Thursday, December 06, 2018

Chair dancing of course!

On Tuesday, I sent out my final new submission for the year. (Follow ups and additions to a project already on submission are ongoing.)

I had an incredible sense of "Wow! It's done! We made it!"
I wanted to pop a champagne cork and chair dance.

I poured a cup of coffee instead of champagne (it was after all, about 11am!) but I did chair dance!

What milestones feel like big achievements in your writing journey?
How do you celebrate?

Speaking of dancing:

43 comments:

CynthiaMc said...

My greatest successes come when I write from my heart - my most popular columns (when I was a guest columnist for whatever newspaper we were living near). My one contest win here came from my heart. Looking back over the things that resonated with my audience - heart and humor.

I no longer look at "what will sell" or "what's popular." Right now snark and darkness are popular. Neither of those is me (though one of my projects is pretty darned dark, but my characters are fighting the darkness).

So I'm writing about ordinary heroes. I hope they will sell and do well, but that's no longer the point. We'll see what happens, God willing.

Sherry Howard said...

My picture book is with a small publisher. They almost never get Kirkus stars. So when ROCK AND ROLL WOODS got a Kirkus ⭐️, that was a day I celebrated! I called and texted everybody close to the book. I wanted to explode with happiness. I think I ate chips and dip!

Lennon Faris said...

Finishing Nano this year!

My significant other made me a margarita (I think that was mostly in celebration of me coming back to Earth, but it was still nice). Cecilia was my indispensable Nano buddy, and we toasted ourselves from across cyberspace.

I've got a novel to finish and a LOT of editing to do, but I'm excited about the story. Also, I never knew I could do that.

Bunny said...

Janet, thanks for the Torvill & Dean video. That never gets old, and can still produce goosebumps here.

Kitty said...

"What milestones feel like big achievements in your writing journey?"

Writing a 100-wd story for one of your flash fiction contests.

How do I celebrate? I begin breathing normally again.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I am not ready to celebration yet. I am in a workshop for my submission materials, and a bit nervous. By tomorrow evening I have to get my query to stop sounding like a mad lib and perfect my first five pages.

I still want to fiddle and revise, but failing a full mental breakdown (possible), I should be in the query trenches with my very finished book by end of January.

It has taken me three years to write this tome from first word to last revision. It has been an endless cycle of despair and ecstasy. My first eight revisions were awful, scattered and unfocused. Yeah, first drafts mostly suck, but eight revisions and I still had so much work to do. Great concept, poor execution haunted me for the first year and a half. Many times, I have felt like giving up - this is such a long journey.

So many doubts being thrown at me in the irritating and grating

"Are you ever going to finish that book?"

"What happened to your last book?"

"Why are you still writing?"

Thanks to this place I can mostly drown out those voices. And soon I will celebrate for myself. In the meantime, I have enjoyed watching so many of you and your successes. They encourage me to keep going.

Next year, I get to find out if it was worth it or if I have to write yet another book. Crossing fingers and toes.

Timothy Lowe said...

Thanks for asking! Love these kinds of posts (who doesn't)?

1) snagged my first agent literally overnight (don't lose hope, O ye of querying misery!)

2) finished two major rewrites to prep for sub

3) went on sub for first time

4) finished 31,000 words of a new WIP

5) finished 21 years of teaching high school (if the writing thing don't make me crazy, that surely does!)

6) lost 20 lbs. by TRYING to eat healthier

Not sure which I'm most proud of...

Onward and (hopefully) upward!

Julie Weathers said...

First off, congratulations. Also, I want a video of that chair dance. Oddly enough, my youngest son used to chair dance. At Golden Corral when you have a birthday, they come out wearing sombreros and sing happy birthday to you. On of the waitresses handed Will some salt shakers to use like maracas. He, being Will and somewhat like his mother, stood up on his chair, danced, and shook those little salt shakers with great joy all the while his father glaring and telling him to "Get down from there before you break your fool neck."

Don was a very staid person. Drawing attention to yourself was simply not done. I've often wondered why we're no longer together.

Also strangely, I was just looking up waltzes for a scene I'm fiddling with. Close dancing was becoming popular in the north, but was still considered scandalous in the south.

Anyway, I'm nearing the point where I've pulled about all I can from Rain Crow. I'm going to make another pass and then ship it to beta readers. When I do that, I'll gather up the crew and we'll go out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. I'll have a margarita or a few Shiner Bocks. Then I'll read a book purely for enjoyment.

Steak is always the correct way to celebrate a milestone.

If I sell Rain Crow, I'm going to get my Kitchenaid painted with the book cover.

Sarah said...

We should celebrate the fact that we're still writing, that we do the hard work of putting butt in chair and words on page. I think it's easy to be dismissive of that, but so many people talk about writing, but never actually DO it.

And . . . Sherry has given me courage. I also got my first Kirkus star for my second book, The Flight of Swans! I straight up ugly-cried when I found out, right there on the sofa with all the laundry I was supposed to be folding still scattered around me. (FoS also make the New York Public Library Best Books for Kids list– the top 100, not the top 10.)

Claire Bobrow said...

A big milestone for me is receiving a personalized response to a query. I got one the other day, long after I thought it was a no-response-means-no situation. And though it was a pass, there was also heaps of encouragement and an invitation to send more work in the future. I celebrated by revising a manuscript!

Ditto what Bunny said about the Torvil & Dean video. Still gives me chills (and always makes me think of the movie ’10.’)

Stacy McKitrick said...

What milestone felt like a big achievement for me? Well... I promised a short story (8-12K words) for an anthology I inadvertently signed up for (you know, you ask for more information and the next thing you know you're one of the authors!). I kind of freaked out (my writing had stalled a bit), but told myself I could do this. I NEEDED to do this. Even though I didn't have a clue what to write. But I got it written and finished WAY before it was due. I pretty much danced around the house when that happened.

Theresa said...

Yay for Sherry and Sarah and their Kirkus stars!

There are lots of fine accomplishments listed here.

I never remember to celebrate. Every milestone seems to bring an astonishing amount of work with it. For me, 2018 has marked a personal best of securing two book contracts. In addition to the biography of Dale Evans, I'm writing a book about Mary Edwards Walker, the only woman to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor. Work, work, work. But good work.

DeadSpiderEye said...

What's a chair dance?

Janet Reid said...

DeadSpiderEye well, it's not a pole dance.

Casey Karp said...

Congratulations to all of y'all. Even those of you who haven't posted a cause for celebration. Making it through the year counts.

Me, I'm not quite celebrating yet.

The current book is done. The synopsis is written. I just need a query letter I'm happy with. When that first batch of queries goes out, then I'll celebrate.

Probably with ice cream.

Luanne G. Smith said...

After ten years and four manuscripts, this year I finally got an agent and book deal. Debut comes out next September. If you see something sailing over the moon, it's me. :)

Karen McCoy said...

Claire, I know exactly what you mean by those personalized rejections! Congratulations on getting such wonderful feedback.

I've had quite a few wonderful moments along my writing journey, but I'll only share a couple here. One was when I got my first full manuscript request--it showed me how my book resonated in the way I wanted.

Another was when I won my first writing contest here in the reef. I'd been in a dark place, writing-wise, and that win was a beacon of light that helped me keep going.

Karen McCoy said...

Congrats,Luanne! What a wonderful way to bring in the New Year.

Timothy Lowe said...

Yay, Luanne!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

This NaNo, I tried something new, a project I never thought I would or could do, and it got me thinking about a (slightly) new direction for my writing. I'm excited and nervous, which reminds me how I felt about writing way back, when everything was still snail mail and SASEs trembled in my hot little hands. That alone is an achievement and a reason to celebrate. :)

Karen - I feel the same way about my first contest win here at The Reef.

Craig F said...

I think my writing is heading towards being a tapestry of rich and varied hue. It will not be an everlasting gobstopper but might be able to be read three times and still find more depth and color in it.

My plot development has become much more clear and easy to see distant vistas in it.

In other words, I'm getting closer. I can celebrate that.

Congrats to all of those further along the path than I.

Claire Bobrow said...

Chiming back in to add my yays! and hoorays! to all the successes and good news being reported here. Congrats, everyone!!

And as Casey Karp said, making it through the year is a victory in itself, so here's a big shout-out to all of us, wherever we may be on the journey.

Miles O'Neal said...

Whoa! I'm not the only person who does the happy chair dance?

And I love Julie's idea of appliance decoration with the book cover. I've thought of having the car wrapped in mine.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Blogger ate my comment... I'm gonna skip retyping it and just say congratulations all around and up and down The Reef.

BrendaLynn said...

This year my milestone is finally recognizing a schedule that works for me: relaxing in the knowledge that if I take a Christmas break my muse won’t run away from home. Yahoo, I don’t need to chase the little beggar. He actually likes hanging around with me.

french sojourn said...



For me, I consider the improvements in my writing a mini-milestone as it is evident as it occurs. Congrats to all the above, and any after my comment.

I played ice hockey for close to 20 years, and watching any Olympic pairs figure skating scares the be-jusus out of me. All those flying Ginsu blades pirouetting around ones partner...no thanks.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Congrats, Luanne. That's awesome.

Yay,everyone!

Was able to do an 84K shitty first draft in 2 months, most of of it during Nano with Lennon's excellent buddy inspiration.

Luanne G. Smith said...

Thank you! And congratulations to everyone on their milestones. Writing is full of highs and lows. Celebrate all the good things you experience on the crazy ride.

Kate Larkindale said...

Congratulations to everyone on celebrating their achievements. Sometimes they're difficult to recognize from within your own head. I'm celebrating finishing edits from my publisher and discovering I actually still rather like this book. Usually by the time I finish edits I'm so sick of it, I never want to see it again.

Constantine Singer said...

I lurk here obsessively but I haven't been an active commenter in several years. That changes today, though, as I do have something to dance about:

My debut novel, a YA Sci-Fi, was released by Putnam on Tuesday. It's called Strange Days, and I'm more proud of it than I've ever been about anything not biologically related to me.

Early on, when I was still in the querying trenches and trying to find my voice, I got some really helpful bites from the shark that sent me in the right direction, so thanks for the help!

And, "YAY"!!!!!

janet haigh said...

Hey E.M.
I always stalk but never post but I just wanted to say....
The reef encouragement rolls on! I'm sitting on my early draft novel, feeling unable to effectively execute the idea, a little drained, a little hopeless - and your post reminds me that this is not an isolated journey.
Thanks for inspiring me to get stuck back in to it - and congratulations on how close you are to the END - it's a real mental game this writing business and you are definitely winning!

John Davis Frain said...

Wow, what a neighborhood. If I could post a gif here, I'd give y'all a round of applause. Such an accomplished group at lots of different spots along the path.

I've learned this about celebrating: I need to learn how to do it better. I'm at a great place right now, I love hanging my hat here, and I hope I'll finally figure out how to celebrate in 2019 ... meaning, hopefully I'll have reason to celebrate in 2019.

Keep writing!

Richelle Elberg said...

Love, love, love all of these comments. Congrats to all!

Winning a flash fiction contest here (or even honorable mention) always makes me Cheshire Cat grin. And a full request back in July from an agent I'd written off also got me bouncing in my chair. She still has it--should more good news come in, as in, she actually wants it--THAT would be the biggest moment in my 10-year fiction novelist journey to date. Fingers still crossed.

Happy holidays everyone!

Richelle Elberg said...

"fiction novelist" Oy vey, face palm!

Colin Smith said...

The last chair dancing I remember was when my wife was in hospital about to give birth to SecondBorn (she was, at that time, SecondNotYetBorn). She was having an induction--drugs, epidural, The Works. Her mother and I were with her in her hospital room while she waited for the drugs to kick in. Wifey couldn't quite see the television where they were showing figure skating, so her mother and I replicated the moves for her in our rolling chairs.

It was quite entertaining. Hopefully more than the epidural. :)

Milestones in my writing journey? The way things are going at the moment, I'd take almost anything. A comment/retweet of one of my #vss365 stories. A comment or "like" on my WattPad story. A magazine acceptance. Getting mentioned in one of Janet's contests.

They might seem like little things, but when you feel your writing endeavors are going nowhere, a little thing means a lot. :)

I need more eggnog, clearly. ;)

Megan V said...

Congrats Luanne!

And Claire!

And everyone else at the Reef!

Love seeing the good news :)

Jennifer Mugrage said...

Wow. Congratulations to everyone.
These comments are so inspirational. Even the discouraged ones. ESPECIALLY the discouraged ones.

Novel #1 broke some beta readers' hearts, even if from agents it raised only a yawn.

Novel #2 (current WIP) sprang to life and became a real world. And I know this because it killed one of my MCs in a way that took ME by surprise.

Lennon Faris said...

Loved reading all these. Congratulations to this awesome Reef, and yes I love that 'surviving the year' comment, because that applies to anyone reading this.

Miles O'Neal said...

Special congrats to Constantine! I'll have to check that out!

KDJames said...

Years ago (I don't want to contemplate how many), I'd decided to give up writing. It was an awful and depressing feeling, but I just *knew* my writing wasn't good enough and never would be. I was absolutely convinced of this. Then I started commenting on a blog, which no longer exists, and a few people said they liked my voice. A couple other people said I made them laugh. This was shocking to me, as I had never considered myself to be particularly funny. Long story short, I decided maybe I'd keep trying to write something worth reading after all.

Since that time, every reaction I get from my writing feels like an enormous accomplishment. Whether it's a like or retweet, a comment on my blog, an email from a writer or review from a reader, a mention in a contest over here, an offhand text from my daughter saying, "You know, you're really good at this." Each one is like a little hit of endorphins. They add up. I celebrate by continuing to write.

I debated whether to post this comment, as it makes me feel uncomfortably vulnerable. So I waited until a time when probably everyone has moved on. But if you're a writer and stumble across this, I hope what you take away is that you can never predict, and may never know, when and how your writing will affect someone. Just keep at it. Celebrate everything. One day, like me, you'll look back and be astonished by your milestones. Even if -- especially if? -- they're not the ones you thought you were aiming for.

Janet, congrats to you and your client for finalizing the submission. May the offers be swift and bountiful!

And kudos and congrats to everyone above who posted achievements! I'm so very impressed by the talent and perseverance displayed by all of you.

Panda in Chief said...

KD, you thought you could creep in under the radar with your comment, but you forgot about the slow moving pandas on the left coast. You hit the nail on the head. What you wrote here struck me deeply with its truth. This year has been a year of sitting on the edge of my chair waiting for things to happen. It's enough to make a panda want to crawl under the covers for a long, long nap and pandas do not hibernate.

It's been a year short of big accomplishments, although I'm sure I've had some. What you said about how reactions from readers of your blog or comments or likes made a little bell ring above my head, because the validation I've gotten from readers of my weekly cartoons as they share their laughs and appreciation for my humor and observations (through the eyes of pandas and cats) for current events has made me throw back the covers and keep going for at least one more day.

Hopefully this will be the year that I get big news to celebrate, as I have several things out on submission. Pseudo thumbs crossed. My celebrations usually include cake, and maybe some leaping about to rock and roll music when no one's looking.

Congrats to all with accomplishments large and small! Thanks for making the reef a great place to swim. Among the notable events of the year, I got to meet several Reiders in person! *Waves to Claire and Cecilia*

Pandaing on into 2019!

KDJames said...

HA! Panda, there is nothing about you that could be called "slow." My assessment was more about how much time was left before Janet distracted everyone with a new post. :)

I'm glad my comment resonated with you. Thank you for saying so. May the coming year bring big news for you, and may you never stop receiving the "small" rewards that mean so much and give us all a reason to keep going.

Brigid said...

I guess I’m taking time off from writing to raise a couple readers. I planned to do it simultaneously, and maybe I’ll get there, but today my victory is a not-yet-two year old who can recite parts of her favorite books, is only ever still when she reads quietly to herself, and demands books when she wakes up at 2am.