For those of you dropping by from my blog A Piece of My Mind, I'm a regular contributor to this group blog where I post on Thursdays. I've been blogging here since 2008. It's been a great gig!
For regular Popculturedivas readers, the A to Z Blog Challenge is an annual month-long event where bloggers post each day throughout the month of April, taking Sundays off. The only rule is to make Day 1's topic start with 'A', Day 2 start with 'B' and so on.
It's grown to quite an impressive event, with 1762 participants taking part this year.
On Day 8, H is for Hitting Milestones and celebrating them.
When you're living a creative life, many of the amazing moments you experience are quite personal.
You may walk into work at your day job with an extra bounce in your step because you finally typed 'The End' on your first manuscript, a quite impressive achievement which you don't share with your coworkers because you haven't told anyone at the office that you are also a writer.
You may experience an a-ha moment after many years of refining your apprenticeship of your craft, and suddenly writing revisions becomes easier. You feel like you're on top of the world, but there isn't a 'Congratulations on Your Creative Breakthrough' card at the mall for your friend to send you.
You may be wondering if it's possible to hold a book launch when you're an indie ebook author, but it's your debut novel after years of sacrifice and hard work and darn it, you deserve one!
Luckily for me, I've been part of a writers' group for twelve years now -- the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada. We're marking fifteen years together this year and we're pretty excited about it.
We have always been about celebrating milestones. We have time set aside during the monthly business meeting for member news, which acknowledges major achievements whether the person is unpublished and finally completing that first manuscript, or whether a published member is excited about a new release.
When one of our members holds an event such as a book launch, group members are generally on scene to help celebrate.
When it's a more personal breakthrough, we acknowledge that on our email loop and informally over conversation at lunch before the meeting.
If you don't have a group of other like minded creative people in your life, finding a group might be a first step in hitting your first milestone -- claiming your role as a writer, filmmaker, painter, singer, you name it.
If there are no groups near you or if there's no way to get to one, or no funds to join one, you can still mark those milestones privately.
Make a special dinner that signifies your achievement.
Buy a set of drinking glasses that only get used when you've hit one of those milestones, and toast your success when you get there.
Treat yourself to a significant purchase that becomes your personal sign post to proclaim that you made it. For example, if you have a charm bracelet dedicated to your creative life, every time you finish a project you could treat yourself to a new charm.
You could make a significant donation to a beloved cause each time you type 'The End' or upload your book online.
The possibilities are endless.
As I mentioned in a recent blog post, Success Leads to Success, when you recognize each smaller triumph for what it is, you're learning to pace yourself rather than living in an all-or-nothing world.
Rather than be frustrated by the enormity of a large project such as writing a whole novel, and then by how long it takes to establish yourself as a career author, when you celebrate the journey you're on, it turns your creative life into one extended party.