“Breaking big dreams into small steps is the way to move forward.”
~ Sheryl Sandberg
I was in my early fifties when I seriously began my writing journey. Writing was a life-long dream, but doubts lingered. What if I don’t have what it takes? What if I’m not good enough?
As a teenager, I had some poems and stories published in the Western Producer’s “Young Cooperators Club.” But before long, I became preoccupied with other things and didn’t pursue my passion again until midlife. My first query letter went to the “Farmlife” editor of Grainews. To my astonishment, she called to encourage me to send in my story. I worked hard on it for several weeks and submitted it before the deadline. She accepted it for publication! Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music!
Since then, I’ve progressed step by step in my writing, publishing articles, short stories, and poems in various publications. I’ve received writing awards and the Barnabas Fellowship from InScribe, published stories in two of their anthologies, presented workshops at their conferences, and served as the columns editor and editor-in-chief of their FellowScript magazine. Two novels and a collection of my published writing are current works in progress.
Thomas Carlyle said, “Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.” Each small step taken in my writing journey boosts my courage, and each successful step forward earns me the right to celebrate. So I give myself permission to do my little victory dance! It’s something I’d highly recommend. But if you have two left feet, here are a few other ways to celebrate success:
Celebrate your success with a commemoration. Commemorate your published work, positive reviews, and writing awards in some way. Frame that book cover or writing award and hang it on your wall; print out that admiring email from a fan and keep it in your journal; place that favourable review alongside your piece in your writing portfolio and post it on your website. These commemorations remind you of your successes and boost your confidence whenever you become discouraged or feel like a failure.
Celebrate your success with others. Share your success stories with family, friends, and the larger writing community. Call or email them, post announcements on your website, or share the news with your followers on social media or through newsletters. Don’t forget to thank those who’ve supported you along the way. Take them out for dinner or throw a celebration party.
Celebrate your success with someone else’s creation. Replenish your creative energy by enjoying someone else’s creation. Read a favourite author’s novel, watch a favourite movie, or gorge on a favourite bakery’s confection. Go ahead, don’t feel guilty. You’ve earned it!
Celebrate your success with a present to yourself. Gift yourself with anything your little heart desires, but you might want to consider something that provides physical benefits as ours is a sedentary profession. It doesn’t have to be expensive—a good pair of running shoes, a few free weights, an exercise band, or registering for a Zumba class. A special treat might be a visit to a spa or a massage for your aching back.
Celebrate your success with God. Remember to thank God for every blessing: a friend’s email that encouraged you not to quit when you were feeling discouraged, the devotional that lifted you up when you were feeling down, or the Bible verse that helped you speak to the hearts of both saints and sinners. No matter how small each day’s gift, keep a gratitude journal and write it down. This practice helps you maintain a positive attitude and demonstrates your faith and trust in God’s plan for your life.
Celebrating your success will refresh you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually and provide fresh perspectives to help spur you on to even greater success.