It's been quite a week of awards celebration, hasn't it? During Monday's ALA awards presentation, I joined a group of author friends, huddled around multiple computer screens at the home of YALSA finalist, Cynthia Levinson. For an hour before the presentation, we enjoyed a festive atmosphere, complete with food, mimosas, party favors, and fidgety anticipation. It was the Academy Awards for kid-lit, wasn't it?
As the awards were announced, there were hoots and hollers, applause, and chatter. And, yes, a few disappointments, too. Every nominee, every finalist, every honoree, every winner should be celebrated. It was a day, nay, a week to celebrate books.
But it got me thinking. We all have something to celebrate, no matter where we are on this crazy-making publishing journey. Why are we so quick to discount anything less than a a book in hand, or a shiny sticker to go on it?
Different stages of the journey come with their own opportunities for yee-haws.
Did you just finish the first draft of your manuscript?
Atta-girl! That's a ginormous first step.
Did you just mail your first submission to an agent or editor?
Bravo! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
Up to your elbows in conferences, workshops, classes, and writing books?
Watch out world! You're a writer on a mission.
Just received your first rejection? Your twelfth rejection? Your one hundredth rejection?
Yay, you! Rejections mean movement. Movement means progress.
Received a rejection with constructive feedback or personal notes?
Hooray! Your work has been personally acknowledged.
Penned that second manuscript? Third manuscript? Tenth manuscript?
Well, look at you! Then look up the word prolific in the dictionary.
Did an editor or agent show interest in your work, but ultimately passed?
Woohoo! Now, you know you're sooooo close.
Someone asked you to critique her/his manuscript?
Congratulations! You've earned someone's respect.
Your manuscript came in second place, third place, honorable mention in a writing contest?
Shazam! Silver or bronze medals are worth celebrating.
Are you knee deep into research?
Cooleo! You'll soon be an expert.
A child asked you to read her/his story?
Smile! Someone special looks up to you.
Made a bunch of great friends within the writing community, on blogs, and in person?
Yee-haw! You have a new family who speaks your language!
So, you've been writing for years now and still no book?
Good for you! Remember the story of the turtle and the hare. Patience and hard work rule.
Have you been asked to be a mentor, a panelist, conference volunteer?
Take it! What a great opportunity to give back to the community that supports you.
Just met someone writing her own first draft?
It's your turn! Give her an atta-girl. It'll come back to you in spades.
Every little step, even the ones that sting, is one step closer to your goal. So, celebrate each and every one!