One of the questions in this month's writing prompt asks, "How can you celebrate your [writing] progress and how God has led/is leading you?" This begged another question, namely "What does the verb celebrate actually mean?"
verb (used without object), cel·e·brat·ed, cel·e·brat·ing
to observe a day or commemorate an event with ceremonies or festivities
to perform a religious ceremony, especially Mass or the Lord's SupperIn the case of one's writing, the occasion to celebrate might be the completion of an oeuvre, the receipt of an offer to publish, a writing award or contest win, being hired for a freelance job, or achieving some other accomplishment. The definition of success will look different for each writer. For some it might be as simple (or challenging!) as maintaining a writing streak of 500 words a day for 21 or 40 days.
How do we celebrate such things? With a party, a break for self-care, a glass of champagne? If it's going to be a fete, there's much to consider: guests, venue, food, table arrangements, decorations and activities, to name several.
But I'm getting ahead of myself, at least when it comes to thinking about a book launch or other big shindig. So far there are no major book deals, the unfinished novel is still unfinished, and though I've entered several contests this year, I haven't won any (or even placed second or third). My successes have been relatively small, and that's okay. I'm beyond thrilled to have had a column in FellowScript and I enjoy writing posts here most months. While I may not have won or placed in any contests, I have been writing, so that's a plus. I also made the decision to work with a writing mentor this fall, and hopefully that means I'll finally finish the novel I've been working on for far too long. Oohrah!
For the most part the journey God's been leading me on this last year-and-a-half hasn't been about writing - at least not on the surface. It's been about trusting Him even when the going gets tough, even when things don't make sense, even when the chickens counted on didn't hatch in the way expected. Can I still celebrate?
I've probably shared this verse before, but it never gets stale:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ~James 1:2-4, NLT"Consider it an opportunity for great joy." Doesn't that sound like a celebration to you?
God is developing my endurance, perfecting and making me complete. And that's a story that'll be worth writing when the time is right.
I feel a party coming on.
You can find out more about Susan Barclay's writing at www.susan-barclay.blogspot.com