My name is Hilary, and I’m an achievement junkie.
Here’s the thing: I have a hard time celebrating. I’ve read so many discussion threads where someone would post the question: “How do you celebrate when you finish the first draft of a new novel?”
Some people have a glass of wine. Some people go out for a fancy coffee. What do I do? I start another novel.
Several months ago, I was describing my book project–a trilogy–to a friend. We were sitting under a nice shady tree during a hot baseball practice (our kids’ practice, not ours) and it was the first time I’d told her I was writing and publishing books.
“You should throw a party!” she said. “Let’s celebrate!”
Of course, I dug in my heels. The time to celebrate is when you’ve achieved SUCCESS (whatever that is, right?).
But she persisted, listing off reasons to party: “Let’s celebrate women and friendship and your great accomplishments.”
I agreed, and over the next couple of months, we planned a book launch party. The whole concept felt uncomfortable to me. Aside from the usual concerns (What if no one shows up? What if people hate my books and don’t want to come to a party about them? What if it rains and no one comes? What if I show up at my own party on the wrong day?), I worried that there wasn’t actually anything to celebrate. Yes, I’d written a few books, but so many other people have done so much more–and they’ve done it even better.
As happens, time passed and the date of the party arrived.
It was so much fun. People showed up. They showed up with wine, tea, cards, flowers, a candle holder. They showed up and drank beer, ate good food, and talked. There was live music. My kids did the hokey pokey and played bean bag games.
It was so much fun. (Yes, I said it again!) I saw some friends I hadn’t seen in ages. I met new friends I hope to see again. Most importantly, I took a couple of hours to sink in, to celebrate the fact that I wrote three books and published them and yes, people are reading them!
No, I wouldn’t be able to buy groceries on the amount I’ve earned so far from book sales. No, I can’t quit my day job and write novels full time. But you know what? I achieved a big personal goal. And celebrating that accomplishment was FUN!
Just a few weeks before that, my husband and I went on a mini-vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary. It’s a big milestone. Yes, lots of couples have been married for longer than ten years. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate everything we’ve been through, together: building a house, traveling to new places, having two sons and adopting a daughter, changing jobs, expanding horizons…
Again, it felt foreign–but wonderful–to reflect on this special milestone.
Sometimes it is hard to celebrate. Life gets in the way. You have work and school and homework and soccer practice and vet appointments and the washing machine breaks and you forget to buy pepperoni for the Greek salad.
But you know what?
Celebrating is important.
Even if it’s just a quick glass of wine or a simple acknowledgment, like, “Hey, we’ve made it ten years!”
It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s next, the next important goal, the next big thing … but every once in a while, you’ve GOT to pause and tell yourself, “Hey, you’re doing a good job.”
Take a deep breath and enjoy.
When you do, you feel refreshed and re-energized and ready to roll.
My book launch party gave me the boost of energy I needed to power through the first draft of my next novel. 🙂 I want to thank those of you who were able to make it to the book launch party last week. I felt so loved and supported, because of YOU.
How do YOU celebrate? I’d love to hear from you!