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.
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.
WRITING & ILLUSTRATING CHALLENGE #3: Give yourself a woo-HOO!
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! 🙂