Donna Cummings and I have had many virtual celebrations – most involving make-believe brownies and some sort of alcoholic beverage. From births and birthdays to actually getting out of bed and getting dressed for the day, there’s millions of reasons to celebrate. And one of the best? Finishing your book. Woot! Party! Brownies!
There are lots of holidays in the next few weeks, and it’s easy to get caught up in the maelstrom of preparing for them–to the point that we forget the goal of all of that manic behavior: celebrating.
The very same thing happens with writing. There’s a zillion things to accomplish before a story can be published. There’s writing, of course, and NOT writing (which eats up a lot of time, surprisingly). There’s also fretting about writing and fretting about NOT writing. Don’t forget editing, and fretting about if you can implement the editor’s suggestions without the delete key breaking off. Oh, and don’t forget marketing and social media and still more books to write. . .
Hmm, I didn’t notice any room in that schedule for celebrating our accomplishments. Why is that?
Maybe we’re too focused on the work aspect. Or maybe we view celebrating as some sort of guilty pleasure. We downplay our successes if they’re not the big ones that can be emblazoned on a book cover.
There could possibly be some superstition involved. A little pat on the back could jinx us. The hubris of declaring “good job, you!” has the potential of forever freezing our arm with elbow pointing skyward, all because we sought to congratulate ourselves for a brief instant.
It’s funny how we’re always willing to celebrate others’ achievements. We’ll hoist a brownie or two when our friends have a joyous occasion in their lives. We don’t think twice about singing Happy Birthday in a restaurant to complete strangers.
It’s time we do the same for ourselves, and I’ve got a few reasons why you should feel good about doing it, with 0% guilt:
Celebrating is the Epilogue of the Writing Process
Writing “The End” is an exhilarating moment, and with good reason. It’s the author’s version of a happily-ever-after.
But we often miss the opportunity to revel in this HEA moment–probably because we’re so relieved to discover the finish line was NOT made of disappearing ink. (We had good reason to think that. Seriously.)
If you think of the writing process as a mirror of a story arc, celebrating is the epilogue. This is when everything is sparkly and shiny and everyone is happy beyond measure. The tumult and aggravations that occurred before this point have faded into oblivion.
All is calm, all is bright.
Now is the time to congratulate yourself. Heck, it’s time to reward yourself. It doesn’t have to involve a case of champagne and a truckload of brownies. (Although if that IS how you’re celebrating, send me an invite. Stat.)
Your festivities might include binge-watching a show you missed while racing to get your book finished. Maybe it’s tweeting up a storm because you had to miss all that fun stuff when deadlines were looming.
The important thing is to set aside some time to recognize, and revel in, your accomplishment. If you think of it as a vital element of the writing process, you’ll be eager to celebrate each time you finish a book. You’ll also realize. . .
Celebrating Is Valuable Writer Self-Care
After the initial excitement of diving into that irresistible new story idea, it isn’t long before you comprehend that writing is actually about 56% voodoo and 44% trying to figure out what the heck to do with the random scenes and stray bits of dialogue your brain coughs up. Transforming this ragtag assortment of stuff into a coherent and compelling narrative requires a lot of mental stamina. (It only looks like sitting and staring out the window for hours on end.)
When we’re consumed with a story, it’s easy to forget our beleaguered brain needs essentials like food and water, rest and exercise. Our “self-care” consists of sloshing more coffee into the cup and grabbing the nearest food-esque item before plopping back down in front of the keyboard for another writing marathon.
Then, when we’ve finally reached that nirvana known as “The End”, how do we celebrate? By falling to the floor in a dead faint, choking on the dust bunnies that have staged a coup while we were blind to their nefarious plots.
Talk about a crappy party! We deserve more. We finished a book! It’s like opening a birthday card expecting to see money, but getting a coupon for socks instead.
So treat yourself, and treat yourself well. If you haven’t been out of the house for days, take a walk. Maybe the seasons have changed since your last outing. Maybe your neighbors have. Order that fancy schmancy coffee drink you always talk yourself out of. Get lunch that isn’t in a bag or from the freezer. Take a nap or sleep in. It’s not indulgence. It’s giving your brain a chance to recharge so it’s ready for the next pre-celebratory experience (AKA writing).
In short, think of a gift you would give your BFF to let them know now proud you are of their accomplishment—and give that to you. Because, when it comes down to it. . .
You Deserve to Celebrate
And not just once in a while, but every day. I know, your guilt meter is probably clanging loudly, but think back to how hard it was to do something for the first time, and then how it got a little easier each time after that. We can learn how to enjoy celebrations the same way.
Start out small, even if it’s just a grin or a silent high five at hitting the word count for the day. Work up to bigger things. It’ll be second nature in no time. You’ll feel “celebration deficient” without it.
Still not convinced? Then think of celebrating as a form of encouragement, the ole “carrot” in the carrot-and-stick equation (but make mine crème brulee, okay?) Knowing there’s a treat for us at the end of the tough parts is a great motivator.
Okay, time to put on our party hats. The virtual barista and bartender should be here soon. While we’re waiting, feel free to share the celebratory things you’re planning! I can’t wait to celebrate with you.
What do YOU do to celebrate the end of a book? Either reader or writing it? Do tell…
Join us next week for more amazing blog posts from RU!
Bio: I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.
I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.
Six of today’s most popular regency romance authors come together to deliver a holiday anthology full of passion, promise, and scandalous dalliance. Have Yourself A Very Wicked Christmas!
In Heather Boyd‘s The Christmas Affair, a lonely shopkeeper offers shelter to a beautiful, not so innocent miss to overcome the bitter memories of Christmases past, but could such a wicked connection ever lead to a happily-ever-after? A dashing spy with marriage on his mind seeks to rekindle the spark by any means possible with the woman who claimed his heart in Love at First Dance by Barbara Monajem. A scandalous widow rescues the man of her dreams – but his secrets could destroy their love in Nicola Davidson‘s Joy to the Earl. A masquerade ball was no place to be reckless with your innocence, and yet one scorching look at the masked highwayman urges Miss Partridge to do just that in Mistletoe and the Marquess by Wendy Vella. In Lord Misrule by Donna Cummings, a young widow chooses a handsome rogue to be her first lover, but his regrets from a past Christmas may end their affair before it even commences. A blue-stocking becomes a courtesan to escape a murderer in The Glittering Prize, an intrigue-filled romance by Beverley Oakley about finding love where it’s least expected.
This is an all-new collection of stand-alone complete works.
- Weekly Lecture Schedule, December 17-21, 2012
- Outsmarting Your Brain with Donna Cummings
- Weekly Lecture Schedule December 15-19
- Can I Have 15 Minutes of Your Time? Donna Cummings
- Can I Have 15 Minutes of Your Time? Donna Cummings