Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Celebrate YOUR milestones

Some time back I finished editing/revising/consulting/developing and generally gnashing my fangs over a non-fiction book proposal. The author and I worked on this for about a year and a half. We did some 27 revisions. We stopped counting and just started using dates to mark the versions somewhere around last January (2015!)

This is a project she and I care about passionately.

Now that we're done, it's really easy to turn eagerly to the next step which is pitching editors.

But, there's something that needs to happen first, and that's we need to celebrate THIS milestone. We got it done! It's polished, it's ready, it's damn good work.

It's very easy with writing projects to forget to celebrate how far you've come and only see the next step, or how far you still need to go.

Don't do that.

You have to mark or measure or reward your own successes because no one else will. No one has "hey Felix Buttonweezer finished his first draft today" on their datebook with a reminder to send a congrats card!

I can assure you no house elf made sure there was vodka chilling in my freezer to celebrate catching up on queries.

Take some time to celebrate things. Finished your first draft? Got the first batch of queries out? (survived your first rejection?) Girded your loins and entered a flash fiction contest?  Celebrate!

It's not indulgent, it's not some sort of wu-wu woo-woo feel good thing. It's a very necessary part of setting and achieving goals to recognize when you have done so.

Milestones are not just about where you need to go next. Milestones are also about how far you've come.

What milestone can we celebrate here with you?


RachelErin said...

I have finished my first draft, know enough to have a long list of things to fix (don't always know how, but, we're celebrating), have enough childcare to join an SCBWI critique group, and have starter list of beta readers. I also pow-wow with lovely writers IRL and online.

I make time to read new fiction/craft books and watch The Wire for fun/research.

I'm cut myself slack while I experiment with where I can fit writing in and I never stop trying. (Working on the bus got me to the end of my draft - I'm taking the moped now, so I need a new time for editing).

I now feel amazing. I can't wait to see what everyone else says.

Lucie Witt said...

Congratulations to you and your client. I've been reading through the reef-recommended Thinking Like Your Editor (geez, it's good and I don't really plan on writing a nonfiction book, I just find all aspects of writing/publishing fascinating) so I have a completely different respect for what it means to finish your proposal.

Congrats on finishing your first draft, RachelErin!

I am about ONE DAY out from finishing the final round of edits on my R&R. This book started at least three years ago. I've thrown out over 50k words **three times**. Then there were countless drafts. THEN the R&R and more countless drafts. Last week I finally finished reading my book out loud to myself. I am almost done fixing all the typos I caught. This will be the most polished project I have finished to date, and the one of which I am most proud.

Where's the bourbon?

Kitty said...

I’ve learned to accept the fact that I’m not inspired by every Janet Reid writing contest. I’m finally at peace with myself when the occasional list of prompt words doesn’t prompt me. It took years to get here, so that’s no small feat for me.

Plus, I’ve got a new 11-wk-old granddaughter who smiles at me when I sing You Are My Sunshine to her. Yeah, congrats to me!

CynthiaMc said...

1. Survived the A-Z Challenge, which was indeed challenging.

2. On Mother's Day my daughter reminded me that I used to be a columnist and a pretty good one. Attempting to round up all my columns over the past 30 years or so (egad!) which may or may not be possible, time will tell. I'm hoping most of them are in a box somewhere. I did see my published magazine article a few years ago so that gives me hope.

3. I appear to have successfully figured out a schedule which balances work, family, theatre, and singing at least (if not yet flute,piano, violin and penny whistle). I've located my top 4 writing projects I want to finish and managed to work on one or the other of those every day Monday-Friday (Saturday is wrap day on anything that didn't get done and Sunday is church,chill with the fam,and read in the hammock day (at least until the summer rains move in). May throw art on that day too.

The test will be next week when I start rehearsals for my new show, Always a Bridesmaid, about a group of friends who have a pact to be in each other's weddings through the years. Should go up mid to late June if you happen to be in Orlando. Love this show. It's a hoot.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

I was paid last week and have in my possession this week the first hard-copy publication of one of my short stories. We got our copy at the library yesterday and my boss thinks I should sign it. Which I will, I suppose, just have to pick where (my story is the last one in the volume, you see). The anthology also has received positive reviews on Amazon, and at least three of them so far have mentioned my story specifically.

I'm on track with my New Year's resolution, which was to write 1 short story per month. I'm actually a little ahead, at 7 completed first drafts, and two of those stories have reached what I consider "submittable" form. We'll see what the editors say.

Ellipsis Flood said...

While I just can't find the time to get to writing, this post arrives smack dab in the middle of a messy coding project for the company. And thinking about it, whether you write in cryptic, special character riddled programming languages or plain ol' English, you're still producing a lot of content. You revise things that sounded good on paper. You fix things that flat out crash and burn once you try them out in the big picture. And most likely, you have a huge list of things that should be done but aren't yet.

Sometimes you gotta open the Celebration Prosecco, even though you only got to Milestone 1. In fact, I'm gonna suggest that and link this post in the company chat. Because no one else is going to celebrate what we make if it's not a finished product.

PS: Don't get me started on version numbers.

Unknown said...

I sold houses. One was even more than what the client was asking. And though I love selling houses (so far), I'm doing it so I can live while I write. Plan is to sell houses in summer, write in winter.

I've come to the mind-boggling conclusion there is no such thing as true happiness. There's always the worry it will end. God will laugh. But maybe true happiness comes with knowing you can survive. Adapt. Do whatever needs to be done to get your life back on whichever garden path you chose to wander. Maybe I'll celebrate that.

Colin Smith said...

Hmm. And that was one of those "Harumph" kind of Hmms. Not a nice, thoughtful, "ooo, what of the many many things I have about my writing career so far do I have to celebrate?" But a "Hmm. What DO I have to celebrate??" I could celebrate writing 25 100-word flash fiction stories for the A-to-Z Challenge. But I wrote those back in Feb/March, and while some were a challenge, this was my fifth A-to-Z, and my third year writing flash for it. Good practice (and great fun), but not really a step forward in becoming a published writer.

I want to celebrate having written at least one publishable short story. Or finishing the first (or second, or third, or fourth...) draft of a novel. Or SOMETHING that actually plants a marker to say, "You are one step closer to being a published writer."

But I have nothing. And it's my own fault. Sorry for being a Debbie Downer, but this is a post that challenges me. Kicks my beee-hind. And that's a good thing. Perhaps not what Janet intended, but what I need.

Who's next for the confessional?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

My daughter, who I raised on my own, finished college yesterday. She graduates Friday from UGA with an English degree. She starts work full time on Thursday. What a long and glorious road we've travelled. I am a proud mama.

As for my writing, well I am happy with the twisted route I have taken. I think I will have a great book to peddle in a short while. The rewrite is going much smoother than anticipated and I am very excited about it. I owe so much to Janet and the Reef. What a wonderful and hilarious bunch you are.

Colin Smith said...

BTW, it occurs to me that somewhere in this large audience there might actually be someone called Debbie Downer. I hope you're having a truly splendid day, Debs! I wasn't speaking specifically of you. :)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

It's raining so I'm gonna celebrate not having to mow the lawn today. Although I might be scything hay whenever the rain days do stop.

I'm almost at the climax chapters in my 2nd draft, filling up a lot of plot holes along the way (and, dagnabbit, I see I missed a couple). It's been a road of discovery. Writing a story is fascinating as I dig a little deeper into my characters and the effects of the incident that has changed their lives.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin, don't be ridiculous. You are a talented writer and with such brilliant humor. And what would us woodland creatures do without you? When you get your book finished, you will publish. You already have a platform and a built in audience.

My daughter was a junior in high school before I could seriously devote time to writing. It took me six years to get this far and that finish line seems so far away at times. It's hard to balance work, family, and writing. Everyone goes at their own pace. Steady wins the race. You will get there and when you are ready, look at all the contacts you already have. And it is no small thing all the encouragement, inspiration, and humor you provide in this forum. I, for one, am most grateful to you.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a book.
It is a high fantasy epic.
It was written in twenty-seven days.
It is 120,000 words long.
It had its chapters critiqued by users on OWW.
It tells more than it shows.
I turned 40 years old two weeks ago.
I am a writer.
I go back to college on Monday.
I made a new friend, her name is Janet Reid, I am her chum.

When hope is all you have, hold on to it and keep writing.

Kitty said...

Colin wrote: it occurs to me that somewhere in this large audience there might actually be someone called Debbie Downer.

I had a similar experience back in 2005 when I wrote a short story called Spud Shelansky Lives On At the Alabaster Bar & Grill and posted it on my then rarely-read blog:
Even I could hear Myrna Plumley screaming frantically as she hustled down the three flights of stairs inside the Alabaster from where I worked in the shoe store across the street. She burst onto Main Street wearing nothing but a threadbare nightie of indeterminate color, disrupting a perfectly humdrum summer’s day. Her yellowed frizzy hair was even more disheveled than normal, which, along with her spindly legs and decrepit body, was not a vision you wanted seared into your memory. In all fairness, the old dear was most likely preoccupied having just awakened to find her liver-spotted lothario next to her in bed dead. I’m no pathologist, but I think it’s safe to say that substantial amounts of beer, cigarettes and fatty foods might have contributed to his untimely demise, yet it would be poor Myrna’s fate to be forever identified as the old woman whose ardent appetite did in ol’ Spud Shelanski.

As I said, that blog was rarely read, and yet it popped up when a woman named Myrna Plumley googled her name. She emailed me asking how I came to choose Myrna Plumley for one of my characters. Awkward! There's no easy explanation, considering how I described "the old dear."

Celia Reaves said...

Janet, thank you for the cats! They made my day. Congratulations to all those who posted milestones already this morning. Enjoy your accomplishments!

And speaking of milestones, I didn't get to read yesterday's post and comments until late last night, but now I want to celebrate the anniversaries of those who posted them (Carolynn, Nightmusic, and Colin). Congratulations for sticking with someone for decades! And to make you all feel like spring chickens: hubby and I will celebrate 41 years of marriage next week. Of course, we were just children then. Infants. Embryos, even.

Kudos to all who stick with someone or something and see it through, whether it's a marriage or a novel or anything else that's hard work but worth it.

Donnaeve said...

Congratulations to QOTKU and her client! And to all of you here with your various milestone achievements. Whether it's writing related or not!

Colin, am I going to have to take a trip further East and give you a good talking to? (equivalent of, don't make me come over there and give you something to cry about.)

I mentioned a milestone the other day as an aside. I wrote THE END on the latest WIP. And I did celebrate that afternoon - out on the porch to sit in the sun and instead of one beer? I had TWO! Wow. Live it up, Donna!

Next celebration? When I get done ridding the very same WIP of the word "that" which I have sprinkled liberally (909 times) and "just" (920 times). Mind boggling how that happens.

Lennon Faris said...

Congrats to everyone! Including you, Janet!

I survived a recent writer's block? Not sure that's what that was, but thank God it's gone now. I felt so not-me with my drive to write gone. I feel like being passionate about writing bleeds over into all other aspects of life. Joined a writer's group and revised my query and first pages and will start querying again shortly. As always, can I just reiterate how awesome this group is. My husband too, but that's less relevant here.

Colin - I second EM!

Stephen G Parks said...

Congrats Jenn D!

While taking a break from my WiP, I’ve been teaching myself how to write short stories. Haven’t had anything published yet, but after a bunch of form rejections, I’ve started getting personalized rejections - one from Tor was especially encouraging (basically tighten the pacing in the first half, be persistent in sending it out, and “this story will find a good home”). An insecure writer can draw a lot of breath from a little encouragement.

Donnaeve said...

Eep. I missed the anniversary thing. Congrats and Happy Anniversary!

Lucie Witt said...

EM, congrats to your daughter - and you. That's such a huge accomplishment. I have no doubt you've raised an incredible young woman.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Congratulations to QOTKU and client. 27 plus revisions and still passionate. That's a Ruinart celebration.

Congratulations to everyone else on their successes. Colin, you are the twist master.

My best writing accomplishment was to stop moping about quitting. I haven't quit writing but I have given up the idea of a writing career. Which includes all those things I thought I had to do to build a platform. Tweets, follow the right people and so on. The conclusion came after my kid asked me when I was going to finish writing so I could help her. Never was my thought. Since I quit I've become a better family member. The frustration from not having MY time to write made me a monster. I feel good that I am dedicating my time to her because she has her life ahead of her and maybe she'll become a writer.

I can celebrate finishing 130 paintings since Jan 1, painting a resin sculpture for my main gallery and nearly finishing a top secret sculpture for another of my galleries. I feel good.

Also I've consumed 36 novels so far this year. Most are audiobooks. Thank you to the Queen and all the commenters for reading recommendations. Now, I'll go back to lurking.

Brigid said...

I survived The Lent That Gave Me Something to Write About. Years ago I set aside the sparkliest, most mesmerizing story idea I'd ever had, because I knew I didn't understand grief well enough to do it justice. Well. This spring I picked it up again. I have its skeleton plotted, and now I'm filling in the muscle and sinew.

Cindy C said...

At first I couldn't think of anything to celebrate since I've written very few words lately--the mad rush at the end of the semester plus going out of town plus getting sick has kept me away from the keyboard.

Then I remembered that writing involves more than typing. (Truman Capote's famous put-down of Kerouac and other Beat writers: "They're not writers. They're just typists." Don't really agree with his criticism but it's a great snarky critique!)

So I'm celebrating an unexpected "aha" moment I had recently, one that will strengthen and clarify my main character's reasons for her actions. And one that's got me excited about getting back to the rewrite.

Colin Smith said...

Yoos guys yoos guys yoos guys (that's how people talk in NY, right, Janet?) :) Y'all are so very kind (ha--I'm a Southerner now!). Yes, my wife and I will celebrate our anniversary in December. Yes, over the past 10 years, I have written three novels, attempted to find agents for two of them, and written some other stuff. But nothing recently, save the flash for the A-to-Z and the writing contests. Those are all good writing exercises, and good practice. But I need to be doing more than practicing. At this point, if I'm a writer worthy of the title, I need to be putting stuff before the publishing world. I need to have rejection notes to show for my efforts. I guess I'm frustrated that my best writing in recent months has been in these comments, or given away on my blog.

Really, your kind words do much to encourage me. But the only thing that will destroy my frustration is for me to pick up that pen and write. (Okay, so I'd be typing, but "pick up that computer and write" doesn't work as well.)

Donna: You are more than welcome to come glare at me across a table and hold my tea hostage until I write. "Another paragraph, then you can have another sip!"

Susan Bonifant said...

First of all, Colin, not for nothing, I've been reading and thinking about your advice since long before you became a platinum level commenter.

Second, I am celebrating a different kind of milestone. Last week, for reasons that had to do with good timing and miles traveled thus far, and maybe an assist from my God, I decided to let my book go.

It didn't happen because of stats, I wasn't depressed, and it didn't fail. It just happened that one day, I woke to a head full of the next book and there was no longer room for the other.

It was so clear and brilliant and natural, it seemed to be writing itself. Characters, conversations, personalities, conflict - all there.

I guess I'm the type who doesn't leave until there's somewhere else to go. And so, book 3 and I have parted friends. And now that I'm sure I wasn't just remembering a movie I once saw, book 4 and I are now in a relationship.

Once again, it's my favorite day.

Colin Smith said...

Angie: Colin, you are the twist master.

Did you not see my comment yesterday about my Scooby-Doo dancing? ;)

Susan Bonifant said...

Jason Magnason, perfect. That's not little stuff you did. Congratulations.

Sherry Howard said...

Congratulations, Janet and client and all you woodland creatures. The bottom line to these accomplishments is hard work!

Three years ago this month. I decided to re-invent my path, and to learn everything I could about writing fiction. Since then I've completed four serious MOOC's, attended conferences, built a wonderful reference library for fiction writing, workshopped my writing, attended webinars, worked with professional editors, built my Twitter and web page, had some pieces published, and much more. And now I can say that I should soon be ready to query my Middle Grade manuscript, Paintball Asylum. (I put that in writing, so now I have to do it, right?)

On a personal celebration note, I'm ready to celebrate high school graduation and college admission with my late-in-life-blessing child. Sigh of relief that I made it- I knew he would!

Unknown said...

This might be of some service to someone!

2 months ago I started a draft of a new book. I spent 4 months plotting it (something I’d never done), and all that was left was the execution of the words. I figured on writing a chapter a day for a month or two and I’d be completed with a better-than-rough draft. This is my third book, so I wasn’t under any delusions, but after a week of writing a chapter a day, I stalled. And stalled. And then stalled some more. 45 days of no words. None.

Until finally I decided I needed to go backwards to go forwards. My problem wasn’t the goal. The goal was achievable. My problem was what I did when I didn’t hit the goal. I felt bad, and I wanted 2 chapters in a day. And then when that didn’t happen I just got more frustrated. And it snowballed from there.

So I went backwards. Forget 1 chapter. How about 100 words. Just 100 words. You can’t screw up 100 words, right? At that rate, I’d be done with the book in a year. But perhaps some days I’d do more than 100 words? Maybe it’d be quicker. But 100 words is forgivable. I could miss a whole week and sit down and write 700 words to make up for what I’d missed.

The first 100 words took 6 hours at a coffee shop. The next 100 took 2 hours. And then it steamrolled. Now I’m averaging a half a chapter to a full chapter a day, but if I ever miss a day, I only missed 100 words. So I do 200 instead.

Maybe I finish. Maybe I don’t. But I found something that works, something with enough built in grace to keep me moving, and something that I shoot higher than but gives me a soft landing when I fail.

Julie Weathers said...

Congratulations to QOTKU! That is great news.

Also to E.M and daughter.

Personally? I got nothing.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Janet, and everyone else celebrating milestones! I just finished polishing my query and elevator pitch (because you never know when you'll need that, right?), and will be diving back into the query trenches soon. This book has been one of the hardest for me to write, but also the most rewarding. Thanks, Janet, for reminding us to celebrate every milestone along whatever journeys we're taking!

Dena Pawling said...

1. Survived AtoZ challenge for the second year!
2. My flash story made the long list on some agent's blog. I think her name is Janet Reid. You might know her.
3. I reorganized two pages on my blog.
4. I expanded my reading to several books outside my usual mystery genre.
5. I lost five of the ^&$(* pounds needed to reach my goal.
6. Hubby and I celebrate #33 next month.
7. My two middle boys graduate high school next month, one with an IEP diploma.
8. My #1 returned safely from overseas deployment in the Middle East. He remembered to call me on Mother's Day.
9. My #2 answered a direct question with a direct, multi-word, unprompted, and correct answer. When the rest of us stared at him in shock [he usually mimes his responses], he smiled and gave me a hug. He's 20.
10. My #3 [not as disabled as #2, but still has challenges] obtained approval to start on his Boy Scout Eagle Project last weekend.
11. My #4 just took her behind-the-wheel driving test, and did not pass. She's disappointed, but not devastated. The rest of the neighborhood is breathing a sigh of relief at the temporary reprieve.
12. Submitted my first short story for possible publication. It's my first, so I still have my feet on the ground, but I'm excited.
13. Congrats to everyone here with all of your accomplishments!

Joseph S. said...

A reason for Donnaeve to celebrate: Goodreads sent out an email this morning announcing a giveaway for The Education of Dixie Dupree, with a picture of the glorious cover included.

RKeelan said...

In about a month I will finish the second draft of my WIP. It won't be ready to show to people, but for the first time it will be a coherent story.

Matt Adams said...

I've made it to 25,000 on my new book, and came up with the plotline that might make it enough to get to 85.

It's the furthest I've gotten anew book in three years.

i havne't looked at the old one in two months. And I think I've finally gotten those character's voices out of my head.

it may not sound like much, but it's been quite a lot to me.

Beth H. said...

I'm going to pick something odd to celebrate. A recently re-read and old project. At the time I wrote it, I truly thought that it was close to publishable quality. Now, I can confidently leave it in a shoe box forever. Sad? Nope. It just made me realize exactly how much I've grown as a writer, and I think that's a pretty good cause for celebration.

Unknown said...

1-Broke through revision barricade that took 6 months of pain & suffering (The Shining’s library scenes and the writer’s subsequent behavior - not so unreasonable) Kudos to our benevolent Empress of Sharks&her client w/27 revisions and Lennon Faris for being so at ease with the process
2-Won a book in a contest (I never win anything) - and it opened my eyes to a new series in a genre I adore in a time period that is the best - and reading the First Book in the series as I await The Prize; learning how timely the conflict is to the crazy stuff going on right now (please ignore horrific and nonexistent punc & sentence structure) Thank you J
3- Learned to be brave about being a writer and jumped into the neatest Shark Tank around – Colin, Rachel, All those anniversaries!!!, Kitty, …

Donnaeve said...

Thank you, Joe Snoe! I didn't know they'd do an email.

Yes- there is a Goodreads giveaway - started today and goes through May 30th. I'd like to also extend a HUGE (I hear Bernie) THANK YOU to those who have retweeted about this! I did a blog post on it if ya'll want to participate.

Maybe I should celebrate something else that happened this week. Again - I only share here b/c this is the blog of understanding woodland critters with the Shark lurking overhead.

I was assigned a second publicist this week. I try not to read anything into that...likely the other needed help? But, here's what I loved. The new publicist said, "We have some really wonderful plans in the works for THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE and I have to tell you, your book has definitely become an in-house favorite. When we first presented it to all of the Sales Reps, so many of them kept jumping into the conversation to say they had read the digital ARC and just loved it. The enthusiasm they expressed was really remarkable and definitely not the norm, so that bodes very well!"

Shivers - b/c that's what woodland critters do - even published ones.

Colin Smith said...

DONNA!!!! That's SO SO SO awesome!!!! :D :D :D :D STBNYTBA! You heard it here first. :D

Joseph S. said...

I’m not a celebrator. It may be the way I was brought up. It was expected I’d be the best but never to brag about it.

I’ve had three very good reasons to celebrate in my life. Once I took the CPA exam as a “practice run.” I passed all parts with some of the highest scores in the country. It was one of the few times I impressed me. I called my dad to tell him. His response: “You always did do good on tests, son.”

A second was when I was selected to be an editor on the University of Texas Law Review (a nice honor). I called my mother. Her response (as usual): “Tell them you want a raise.” (like I even got paid to be an editor on the Review outside the flat scholarship amount).

A third time occurred when my publisher, West Group, sent me a special copy of my casebook, “American Health Care Delivery Systems,” with my name embossed in gold on the cover. I received it while my mother was visiting here from Texas. I offered to give her the book. Her response. “Why? I’m not going to read it.”

Celebrations are a letdown.

Thinking back, the closest I came to celebrating anything I’ve done (I’ve celebrated other people’s accomplishments and milestones – I actually enjoy that) was going out to dinner with two friends to tell them about my experience at the very first Bonnaroo Music Festival (Bonnaroo was a four day celebration in itself).

Timothy Lowe said...

What an awesome idea for a post - I am celebrating the fact that I learned from some of my mistakes in MS 1 and 2 and applied those lessons to 3!

Donnaeve said...

Hee! Colin, thank you. Just don't dance'ish, right?

Welp, if it falls flat as a flitter, we'll all celebrate what could have been.

Elissa M said...

Congratulations to everyone on their milestones. A person should never feel that their milestones aren't as "good" or "important" as another person's. Only you know what it took to get there.

I'm good at acknowledging my milestones, having pulled myself out of decades of depression by doing so. Some days, my milestones--however minor--were all that kept me moving forward. I don't miss those days. (The monster is ever lurking, so I must remain vigilant.)

I'm currently working on draft #328 of my novel (I could have lost count somewhere). I recently completed a major revision of an especially difficult scene that has been a huge sticking point for some time. I'm confident my fellow Reiders can relate.

Colin Smith said...

Donna: It won't fall flat because it hasn't. Everyone at your publisher, from the Big Guy to the Sales Reps loves it. Your agent loves it. Your ARC readers (or at least the one that I know of) love it. Heck, I'll probably love it! :) There will be reviewers who won't love it. And who can predict what sales figures will be like? But you're already a success. YAY DONNA!! :D

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Colin, how bad do you want it?

(your answer should be "real bad".)

What are you gonna do to get it?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Donna, wowza! Not surprised. You are an exceptional writer. Can't wait to have Dixie Dupree on my special bookshelf.

I think we all deserve cake.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I like hearing everyone's milestones.

jenny said...

I don't comment here often but this post has me, quite literally, in tears so I thought it might be a good time to chime in.

I have been writing forever and have never really stopped to celebrate any of my milestones. I was pretty stoked in third grade when my poem about math was published in a newsletter for teachers in my hometown. I still brag about that sometimes, but I let everything that has happened since then slip by quietly.

In high school I was accepted to the writing program at a very selective creative arts school. In college, after my very first freshman composition assignment, my professor pulled me aside and begged me to change my major from art history to english. I did, the very next day.

In the ten years since my first daughter was born and I decided to commit to writing as a career, I have finished and queried four novels. The most recent one, on which I'm still awaiting responses, finally cracked a 30% request rate (11 fulls from a list of 30 agents). It may not end up being The One, as I have suffered plenty of rejections, but I'm encouraged. I still have a list of ideas as long as my hair (which is longer than appropriate) and I'm going to keep trucking.

On top of all of that, I have a stellar family, remarkable daughters, an irrationally supportive husband, and a tiny gorgeous house that is always cleaner-than-average. From where I started, a rough childhood with a cornucopia of traumas, I can already call my life a success worth celebrating. Even if I never get published or a make cent from my writing. Sometimes I just need a reminder of all of that.

Thank you, Janet, and everyone else who commented before me. I forgive you all for wrecking my mascara.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

I'll celebrate mine next week.

1. "Her Endearing Young Charms" is out in ebook and paperback next Friday.

2. A major project re: Mars--past and present climate and the potential for microbial life will be completed.

3. My astrobiology team and I successfully pitched a mission proposal to Enceladus. Yay. But now we have to write up our science goals.

4. 20 years this year for His Grace and me.

Mark Ellis said...

I've been dating Debbie Downer, and just the other day she let me complain about something. But seriously, have completed a line edit and proofread of my second novel with two great editors here in Portland.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

At work, no time to read everyone yet.

I congratulate myself every morning when I check in here because finding this place, and you bunch of yahoos, is what has made a world of difference in my writing life.
Hey, I got leftover cake whose up for some? I ate all the frosting-flowers, sorry.

Unknown said...

Fun post and comments today. Congrats to everyone on all your triumphs, large and small!

What hit home for me about this post is that many of the milestones in the writing life not only go unacknowledged, but are in fact actively difficult to explain to friends and family, for various reasons. For me, writing fiction is still somewhat of an "underground" activity. My immediate family knows I am doing it, and a few friends because they are beta readers, but almost no one else -- except for you all, thank goodness! It feels weird to enlist non-writer friends and family to celebrate the completion of an R&R, or another query rejection, or some other significant but arcane step down the path.

When I finished the first draft of my WIP a few months ago, I remember distinctly feeling this disconnect. I usually write in the morning before work. So I finished, and it was time to start day job activities, and I thought, "What now?" I believe I may have walked over to a campus cafe and bought a chocolate croissant or something.

But Donna, I think you've solved the problem for me. I often have a single beer with dinner. Next milestone and every one thereafter, it's two!! (In honor of Prince, Let's Go Crazy...)

Lucie Witt said...


Having been to law school, and having to deal with taxes as part of my current gig, your accomplishments are amazing. If you were around I'd buy you some bourbon or cake or something.

I adore your mom wanting you to get a raise for law review editor. I made law review and promptly dropped it. Having a baby over Christmas break apparently made it hard to focus on writing. Just making it to graduation was a big deal for me.

Colin Smith said...

I may not have much writer-wise to celebrate right now, but I have a lot to be thankful for. One of those is you guys. Yoos guyz. Y'all. ALL y'all! :)

So... *deep breath*... in one week, next Tuesday to be precise, THE SINGER FROM MEMPHIS will land in my mailbox. Between now and then, I'll have written a short story. That's me making a very public resolution. And you are all witnesses. So I's gotta do it. Yes?

Dare I hit "Publish" on this comment? Dare I...? Dare I...?

I dare. :)

Heather Wardell said...

Long-time lurker, rare commenter, but I love this post too much not to reply!

In about a month I will have finished the first draft of what will be my twentieth novel.
My first eighteen, all self-published, all have readers who love them. (Number nineteen is awaiting its final polish, but I must finish the first draft first.)
I cleaned up the apartment yesterday and it is still (mostly) clean. (It's just me and the husband here - HOW does it get so messy so fast?)
I currently know the location of my phone, glasses, house keys, and wallet. (Some days I'm 0/4!)

Thanks for the reminder to look at milestones and victories, Janet!

Claire said...

I'm about to hit the 60,000 word mark on the eleventy-hundreth draft of my first novel. It's not the first time I've got there, but this 60,000 is much better than the last 60,000.

Not finished yet, of course, but at least now the end is in sight. Or at least the end of the beginning...

Amanda said...

This is such a great reminder. I really needed to hear it this morning, so thanks Janet and congrats on all your hard work!

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I love reading about everyone's milestones! Most of my milestones aren't technically writing related, but they're pretty big for me!

1. Went on two work trips back-to-back (that's why I was scarce last week) without pulling my hair out.

2. Lost ten pounds (yay!!).

3. Read 3.5 books last week, since I spent so much time in the airport.

Writing related, I'm now officially 1/3 of the way through the first draft of a story that is SO much fun to write.

Craig F said...

I will celebrate with you and the writer for finished something that had to be incredibly trying. Sounds a lot like that story about the Nachthexen (Russian Night Witches). I remember when you were talking about it a year or so ago. I think I also encouraged the writer over on Query Tracker's forum. She was thinking about dropping out. I am glad you both stuck.

I am swamped right now and will celebrate for me later. I did come close to perfecting a nicely short and tart cheesecake recently so if any of you come knocking on my door I might make you one.

nightsmusic said...

Way too many comments this morning for this tired brain, but Blogger is acting up because I got no RSS this morning that you'd posted and it's still not showing...just an FYI

Unknown said...

Another thing I like about celebrating obscure (to others) milestones is that it is a good reminder to enjoy the process, as opposed to viewing it as just a slog to get us to some pinnacle where we'll really be happy.

Panda in Chief said...

Donna, I am jumping around squeeing at your news! Prosecco for breakfast everyone! And CAKE!!!!! ((Love the cat eating cake. That would be me, if, you know, it was a panda)

Forgive me for correcting the QOTKU, but I believe the proper term for "woo-woo" is "woo-woo". Wu-Wu is the junior panda living in San Diego (Xiao Liwu, Mr. Wu or Wu-Wu to his friends)

Meanwhile, I am celebrating a breakthrough in 5 pages of preliminary drawings for the graphic novel in progress, (CAKE NOW) as well as the start of a Carkoonian map. (Colin, please don't go all one track mind before posting it on the treasure chest)

Oh yeah...and I have an agent.

abnormalalien said...

Wow, what a bunch of milestone murderers you guys are. Professional and personal! Ah, I hope someday I have something less newbie-ish to contribute.

Writerly: participated in first flash fiction contest
Personal: finishing up fourth year of grad school

Joseph S. said...

Lucie Witt

My law review experience was a fun one. My Note (article) won two awards. I received an award as best editor of the year. I met three people who became very good friends. I was at two of their weddings and still in contact with two of them. One is president of St Mary’s University in San Antonio. The other was professor and Associate Provost at SMU and is now Associate Dean at a law school. A couple of the guys a year ahead of me who‘ve gone on to highly successful legal careers were buddies.

Special story: I befriended one guy a year behind me, helped him with his note, etc. Turned out his girlfriend’s father was part owner of the Houston Astros, my favorite baseball team , and --are you ready – he had an extra ticket to see the Astros FIRST playoff game ever, and he wanted to know if I wanted to use it. I sat in the owners’ area (free food and stuff) . Two guys in front of me were talking and one said he did not like Long Beach, California. I interrupted and said I liked it. He turned around -and it was hometown hero and race car legend A.J. Foyt. Wow oh Wow. I talked with A.J.Foyt. And I kidded around with these two young girls behind me They were two of five girls with an old lady. As the game was about to start, the first pitch was to be thrown by Mrs. Bob Smith (Bob Smith was one of the two men who got the baseball franchise for Houston). Out walked the little old lady and her five ducklings following close behind. What a great day. The fellow who got me the ticket later served two terms in Congress. Sadly, the Astros lost in extra innings.

Law Review opened the door to a clerkship with The Honorable John C. Godbold, Chief Judge of the Fifth (and Eleventh) Circuit Court of Appeals (I work on the very first opinion issued by the newly formed Eleventh Circuit – a story for another day)

A year after I graduated I was asked to serve as treasurer of The Texas Law Review Association, a support organization of some of the most prestigious lawyers in the state. For three years I communicated with and met some really big names in the Texas (and national) legal community.

Law Review been very very good to me.

But I’m not a social person. People enjoy talking to me for some reason. But after I go to a bar, or to a party, or out to dinner (I hate going out to dinner with others by the way), I come home depressed. So I avoid doing it. But if you’re ever in Birmingham, we can meet in my office at school. I’m comfortable there.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Congrats to everybody! I agree with Her Grace, I do love reading about everybody's accomplishments. We're a varied and storied bunch here!

Donna: I love hearing about the steps along the way to Dixie Dupree's pub date!

jenny: that's a great request rate, congratulations! And, I feel, there's no such things as "appropriate" or "inappropriate" for hair length! Personally, I prefer mine long.

Colin: I hear you on giving away good writing on your blog. Sometimes I regret it. Other times, I feel it's absolutely necessary. And yes, you'd best get crackin' on that short story!

John Frain said...

What fun! A congratulatory free-for-all.

If you'll indulge me, I'm going to join in later because I'm working on a revision for chapter 54 of 56. Soooooooooooo close to celebrating. You don't have to stay up for me or even leave the light on, but I'll be back for a quiet celebration after hours...

DLM said...

Sometimes, visiting this community, I pull up the comment window and begin to think about what I have to say before reading everything. Today is a day to just take it in. Lovely.

Janet, it gives me a happy every time you sell something or sign someone new. It's exciting, and I know most of us feel that little joyous frission. You're like the bell in "It's a Wonderful Life" and every time we hear you toll some good news, a writer gets their wings.

Donna, you know what all those people at your publisher are? They're readers. They represent all the readers who haven't gotten a chance to read DD yet. But they're probably an accurate indicator of READER response. GO YOU!

Jenny, I love your final sentence.

2Ns, hee on the icing flowers. My kind of cake eater! Our local grocery store bakery was so popular it outlived its own chain, and was bought/kept on by the buyer-out. They sell their icing by the pint. It is genius. It's also bleeding good buttercream (or chocolate, if you prefer)! Now, with a new buyout poised, I worry. I have concerns, deep and real concerns, about this buttercream.

It is to fret.

Bethany E, way to go on ten pounds! I have seventy to send marching myself. *Pleh*

As for me ... no milestones to celebrate. I haven't written in a couple of WEEKS, I haven't been researching the self-pub route, there is a continued backlog at work after I missed three days last week. This is not complaint; one reason for the backlog right now is that our company University, for which I am project coordinator, is going great guns. I've been supporting my boss's boss, whose admin is out. He's spiff, so this is nice, and exposure doesn't hurt.

Family has been a focus. Taking a break from the death watch on my stepfather, we've decided to have what looks to be a MUCH shorter death watch for my uncle. My poor mom.

But my beautiful eldest niece, graduating high school momentarily, is coming to visit this summer. Nobody's dead *yet*. I have a job, and adore it.

I've opened the MS, in a fit of optimism and naivete' perhaps. Perhaps something will be jotted in it today. Perhaps not.

I'm alive, past forty-five, and life thrives. Blessed, and with much to be grateful for. Not least: this place, and y'all.

Colin Smith said...

Diane: I'm alive, past forty-five, and life thrives. Blessed, and with much to be grateful for. Not least: this place, and y'all.

I can agree with every word of that sentence. :)

Colin Smith said...

Or those sentences. Heck, what's a couple of full-stops between friends? :)

DLM said...


Oh lordy, what a cow I am. I always thought one-downsmanship was so klassy, and here I am indulging.

Janet, my apologies for that lengthy comment, not even responding to your call to celebration (quite).

/shutting up now/

Lucie Witt said...


Thank you for sharing your delightful law review story. Your students are lucky to have you. I'll let you know if I'm ever in Birmingham.

nightsmusic said...


Last Sunday was Mother's Day. I have two daughters. God's gift, the oldest, and Satan's spawn, the younger. I got a Mother's Day card from the younger Sunday. To paraphrase, it went something like: for all the times you told me not to do something and I did anyway, for all the times I told you I hadn't done anything when I did...yada, yada, you get the idea. The last line was, Thank you for letting me live. Then she proceeded to hand write, "thank you for believing in me and continuing to love me, even when I made it almost impossible. Thank you."

This from the daughter who we thought would kill herself with everything she was in to. Or kill us from worrying and crying ourselves to sleep at night.

She'll be 28 this year.

She just graduated college with an associates and is moving on to her bachelors in a few months.

I have never been so proud of her.

I didn't cry, but it was hard.

So, that was my accomplishment this week.

Congrats to all of you who posted with accomplishments. They're all heartfelt and wonderful and I'm so glad I 'know' you all.

And now that I've been really maudlin, I have to ask; Janet! Did the NYPD really show at your door in the middle of the night last night???

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Colin, I missed your comment yesterday. But a scooby dance is a good idea for all the accomplishments listed here.

I can't wait to read The Singer from Memphis. I'm going to request my local library to acquire it. And buy one for myself.

Donna, you rock!

Judy Moore said...

I'm celebrating being spontaneous again. On Sunday night I jumped at the chance to go somewhere. I leave for 12 days in Sri Lanka in an hour. I'll be sitting in a jungle writing.

Timothy Lowe said...

Have to chime in one more time-

a full request that came one minute ago!

Laura said...

Congratulations to everybody! And Colin, will you also post when you've written the short story? We can celebrate with you then as well.

I have two pieces of news:

1) A little horror movie I wrote, Most Likely to Die, hits Netflix, etc, on Friday the 13th, day after tomorrow. There's allegedly a limited run in ten obscure cities, but there seems to be no way to buy tickets... The producers are running a stealth campaign, that's what I tell myself. But it's my first feature credit, and there's going to be a red carpet premiere tomorrow night. I plan to have as much fun as humanly possible.

2) I've launched a podcast about books! And it has made the New and Noteworthy page on iTunes -- well, the New and Noteworthy for Art/Literature. Let's not go crazy. But I'm chuffed! It is called Destination Mystery if anyone wants to check it out (if you don't like iTunes, you can also listen at DestinationMystery (dot) com), and each episode is an interview with a different mystery author. It's been super fun to meet all these authors, in person and virtually.

Those are my break-out-the-champagne moments. Thanks for letting me share, and kudos to everyone else for all of your success and milestones!

Kate Larkindale said...

What a lot of wonderful celebrations here today! Congratulations to everyone!

I'm celebrating having tried something new and having it work. I did Camp NaNo in April to try and kickstart a new project. I wrote 40K, which was fantastic, but I knew I should have been further into the book by the 40K mark. I knew I'd started in the wrong place and needed to cut about half the first eight chapters out to make things work.

Normally I leave notes in the MS for myself and keep writing forward. This time I went back and actually fixed that first half. It's so much better now. Or it will be when I finish (maybe tonight). Then I can write forward in the knowledge that the first half works and anything new I write will work with what's before it.

Plus, if I get stopped (and that's likely - I'm expecting some notes from my agent this week on another book), the book is in a much better place to leave. When I get to pick it up again in a few weeks or months, I'll know where I'm going.

Colin Smith said...

Laura: You bet I will. And I expect people to ask about it if I don't. :) Wow!! Congratulations on the movie and podcast! We have such an awesome mix of talent among us. :)

Karen McCoy said...

Congrats to everyone! Sometimes, accomplishments can also be found in works in progress too.

Here's what I'm grateful for:

1. This blog.

2. Successful writing conference, lots of connections made

3. Recent phone call with an agent

4. More writing time.* Approaching 50,000 words in new manuscript (my sixth), and almost done drafting a new short story.

*due to recent job loss, in which I accomplished as much as I could. Now, I'm armed with a renewed sense of freedom to explore other directions.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your journeys!

Colin Smith said...

If you're interested, here's Laura's movie: Yes, it's on IMDB, which means it's real and official!! :) Oh, there's a trailer on IMDB too.

Here it is on Fandango:

Karen McCoy said...

Great trailer!

Janice Grinyer said...

On Monday, I celebrated by taping a mentionable to my laptop from a Notable Literary Agent who said a sample snitch of my writing was "just lovely". :)

Four years ago we lived through a Wildfire, and since we live in the 17th remotest county in the USA, we were on our own. Little known fact, most USA Forest firefighters are called off of fires at 9 pm for safety reasons. The wind blew up the fire over us at 9:05. I am currently working on a Non-fiction book proposal, and will be ready to query soon.

I also have a WIP Forestry mystery novel (48,000+) on hiatus, but I visit once in a while, wistfully.

Five years ago I was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called "Castleman's disease." Hopefully, my 6th and last contrast MRI with blood screening are scheduled in August. If I come up clear, that means no more storing the most shittiest tasting Barium (Berry flavor!) in the world in my pantry. Cancer Clinic is 3 hours away; In Montana, they give you your own supply.

So I am just pretty fucking happy to be alive today in general, and like the cats, I leap when I can. Usually over downed logs while timbercruising (I get paid for it), but I leap none the less... Unless it's rattlesnake season. Then its kick, and step gingerly.

Congrats on everyone's achievements and WIP's!

Joseph S. said...

You'll really have something to celebrate in August.

Where There's A Quill said...

nightsmusic : That's wonderful to hear about your daughter. It takes serious strength to confront yourself and then 180 your life like she has.

My own accomplishments. Hmm.

Two years ago, I made the decision to completely re-write my novel (total overhaul, down to the colour of my characters' fingernails). A tough decision, since it took me two years to plan, write, and edit it the first time. Plus I work a high-stress long-hours kind of day job, so time and energy is thin. I did it, though. As of Dec 2015, the book is re-written and polished. I just couldn't be happier. The book's finally what I'd always wanted it to be. Getting up at the asscrack of dawn every morning has been totally worth it.

I'm also really proud of how brave I've been recently when it comes to my writing. In one month, I finally submitted a query to queryshark, entered two flash fiction contests, and started a blog. Big steps for me.

Hermina Boyle said...

All of these comments are wonderful. What a shot in the arm!

My milestone? 11 years ago today, May 11, i chose to write a story I believed in.

I still believe in the world, the characters and all the stories that prose has told me over the years. Revisions of that first book- dozens and dozens. A finished draft of book two, a final book three almost drafted.

I've met so many good, real people in this world though the good, semi-real people in my head! Beta readers, critiquers, and a few agents brave enough to read and offer advice.

I can say that writing has kept me sane, happy, and out of trouble (mostly). It's been a wild ride, but I'm never getting off.

Cheryl said...

I'm celebrating that I'm not imagining things and I did see this post on my Feedly feed last night -- but when I came to comment it was gone. I searched every other writing blog I read and nope, not there. And then I was wondering why Janet didn't post this morning.

Anyway, a few days ago I finished draft two of the Probably Won't Be Romance in Draft Three novel. I also have a plot and characters for the one I'll be researching in France.

Panda in Chief said...

I am continuing to get a warm pandy glow from reading of these accomplishments, large and small.
Damn it, we're a good and talented bunch.

Thanks for reminding us to celebrate our accomplishments along the way, and not just keep grinding on till we hit the big one. Because, as we all know too well, sometimes things happen and we never make it to the big one.

Yay us!

Kae Ridwyn said...

Wowsers! What a brilliant post and an inspiring bunch of comments! You guys rock! Congrats to everyone - not least, Janet and client! - for all the milestones you have recognised and are celebrating! :D

Milestones for me: finishing draft one of book two a couple of days ago - the same day as shortlisting a Flash Fiction contest *still walking on air from that one*

And I love how that 'completed' feeling inspires you for the next one :)

Laura said...

Aw, Colin! Thanks for posting the links to the movie and the trailer. You rock.

Janice, hugs and congrats! And really, everyone, wow, how awesome the whole community is. Janet, thank you for giving us all a way to celebrate everyone's success.

CynthiaMc said...

Joe - Small world. My hubby's from Birmingham and I have several dear friends from school who live there. Unless you mean England, then never mind.

CynthiaMc said...

Janet's posts usually hit right before I have to dash out the door and hit the highway to work (pausing just long enough to leave peanuts in the squirrel bowl). I don't often get to check back in (which is why I love the WIR) but tonight I have an entire half hour before I leave for choir practice and have savored every post.

Hurrah for Janet and all of us!

Now I have to go back and check out everything everyone has coming out. Yay!

Theresa said...

Big congratulations to everyone on their milestones. Janet, this was such a wonderful "boost" post this morning, especially with the bonus ecstatic cats.

I've been celebrating two things this week.

1. Tomorrow I'm off to Denver to talk at a conference about the experience of being an academic historian who wrote and published a "popular" history book.

2. Promotional materials just started circulating for a World War II symposium that will be held at the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia. I'm one of three featured speakers.

CynthiaMc said...

Nightsmusic - I had to laugh. I am Satan's spawn and my sister is God's gift in our family. (Well, my brother actually is more SS than I am, but between us girls I was the challenge). We all turned out okay. Sounds like your daughter did, too. Great job, Mom!

My son gave me a Mother's Day card that read "you made me what I am today, a giant smart *ss. Oh, also, I'm good-looking. Thanks for both of those." And he is.

nightsmusic said...

Good gravy, Cynthia, you made me laugh out loud with that. There must be one in every family. And oh, the stories I could tell. Trust me, when police are involved, things are not pleasant...

I've often thought about putting those years to paper, but I'm afraid no one else would want to wallow in my misery with me so I won't.

On the other hand, I'm having a Margarita in celebration of getting yet one more chapter edited. For me, with the two hours on the road and 9 at work and all the other stuff I need to get done during the week, is a big deal. I'm thinking of retiring at the end of the year. I just keep thinking how wonderful it will be to have hours where I can actually write without a guilty conscience.

Julie Weathers said...

All right. I am returned.

I've been thinking about this and wondering what I've accomplished. I thought about it last night and flogged myself to sleep for not accomplishing more and wasting the opportunity that was hard won. I walked away from a marriage of 33 years, a house my son and I built together and I dearly loved, a house I intended to be hauled out feet first from, horses I loved, a husband I once-loved, for the right to write.

I've been wallowing in depression lately and not writing, squandering this thing I desired so badly.

This post comes at the perfect time after spending much of the night wondering what I've accomplished. This morning, I was still drifting in the doldrums. I decided to mail off thirty pounds of peanut butter fudge I made to my mother, which will keep her happy for about a week. I'm past the point of what's good for Mother and on to the point of what makes her happy.

Driving out of the post office, I noticed the care tugging to the right and pulled over. Flat tire. I called AAA and spent 45 minutes waiting and thinking.

What have I accomplished?

I wrote for a national horse racing magazine for twenty-three years and have been nominated for the prestigious Sprint Award. The name has been changed now.

I've written three fantasy novels and one suspense. I've written five children's books. I've had cartoons published in a very well known western magazine.

None of that seems to matter. The fantasy novel I was sure would be beloved by all wasn't. The other two I have never even shown the light of day. The suspense novel is in the nethers somewhere never to be seen again.

One the plus side, I improve with each work, but a person's years a finite, unlike their ideas.

2. I finished the A-Z Challenge. It was an interesting exercise and I was thrilled to be able to participate with so many other talented writers.

3. The Rain Crow is sitting at about 75,000 words, so approximately half done. However, it's in chunks, so who knows? I feel good about parts of the story and the potential. I love the characters. That's a good start.

I hope to have it done by this fall.

I don't know how Jason wrote an epic fantasy in 27 days. I couldn't.

4. I'm trying to post fairly regularly on the blog, though the A-Z kind of took the starch out of me. I'll have a new post up this week. These aren't much as far as milestones, but it's a reminder. I gave up a lot for the right to write. Don't let it slip through my fingers. The blog posts verify I'm still alive.

5. Each day is a new day with a new star on the calendar. As Janet said, we have to reward ourselves for the little accomplishments. A gold star for 500 words. A green star for this. A Silver star for that. Accomplish something, no matter how small. Each day can be a new milestone or a new gravestone. Only we can determine which it is.

6. I wrote a scene about a little drummer boy for Rain Crow. It wasn't an important scene really, but it was, I hope, evocative. It was a turning point for me. I had worried that the story was becoming too light-hearted and I wouldn't be able to portray the gravitas when I needed to. It was verification I could balance the horror with the "voice" of my sassy southern belle. I needed that confirmation I was a writer.

I've been going down to my son's house to bake cookies when the munchkin gets out of school. Warm cookies when you get home from school isn't a big milestone, but it's a comforting memory and maybe those are just as important.

BJ Muntain said...

Congrats to everyone hitting milestones! It sounds like everyone's so busy. Good luck, and keep writing!

E.Maree said...

Oh hey, I love the idea of the post! I'm definitely prone to forget my own successes and focus on the challenges ahead.

1) I got my last project out in the query trenches.
2) I've received some lovely personalised feedback from agents, and sometimes I forget that this is something to feel proud about. But it's amazing. I'm so happy reputable agents are taking the time to give me advice on how to improve. :)
3) Hit the middle point on my new WIP! Half-way there.

BJ Muntain said...

Julie - you have accomplished a lot, not the least of which is raising two good boys.

Congratulations on all the hard work you've done over the years, writing-related and not. You've hit many wonderful milestones that I never will. And on top of all that, you're a good person. Take good care of that good person.

I hope I'll be able to see you at Surrey this year. I still have some money, so am waiting impatiently for June 1 to get here, so I can register.

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely warm feeling it is, reading all these tremendous accomplishments. I'm so happy for all of you and wishing every single one of you many more milestones in the future. Good milestones, ones worth celebrating.

I've spent the past week contemplating my April accomplishments, which I've already over-shared here. Yes, you better believe I celebrated them. And I realized that, in addition to doing something I didn't think I could do (see subhead), I wrote: my first scary scene, my first fight scene (two actually), my first story from one point-of-view (SO hard), my first story with a dragon . . . and a talking ermine and a giant squid and ghosts and magic. There were a lot of firsts. And maybe lasts. :)

I have definitely felt like that cat in the first picture, lately: a mix between celebrating and striving and just plain out-of-my-fucking-mind crazy.

Janet, if the writer/topic you mentioned are who/what I think they are, I absolutely can not wait for that book to come out. I remember the first time you linked to her blog and, once I stopped sobbing, thought that her voice telling that story was something that simply had to happen. But even if it's a different client with a different story, huge congratulations to both of you for an epic milestone along the way.

What a terrific and evocative post. Thanks for giving us the reminder and the space to celebrate.

Colin Smith said...

I know I've commented a lot today--sorry, Janet. But I have a couple of updates:

1) There's a new pdf document in the Treasure Chest, based on yesterday's blog article. Thanks, Jason, for putting that together!

2) I've just drafted a short story!! This doesn't complete my challenge, because it's not ready to share with anyone yet. But it's a good start. :)

Thanks y'all. All y'all. Y'all all y'all. ;)

Unknown said...

T0 E.Maree -
You are a role model of writing force. Here's the newbie (i.e. not yet published) version:
Your #1 - My goal for first project this fall
Your #2 - I'll take anything positive at a conference in June
Your #3 - Completed first two chapters in new WIP (maybe I should hold back until #1 is reached?)
Thanks for sharing your process

Julie Weathers said...


Thanks. "not the least of which is raising two good boys." True. Now, to determine which one of the three is the outlaw. ; )

Yes, I'm looking forward to Surrey. I hope to meet you there.

AJ Blythe said...

I wish I had more time to read everyone's comments, but I've had to skim through. Congratulations to all Reiders for what you've achieved.

PS Donna, no surprise to me, Dixie rocks =)

Laura Martin said...

I love the message of this post. It is way too easy to look ahead to the next thing instead of reveling in the moment at hand. The biggest milestone in my career as a writer just happened yesterday actually. Which made this post weirdly fitting. My first book (middle-grade novel entitled Edge of Extinction-The Ark Plan) officially hit the bookstore shelves. I celebrated the milestone by having my parents babysitting so I could take cheesy pictures in front of the shelf holding my book. I followed the cheesy picture up with dinner and mojitos with my husband. So grateful for grandparents who babysit so milestones can be enjoyed without a toddler and three month old in tow!

Sherry Howard said...

Tomorrow should start with a giant Conga line! Yay, Reiders!

Colin Smith said...

Here's Laura's book:

Or you can purchase it from Amazon, or Barnes & Noble

BJ Muntain said...

Julie: Eep. How did I miss a son? That just expands your accomplishments threefold.

Sorry about that.

Julie Weathers said...


You're fine. Trust me. If you'd ever been around the Weathers Boys... you'd probably whittle it down further. Dinner and a show. Not even their father appreciates the three of them together. I, being built of sterner stuff and not one to tarry long at the fountain of couth, revel in a good show.

AnnieColleen said...

Lurker, checking in:

Every scene in my revision outline is a milestone, especially the ones that surprise me. Today makes it 34 of 52(ish) scenes outlined, and I'm not thinking beyond that until I get this part down. It's moving forward, at least.

John Frain said...

Holy Stromboli! I don't think it's risking Carkoon to say you might want to make this post a quarterly event.

Realizing few eyeballs will read an entry on this side of midnight, I feel celebratory just typing it.

- Just finished a MAJOR rewrite on my WIP. Finished, of course, doesn't mean I'm sending it anywhere beyond my desk drawer because I'll have to take a final look at it before sending it anywhere. But wow, it feels good.

- Completed the A to Z Challenge. Way more difficult than I anticipated. Six-sentence stories sounded simple. Alas, you still have to come up with a STORY. Almost every freakin' night.

- Opened my website for business and started a blog.

- Like Jen, I'm writing a short story a month. Have sent Miss January off to Alfred Hitchcock. Just presented Mr. April to a critique group and will enter it in a contest with a June 1 deadline. More editing needed on February and March. That I'm still on track thrills me after an exhausting April -- I'm not counting any of the AtoZ stories for my monthly personal challenge.

- Jumping on Amtrak Friday to head to the Chicago Writer's Workshop. First one ever. I won't be a virgin come Monday.

- Joined a Sisters in Crime critique group.

- Managed to stay married in April and out of prison on May 1. <<<---hey, I might've just started my short story for May.

Thank you. That was at once cathartic and exhilarating.

BJ Muntain said...

Congrats, John Frain! Finishing a rewrite is definitely worth celebrating. As is staying married and out of jail.

Great job!

C. L. Howland said...

I finished my 1st round of edits in 3 days, there was no 2nd round and my proofreading is done as of last night. It's now in the hands of the publisher...Thank you for reminding me to celebrate, even if it's only a party of one!

Unknown said...


Today is the first time I've commented after being a lurker for 2.5 years.

I've completed a novel and gotten the too-many-revisions dry heaves.

I've entered into an exclusive and learned my lesson the hard way.

In the midst of a writing drought, this blog and its commenters have kept me tethered to sanity. (Okay, so that's not so much a milestone as a fact. But I want to say thanks.)

Miles O'Neal said...

Congrats to all as appropriate.
E.M., even you and your daughter despite your letting her go into the fanged jowls of UGA! (shudders in mock horror)[1]

As far as celebrations go, I have someone lined up to do the ebook conversion of _Year of the Dragon Lord_. Just as I wanted the physical book to look like it came from a top notch trad publisher, I want the ebook to exude quality, too. I could do it, but it would look like a geek did it because... a geek did it. But of course the bigger celebration comes in a few weeks when the ebook is available for sale. Still, I'll eat a cookie today that things are in motion!

Also, I was beginning to doubt the direction I found the second book going, but my wife assures me it's fine. I'm stoked.

[1] In my younger days I always rooted for the Dogs except when they played Tech. That changed after they won the Sugar Bowl twice; the fans became insufferable. I suppose I should forgive and move on. OK, let's celebrate that!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Miles, I am a life long Tech fan. My grandfather played football for Tech. We have been a house divided since my daughter went to UGA. But she's an English major so Tech was not in running. I still attend every Tech home game with my dad just as I have since I was a newborn :)

nightsmusic said...

Welcome Emily Kate!!! Grab a drink, make yourself comfy and comment on :)

Angélique Jamail said...

Congrats to everyone else for their accomplishments. :)

My current milestones (and thanks for asking):

Attended my first book festival (as an author) last weekend, and despite there being a few dozen other authors there and having relatively few items to sell, I did far better than expected. (Sold out of one title, made a dent in the other, and my newest project -- poetry art cards -- went just as quickly as the books.)

Just composed my first tweet story, a series of posts on Twitter meant to be taken together. Not sure I formatted it exactly right, but initial responses were good.

Have finished teaching for the semester, and so all that's left is grading, and then all that's left will be writing and editing my own work for the next few months. Yay!