Yesterday I treated my writer’s group to lunch to celebrate the fact that I finally received and signed the contract from Tarcher for Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want. WAHOO!
My writer’s group is not the typical critique group, but we are as powerful a bunch of allies as any writer could hope for. Jackie, Jaime, Jean and Sherri (in alpha order) not only helped me celebrate yesterday, they’ve helped me in countless ways since this book first sparked into existence and as it has morphed and grown. These women are talented, courageous, creative, committed, generous, insightful, inspiring, funny and a whole bucketful of other adjectives. They deserve lunch and so much more. If you don’t have a posse of writer friends and allies you can count on, you need to get one. How you find them could be the topic of another blog; for now, I’ll just paraphrase the old observation that to have an ally, you have to be an ally.
In case you’re curious about the details, my target date for turning in the complete manuscript is March 31, 2011 and we can look for the published book in early 2012. The publication date still seems a little unreal – there is a part of me that needs to see the published book in a bookstore to know that it’s really real.
But signing the contract made the whole enterprise a lot more real. I’d been postponing the celebration lunch until I had the finalized contract in hand. But Tarcher lost a manager in their contracts department and months after we’d agreed on the terms, my contract still hadn’t arrived. So I finally gave up on the idea of having the contract in hand and just set a date for lunch with my writing buds. The contract arrived six days before our lunch. I love it when I notice synchronicity – I think it’s always there, I just don’t always see it for what it is.
The manuscript delivery date is the most real date for me. When Gaby, my editor at Tarcher (I love saying ‘my editor at Tarcher’) asked me when I thought I could deliver the complete manuscript, I said in I could finish in six to nine months. So I set this date and I’m absolutely committed to finishing the manuscript and getting this book out into the world, but when I saw the delivery date in the contract “March 31, 2011” it intimidated me just a tiny bit. “Can I really do it?” the smallest part of me asked (probably the same part of me that won’t believe it’s really real until I stand in a bookstore holding my book in my hands). The rest of me shouted “Yes, I can, I want to and I will!”
I set intermediate targets for completing a chapter a month through the end of January. I was a couple of days behind on Chapter 7 and it dribbled into the first week of October. But I finished Chapter 6 – the target for October – just two hours ago, a whole two and a half days ahead of schedule!
So I’m sitting in my office savoring a piece of dark chocolate as I type this. And as soon as I’m done with this chocolate, I’m calling this entry complete, and I’m going to take the rest of the day off to be with Claudia and our dogs Blue and Kelda. We all deserve the time off and so much more for so many reasons I won’t even attempt to list them all, except to say that if takes a bucketful of adjectives to describe what my writing allies mean to me, it would take an ocean of adjectives to begin to describe what Claudia and the girls mean to me.
You deserve to celebrate, too, for so many reasons. We need to reward ourselves and celebrate not just when some major milestone is reached, but for each step that brings us closer to the milestone. So find one reason to celebrate today, acknowledge your efforts and accomplishments to date, and go out and enjoy lunch with friends or a great piece of chocolate with yourself or time with your family. Enjoy!