Any time an author friend of mine posts about some milestone in publishing, whether it be sending a new draft of a manuscript to her agent, or getting a book contract, my response is always the same. I tweet or message or post or email or sometimes even SAY the words: “Have fun celebrating.”
I’m sure there are some people who think I write this on auto-pilot, not really putting much thought behind the sentiment, copy-and-paste accolades, but I assure you, “Have fun celebrating” is not a cluster of empty words strung together in no particular order. “Have fun celebrating” is a heartfelt plea. It is a reminder that in the deep trenches of a life dedicated to writing, there can be many dark days. “Have fun celebrating” stresses my belief that those days that are bright must be celebrated. Heck, even the less-than-dark days deserve recognition, when sentences are flowing and ideas are cohering and maybe not quite everything in the fridge has rotted just yet.
Fear of the future so often stops us from celebrating what is happening around us. It can be so tempting to look toward the Next Thing as soon as a milestone is achieved. Just hit send on a draft you feel good about? Start worrying about how it will be received and obsessively begin checking your inbox. Finally snagged that holy grail of a book contract? It’s never too early to start fretting over reviews. In fact, every accomplishment in publishing has it’s own custom-designed pre-packaged set of worries. When I say “Have fun celebrating,” what I am really saying is, “Stop. Take a moment. Look around and enjoy everything about how you feel right now. Celebrate what you’ve done.”
The fact of the matter is, in order to survive the ‘down’ parts of this up-and-down journey of publishing, it’s really important to celebrate the ‘ups.’ Sometimes this can be as simple as taking a moment to chair-dance after constructing a paragraph that makes you happy. Or it can mean treating yourself to a manicure after using your ragged, bitten index finger to hit SEND. Push past fear that the paragraph will be axed and the submission will be rejected and enjoy the moment. Your good vibes and neat cuticles will linger on. Keep the positive flowing.
No matter what field we work in, we can always find things worth celebrating. And hey, look at that, I just finished writing a blog post. I’m thinking this calls for a celebration of the dark chocolate variety.