Andres Cantor probably isn’t known by name to whole segments of the mystery community, but every time I finish a rough draft, I think of him.
Years ago, his exhuberant yell finally made the jump from the Spanish-speaking soccer world to its English-speaking counterpart. Goals in the game became even more exciting with his gleeful, full-throated upping the ante. People who’d never watched the game began to tune in, to listen to the radio and watch television, just to hear him scream that gorgeous version of "Gol."
Well, I wish Cantor had been in my office last Wednesday morning when I finished the first draft of BEE GONE, my initial attempt at a new series.
I WANTED a celebration, a howling whoop-de-doo . . . but got a fizzle.
I patted myself on the back.
I called my husband (whose company is about to announce large layoffs) and his response would’ve put a gnu to sleep.
I reached out to friends, but mainly ended up with general congrats that didn’t satisfy — misfires and blahs. Wahhhhh!
I even resorted to posting a single line on a smaller listserv, something most people totally ignored. Mary Saums, lovely Mary, didn’t. She sent me a card; she got it. But man, oh man, I wanted more.
Wednesday night, after the kids and hubby went to sleep, I poured myself a nice shot of O’ban and toasted myself. Frankly, even that was a little anticlimatic.
It’s what, Monday? And I’m still looking for that darn celebration, for the world to stop for a second to applaud ME! Yeah, I know . . . it’s pathethic. Silly and sentimental and childish. But there it is.
And, what the heck?
What’s wrong with marking successes big and small? It sure makes life a lot more fun.
In the next few weeks, my Advanced Readers Copies (ARCS) for SOCORRO will arrive at UNM Press. I’ll be dancing again, toasting again, bursting with happiness.
When the book appears in stores and gets reviews, I’ll be bubbling. Even though this is #3 for me, it’ll feel just as wonderful, just as giddy, as what J.T. is going through right now.
Perhaps I’m manufacturing all this joy. So what? It’s nicer than being nonchalant about it.
I wonder if other writers — my more experienced friends with 15-30 books under their belts — feel the same glee and sense of accomplishment each time?
I sure hope so.
What about you?
Writers: Do you celebrate the birth of your rough drafts? Do you mark other moments in the lives of your works? How?
Readers: What personal accomplishments do you celebrate? How do you mark those wonderful occasions?
Please tell me I’m not alone in finding hundreds of reasons to feel happy in my writing life . . .
I find joy in all sorts of accomplishments. I’ve returned to study to finish the last two semesters of my degree. These last few months have been excruitatingly grinding away. I love learning. I find fitting the way I think into a predictated format hard.Hah discipline. Anyways I’m sticking to it and it’s getting good results. I have 2 more assignments and 2 more exams within the next two weeks. I am fully prepared to do a very undignified dance of joy and reconnect with friends over much wine, food and laughter.
Oh and I’m happy each morning that when I stare at the often blank computer screen, that just outside is a beautiful tree, which distracts me from the screen and then sort of magically… words form sentences and analysis starts to make sense.
Congrats Pari, on still maintaining your own buzz from your hard work reaching maturation.
Congratulations, Pari – I absolutely DO celebrate every stage in the writing of a book, and I think you should do something big for yourself. Something that FEELS big – and satisfying.
I’m getting ready to buy myself an extravagant new pair of riding breeches and a new shirt/sweater set I fell for a a local shop – I’m not a big shopper of clothing these days, but I need to celebrate my SELF – which can sometimes seem lost in the melee of kids and horses and clients.
I am SO eager to read Socorro. That is a treat all on its on – the anticipation of a book!
Catherine,Congratulations! Does this mean you’ll be done? Really, really done?
Oh, baby, I’d do an undignified dance and MAJOR catch up with that neglected social life, too. What wonderful news!
And, thank you for your comment. Maybe that’s what I’m doing, “maintaining” my own buzz . . . I like how that sounds.
Billie,I just realized that I wrote on a similar topic (sheesh)– about the spa — a couple of weeks ago, but I hadn’t actually completed the manuscript at that point. See what I mean? I celebrate a lot.
But there’s a difference between rewarding AND celebrating, I think. I do a lot more of the latter — in small ways — than the former.
I love that you bought those clothes. Every time you wear them, you’ll be reminded of your success.
And, thank you for the comment about SOCORRO. I’m feeling good about the book and hope it’s well received. I can’t wait to hold that ARC in my hands.
Hip, Hip, Hooray! Finishing the first draft of a book is a Great Thing and deserves a fanfare. I found myself humming Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man in congratulations. (Go here for a stately version by the Marine Corps Band: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.100010429/default.html )
Then I went outside under the clear, cool New Mexico sky and tossed my hat toward the sun. (Really!)
Pari, I felt like my comment was a minor deja vu experience but I couldn’t think why – yes, the spa post you did tapped into this from a different angle.
I like what you wrote today about rewarding and celebrating. There is a difference, and it reminded me of what I used to do when I wrote in my office. I had little shrines to each book and the one that was being shopped had a separate shrine only to do with selling. I didn’t want to mix up the celebrating of having completed it with its being shopped.
During that time those little shrines were my way of celebrating. At first I used little candles but I kept using them up, so I bought the bigger fat ones and let them drip and run – at one point I was very stressed over the book that was “out there” and the candle melted into the shape of an angel – the wings came around as though protecting the flame. That was such a wonderful time.
My writing life is different now and there are other places for all that energy to go. At the time, the tending of those shrines kept me from obsessing over things.
Fanfare is good — Flight of the Valkyries is my celebration music.Congrats, Pari. It’s the sweetest feeling in the world.Can’t wait for Socorro too!xo
I celebrate every step toward completion (and can’t understand why my husband thinks it’s just another Monday).
* I toast finishing a scene I was dreading.
* I celebrate each 10,000 word level in the draft
* I definitely celebrate the completion of a first draft.
I have a girlfriend who went out and bought herself a Jaguar when she finished her draft. I usually have to settle for a manicure.
Starley,I didn’t know the name of that piece but recognized it as soon as the trumpets(?) came in. Gorgeous.
Thank you. Thank you so much.
Billie,I adore the idea of shrines. I’m even thinking of cleaning my clutter-filled office to do it. The energy in that kind of ritual is very powerful. Of course, you know that with your Jungian background.
J.T.,Why am I not surprised to see your choice of celebration music? It fits you so well.
Louise,A jag? Holy cow.
I’m glad to hear you celebrate at so many steps along the way. Isn’t it fun?
A Jaguar? I am seriously not celebrating the right way.
Congrats, Pari, on finishing. I think there should always be a big celebration of completing projects. Personally, I go on a reading binge, or movie binge (or both).
YAY PARI!!! OH YAY AND CONGRATULATIONS AND YOU SO ROCK!
his response would’ve put a gnu to sleep
Ya know, I don’t know. Is that hard to do?
Oh, Toni, a reading binge . . . what a beautiful idea.
Today, my celebration is trying to declutter my office. Believe me, it’ll be wonderful if I can make a dent.
Okay, Fran,That’s EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Oh, yes, indeed.
Mark,”Is that hard to do?” to bring sleep to a gnu? That depends on your boredom threshold. I’ve heard gnus are very curious creatures, so, my hubby had to work pretty darn hard at ennui.
Congrats Pari!Only two words, but it says it all.
When I reach the end – I’m thrilled that I managed to… 🙂
Some celebrations in my life have been marked in very obvious ways. I recall one particularly good dance performance given in Odoorn, Netherlands, where a crowd of about 500 people gave us a standing ovation that was so loud we couldn’t hear the band cue us to exit the stage.I wish all my celebrations could be that much of an adrenaline rush, but they usually aren’t.In 2006, the junior high school academic team that I coach took first place in the National Tournament. The national games are played over Sprint phone lines and televised locally, so we tell the kids they have to keep a “poker face” when the other team can see them. The 30 seconds between the final buzzer and the judges’ final call that we had won must’ve been very long for the kids, but they smiled politely and thanked the other team before exiting the broadcast room. Then a riot burst out in the hallway as they began to celebrate.
However, more like you, when I finished my MSc dissertation and handed it in, I felt like churchbells should be ringing or something. They didn’t. It was a bit disappointing to have no one with whom to share my elation.
Now, I’m still unpublished, but since I talk about my stuff to my students, they are more than ready to cheer for me when I reach writing milestones. They tell me it’s “cool.”
So, I suppose we blog readers will function as your “students.” Already you’ve received several “cheers.” Add mine, please.And add my admiration, as you’re so very far ahead of me in the wide world of publishing.
Pari, I’m very close to done for this step and will complete this degree before next June, I hope. There has been no straight line approach to this study at all so far.
Whenever I think of doing honours I feel as though someone is sitting on my chest so I’ll give the honours opportunity a miss.After seeing a little more of the world outside Australia, the plan is to then start my Masters in Information systems/Library studies.This plan is subject to how much fun I have elsewhere though.
I’m a great believer in reveling in the moment and catching breath before the next big thing. If that breath involves a lot of hooting and laughter even better.
Elaine,Boy do I know what you mean! Thank you. Do you celebrate every time?
Paperback,Thank you so much for the cheers AND for being a reader “student.” Though, I suspect you’re closer than you think to publication. Frankly, so much of this work is simply perseverance and you’ve shown that in becoming a teacher and working with the age group with whom you spend your school days.
BTW: I like YOUR blog too.
I’m honored by your “admiration.” It truly means a lot to me.
I’m a little late with this response, but congratulations!
You’ve visited my blog?wow. I am honored. I didn’t know that.
Woodstock,Thank you so much. I hope you make it to LCC; it’d be wonderful to meet you.
Paperback,Yep. I’ve visited. I like your voice very much in the nonfiction.
Uh, thanks — I think. I’m not quite sure what you mean. But it sounds like a compliment. (However, it could mean: I’ve read some of your fiction excerpts and they suck.) 🙂