Conference Challenge #3: Give yourself a woo-HOO!

What do you notice when you look at this picture?

I notice how despite this Olympic rider doing a great job clearing a difficult fence, he’s not taking the time to celebrate his accomplishment or to acknowledge his efforts. Instead, where’s he looking? Toward the next fence to jump, his next obstacle to tackle.

Now, when it comes to show jumping, there’s no time between fences to give yourself a woo-HOO. There’s no celebrating until the course is completed but most likely, that rider will only reflect on his ride as a whole, and not think about his performance at that one individual fence. Unless, of course, that one fence looked like this:

Isn’t this also true for writing?

How many times do we allow ourselves to fully celebrate our individual accomplishments? How many times do we acknowledge a job well done, whether it’s a finishing a rough draft, submitting a manuscript, or forgetting our fears by joining a critique group? Instead, we’re always looking ahead, thinking of that ultimate goal: Selling a book.

Or we’re thinking of our failures.

But here’s the thing. Even when you do reach the ultimate goal of selling a book, some writers still don’t allow themselves to fully celebrate. No, instead, they keep looking ahead at that next fence to clear, to that next book sale.

Like me. I have a book coming out in June–what some would call a major accomplishment, but am I allowing myself to celebrate? No. I’m too busy being worried about not doing enough book promotion and how I better finish editing my two work-in-progress novels so it doesn’t take me another five years before I sell another book. I’m looking ahead and ahead only.

And then there’s the BUTS. Sometimes when we do acknowledge our accomplishments, we have to throw in a “but”.

I finished a rough draft today, BUT the story didn’t turn out the way I wanted.

I finished another round of edits, BUT the manuscript still needs a ton of work.

I finally went to my first SCBWI conference, BUT I was too nervous to talk to anybody.

I submitted a picture book to an editor, BUT there’s a typo on page four I must have missed.

I have a book coming out, BUT I haven’t yet sold another.

Does any of this sound familiar? I know my hand is surely raised.

Enough already.

I think we all deserve a break this week, especially since this is a busy, busy time of year for most folks with kids getting out of school, graduations, etc. So let’s try something different for today’s challenge.


That’s right, this challenge is going to be about you taking the time to celebrate all the jumps you’ve cleared, whether it’s a small two-foot fence or a massive five-foot oxer.

Get out a piece of paper. Write down everything you have accomplished lately, big and small. Stuff like plotting a manuscript. Submitting artwork to a publisher. Finishing a rough draft. Signing on with an agent. Participating in one of our challenges, etc.

Once you’re done, I want you to take that list and spend an hour sometime during this week celebrating, whether it’s by having a glass of wine on your front porch, watching a favorite movie, or just scheduling a little bit of me time to read a new book.

You’re liking this challenge, aren’t you?

Good, because come next week, we’re throwing a toughy at you. So until then, let’s reflect on the good we’ve done with absolutely no BUTS!

Happy writing and drawing, everyone! 🙂

Challenge #1: Voice or Point of View?

Challenge #2: Why do you love it?

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
This entry was posted in Writing & Drawing Exercises. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Conference Challenge #3: Give yourself a woo-HOO!

  1. Thanks for the reminder, Laura! A big woo-hoo to you!

  2. Sue Poduska says:

    This was one I could sink my teeth into. Done with the list and moving on to the reward – reading a Richard Peck novel I had yet to pick up. Thanks!

  3. Julie Dietzel-Glair says:

    I like this challenge. I think my biggest woo-HOO this past week was signing up for Camp Nanowrimo. That means I should have another big woo-HOO at the end of the month when 50,000 words have been written.

    Does it count if I got my reward before reading the challenge? My nephew from Alabama is in town and I took time today to visit him. 🙂

  4. My sanity probably needs this challenge. I just had to figure out how to change the avatar/gravatar (and let’s not digress into how much I find this jargon distasteful) on my website/blog. In the last few months I have joined SCBWI and this chapter; committed to the conference in July; applied for a critique slot for my novel; and finished the first complete draft of the novel. Still working on getting the woo-hoo feeling as I cling to what feels like the bottom rung of the achievement ladder. But you are right: steps are steps. I know how to count blessings. Now it is time to learn how to recognize progress! Thanks!

  5. Yay! I did it!

    Woo Hoo! I am all caught up on the Conference Challenges!! I still get to be a rock star 🙂

  6. Miranda McClain says:

    I am celebrating my first pay check as a writer from my first official author visit! Wa-hoo! Sangria on the newly completed back patio. Wa-hoo again:o) Thanks for a super fun one this time.

  7. Pingback: Conference Challenge #4 – Speed Plotting « As the Eraser Burns

  8. Lona Queen says:

    1. Finished the rough draft that I started on the MMGM Challenge.
    2. Did some Google research to pin down some info I need for the re-editing of my rough draft.
    3. Finished reading a friend’s novel in verse. It wasn’t a format I was comfortable with, and I thought I wouldn’t have any feedback, but I wrote up a couple of pages of notes on things I thought would be helpful.
    4. Edited 4 submissions for my critique group, and got a chapter ready for them to critique. (We meet twice a month, so this actually keeps me busy, plus I am the default leader and have to send out emails to keep it running smoothly).
    5. Exercising regularly. This may not count as a writing accomplishment for some, but for me it is. After sitting, I have to make sure I get up and move around, and I haven’t been very good at doing so in the past.
    6. Decided to catch up on reading all of the recent SCBWI blog entries that I missed (great job!), and to do at least some of the conference challenges. Don’t laugh – making a decision and committing to it is one of my biggest hurdles. I’m a pro at procrastinating and excuses.
    6. Started with this challenge, because, I have a movie I want to watch in the next couple of days, and now instead of feeling guilty for not working on my story, I can count it as finishing up one of the challenges — so, thank you. 😉

  9. 1) finished the watercolor illustrations for a picture book I’d been working on for nearly a year — sheesh!
    3) completed a hidden picture for Highlights High Five magazine using digital media for all the color — which I am still slowly learning
    3) edited and submitted a story manuscript to Highlights for Children
    4) celebrated by enjoying my beach vacation!

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  13. teresamis says:

    WooHoo! This was a great challenge. It’s way tooooo easy to get caught in all there is to do–and soooo wonderful to sit back and cheer each accomplishment! WooHoo!

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  16. Arlene Finocchiaro says:

    I have only been a SCBWI member for 3 years but have learned so much. I take each workshop and each rewrite as a stepping stone. Recently I overcame the query hurdle to get two manuscripts in the mail, have revised two more stories, and have written three more picture books–two of which were inspired by some of the conference challenges. I even have drafts of the query letters. Hopefully the conference will give me inspiration for those final touches before submitting.

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  18. Joy Heyer says:

    I did a Pre-woo hoo celebration and spent a week at the beach. I am now energized and am working on my illustration portfolio and updating it at SCBWI, and working on these writing challenges to get myself ready for the conference. Woo hoo.

  19. This is a GREAT challenge. You are so right about those “butts”:( I am going to be celebrating in two weeks the completion of my certificate in Writing for Young Adults and Children. I am also working on a work-for-hire book for Capstone…will have to celebrate that one big time…once it’s completed!! Thanks for the reminder.

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