • Landing that coveted agent
  • Book deal (2+ books)
  • Movie deal and/or interest in book for a movie

This is not a comprehensive list, they're just milestones off the top of my head. I'm celebrating that I'm making progress toward my goal every week. 26,00+ words and counting. You may have more, or less. Tell me - what are the milestones you celebrate?


  1. I celebrate all of those you've mentioned, as you know, since you're usually the one I tip a margarita or Bailey's to :)

    Recent celebrations: Finished the book. About to finish rewriting so I can send the manuscript out to cold readers :) Whoot!

  2. My heart is always on writing when I'm at work these days. I always think, "How can I incorporate this moment into something in writing?"

    The mini milestone I'm celebrating these days is that I'm actually writing something every single day. My brain is always in writing mode, even when I'm not sitting in front of my laptop or have a pen in my hand. I even write little notes to myself on Post-Its at work more and more and weird my coworkers out, which is totally fine. :)

  3. Susan - You are my hero and the reason I celebrate the milestones that I do! Congrats on finishing the book, I believe we need to drink to that, LOL!

    Kate - Congratulations on writing something every day (no, your name doesn't count, LOL!). That is an accomplishment to celebrate. I've found that keeping my writing in my head all the time by thinking about it actually makes it easier to write when I get that moment to sit down. Go ahead - weird your coworkers out, they deserve it for being normal :-).

  4. Fabulous post, Darla!
    And the mantra comes to me at a very good time. There are so many things that get swept under the rug as we get sucked into the every day life of writing, you forget to appreciate even those little accomplishments that happen. Like even writing one page.
    One of the milestones I'm celebrating right now is getting revisions done for my publisher in 4 days because they needed a quick turnaround. I didn't think I'd be able to do it, but I did. I'm still recovering from not sleeping much over those 4 days, lol. I celebrated by having a Big Mac, fries and a coke (I consider that a freakin treat, lol) Here's to YOUR milestones Darla!
    Cheers and much love,

  5. Delilah - Thank you! Glad the mantra comes at good time. Congrats on getting the revisions done, I knew you could do it! Keep the faith, never say never until you try :-). If Micky D's a celebration for you - go for it girl! Cheers to you. XOXO!