Two weeks ago, Liz and I hit “send” on the Hungry Authors manuscript—all 60,000 words of it.
Then last Friday, I sent another first draft of a client’s short book to my copyeditor—which was 17,000 words. Then I finished the first half (over 32,500 words) of another client’s book.
If you’re counting, that’s almost 110,000 words I’ve been wrangling in the last few months.
And if that doesn’t call for a celebration, I don’t know what does.
“It’s kind of anticlimactic,” Liz said when we turned in the Hungry Authors draft. “I guess we have to go work on our other projects now!”
Yeah, honestly, it was a bit anticlimactic. Life must still go on. Other deadlines must still be met. And yet, I still found myself wanting a pause—a moment of recognition for completing what has been a significant writing accomplishment in my career. Although I know that in the future, I will likely complete other, bigger milestones (at least, I hope so!), this one is important, too.
If you’ve been getting my newsletter for a while, then you know that I love to talk about self-efficacy—that is, our belief in our own ability to meet a goal. This is a phrase that was used by Dr. Albert Bandura, a renowned psychologist, to describe the sense of agency that we have in our lives. The higher our self-efficacy, the higher our satisfaction and the more we will actually realize the goals we set for ourselves.
And there are four ways we build self-efficacy:
I’m a firm believer that celebrating our wins is key to building our self-efficacy. It reduces the stress around doing hard work, and most importantly, it cements in our minds that this was a mastery experience. We did it! If we don’t mark the moments that we successfully completed something difficult that brings us closer to our goals, then we’ll never feel like we’re making progress, that that goal is actually getting closer.
And so, this week, a short list of ways I celebrated last weekend:
I love baking, but I don’t make time for it very often because it feels like a luxury. So I made my mom’s banana bread and enjoyed a leisurely morning with coffee and snacking on fresh, warm banana bread!
I’m not going to lie, cleaning has definitely taken a backseat the past few months. I did just basic levels of maintenance and tried to ignore the dust building up all over the place. I just couldn’t think about that while I was trying to hit these major deadlines. So after my relaxing morning with banana bread and coffee, I did a deep clean of the kitchen—which immediately made me feel a sense of refreshment.
I’m glad my deadlines coincided with the start of cool weather here in Tennessee, because I also love changing up my decorations for the different seasons, and I was able to enjoy putting up some of my favorite fall decor.
I legit almost fell asleep in the massage chair while getting a pedicure. After baking and cleaning and decorating in the morning, plus the residual stress of my deadlines leaving, that massage chair was such a gift!
And obviously, after my pedicure and nearly falling asleep at the nail salon, I decided to go home and take an actual nap. It was glorious.
I know that for a lot of people, these things are part of daily life, not necessarily celebration-worthy activities. But for me, these are activities that get pushed to the bottom of my list when I’m working hard, and so taking them up again felt like a much-needed reprieve and a way to re-prioritize myself and my needs.
Obviously, how YOU celebrate your writing accomplishments should depend on what you love. Maybe it’s a fun hike with your kids or taking yourself out to dinner and a movie alone. The only requirement is that it brings you joy and feels like a celebration.