When I first started on this weird writing journey three years ago, all I wanted was to be published. It was my end goal. The one thing where I thought, if I can just get my first publishing contract, I’ll have made it.
Well, six months after I started on this journey, I received The Call, got that publishing contract, and was ecstatic.
I still felt like there was more to it. Like there was something missing. I still felt like I hadn’t quite made it, even though I was getting paid to write and my book was available for the world to read.
So I set a new goal. A new, “I’ll make it once I ________” goal. That time, it was “I’ll make it once I get an agent.”
So I wrote a(nother) book. I queried. And then I got an agent. And while I was, once again, ecstatic, it still didn’t really feel like I’d made it.
Maybe I’d feel like that when I got a print publishing contract with one of the Big Five? Maybe that was what I needed to really feel accomplished.
You know what happened next, right? Yep, I got a contract with Penguin, and shortly after another contract for another series with Macmillan. That’s two different contracts with two different publishers within the elusive Big Five.
Yep, you guessed it.
Now I’m on the, “I’ll make it once I see my book in a bookstore,” goal.
And you know what? That’s bullshit.
Because even though I still have lots of “I’ll make it once I ______” goals (like getting picked up by Target, making it to the NYT or USAToday bestseller lists, making enough money so my husband can quit his job…), they’re not the end-all, be-all. They’re just pit stops on the journey. Awesome pit stops I’d love to get to, but if I don’t, you know what? That doesn’t mean I’m a failure or that I haven’t made it yet.
It took me three years—three years filled with lots of great accomplishments—and a blog post written to my pre-published self before I came to the realization that publishing is not a destination in which you have to tick off a set of goals before you ever truly make it. It’s a journey, and if you’re so focused on the next goal all the time, the next destination, you miss every beautiful landmark along the way.
I wish I could go back now and truly celebrate all those amazing steps I’ve taken. The day(s) I got The Call(s), every release day, when I held my book for the first time… Because every single step is an accomplishment in this ball-busting business. And every single one deserves to be celebrated.
I’m thinking about getting a tattoo that I’ll add to with each new book I have published. I know…that might be a huge ass tattoo by the time it’s all said and done, but whatever. What do you do or will you do to celebrate each milestone?