Celebrate what you do. I read a great many blogs and something that appears often enough for comment is the need to celebrate our accomplishments.
Obviously, define what an accomplishment is – a finished poem, an edited novel, a published article, a completed blog (I’m looking at me). How do you celebrate the finish? How do you stick the landing? Have you perfected your end -zone dance?
A big Greatest Showman flourish and a Ta- Da! may be be enough. But to finish big or small, you need to do something.
For a small finish, like a blog – chocolate may be involved. If you just finished a longer project like a novel – a massage should be involved. Good scotch is always an excellent option, but I don’t want to be the voice in your head that encourages alcohol consumption as your go-to celebration. Don’t get me wrong, it’s mine, I just want to be a little responsible on your behalf. Maybe that’s the celebration – an afternoon responsibility free.
After shaking your head and claiming that mature people, mature writers, don’t need to celebrate, the work is enough. Just finish, and roll into the next project without skipping a beat, just like all those unhelpful articles on Flip Board. Winners never quit , winners don’t even pause.
You need to pause. Maybe all afternoon. Maybe all weekend.
Because if you don’t, the work will never, ever be as good as that piece you just finished. Admire the finished product, celebrate it. I did that. I made that. Let it sink in, count the hours of practice and effort. Feel, for a moment, how the work was worth it. Breathe.
Ignore the admonishment from people who don’t understand that you should not light a cigarette with another cigarette. Don’t listen to the factory voice admonishing you to keep moving. Do it again, do it again, over and over.
But as you guessed during the last four sentences, this will not work.
Why do we not pause?
That’s what this is about, the pause.
When you emerge, blinking in the sun, a new clean pair of Lululemon’s in hand. What is there to see? Nothing.
When artists finally finish or abandon a big project, the end is like a death.
In American society, death is not discussed. In the face of something as large as creativity, as large as life, finishing is like hitting a wall at 60 m/p/h.
The blackness yawns before you.
What is next? Nothing seems as wonderful as the project just completed.
The blogs seem small.
The poetry seems impossible.
The classes seem overwhelming.
How do you cope? You throw a party, you connect with people, maybe even people neglected during that last big push to finish the big project. You dance, you int you binge watch Game of Thrones. All of that is very helpful. All is good.
The reason a completed project looks so grim, and so scary is because we need to discover the next obsession. We need to discover the next project that will color our days and propel us out of bed every morning. Which is not easy to do.
You are not a machine, your creativity is inefficient, wild and untamed. Your creativity needs a nap, and a few candles dedicated to the Muse. You are not what you do, you are who you are – an artist.
Pause for a moment and admire your work. Take a swig of Suntory Toki.
We will wait right here.
“Attending the Plotting Madness boot camp was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed it and came away with a completed outline for my novel. I recommend the boot camp for writers of all levels.” ~ Linda Childers