I finished the first draft of another WIP (work in progress) on Monday. Guess how I celebrated? *cringes* Uh, yeah…I did nothing.
Yes, it was too late to go out for a celebratory dinner. And yes, I have a lot of editing to do. But shouldn’t I have done something? Sure, it’s not my first novel, but shouldn’t I have still taken the time to enjoy the sense of completion?
The closest I got to feeling good about finishing the story was re-reading the last scene, over and over. I love my stories right after I finish them, despite their unedited imperfections. I want to hug the happy endings right off the computer monitor. I want to send them out to everyone I know and make others join me in my happy little bubble.
But I don’t…
…because I know the story needs work…
…and that knowledge dampens my joy.
Perfectionists have a hard time calling something done no matter the circumstances. That issue also makes it hard for us to know when to celebrate an accomplishment.
Should we celebrate after we reach “The End”? No, but there’s still editing. And then there’s querying. And submitting. And more editing. And then by the time the book is coming out and is really done, we’ll be too nervous about readers’ reactions to enjoy the experience.
Yes, I know I’m over-thinking this. *smile* But I don’t think I’m alone.
There’s a statistic tossed around that only 5% of those who claim they want to write a novel actually make the time to complete it. And of those 5% who do finish a novel, what percentage goes on to finish a second, or third, or fourth novel?
I’ve never heard statistics for that question, yet I know I’ve heard about some writers who finish a story and endlessly edit or query that one book, never moving on to another one. So when we cross that finish line on another story, we’ve smashed the odds on two fronts: finishing a novel and forcing ourselves to move forward.
In other words, finishing the first draft of a story—no matter how much editing it needs—is something to celebrate. We’ve proven we can take an idea and turn it into characters, plot, dialogue, story arc, etc. And when we complete a second or a third story, we’ve proven we’re not “one-hit wonders” who can’t duplicate our success. So… *puts foot down* I’m going to figure out a way to celebrate this weekend.
What accomplishments do you celebrate? How do you celebrate? (Yes, I’m looking to poach ideas.) Do you have a hard time congratulating yourself? How do you react when you finish a first draft? Have you finished multiple stories? If yes, did that make you feel more “legit” as a writer?