40 Writing Milestones to Celebrate

Or: 40 Excuses to Buy Yourself an Ice Cream

Aug 28 · 3 min read
Image Courtesy Bruce Mars

As a writer, it can be really hard to keep going. One way I keep myself motivated is by celebrating the small things. Sure, I was over the moon the first time I got a poetry acceptance. But I’ve learned that to keep going, you need to celebrate every little step. Every time I hit a new milestone, I try to appreciate that moment, because it validates all the hard work, long hours, and general malaise that being a writer sometimes entails. I love writing, but writing is hard.

So here are 40 things to reward yourself for as a writer:

  1. The first rejection
  2. The first personal rejection
  3. The first acceptance
  4. The first dream publication
  5. The 20th Rejection
  6. The 50th Rejection
  7. 100 Rejections in a year
  8. Your first critique group
  9. Your second critique group because the first one fell apart
  10. Your third critique group, this is the one, finally
  11. Your fourth critique group that really is The One
  12. When an editor solicits your work
  13. When an editor accepts you, then says they like your other work
  14. The first time you are asked to speak somewhere
  15. Your first time as a panelist at a convention
  16. Your first book draft
  17. The first story you shelve
  18. The first book you shelve
  19. Getting an ARC in the mail
  20. Getting paid a pro rate
  21. Your first review
  22. Your first bad review
  23. Your first terrible, inexplainable, weirdly mean review
  24. Your first fanmail
  25. Your first angry fanmail
  26. The first time someone asks you to sign a book
  27. The first time someone dresses up in cosplay as your character
  28. Your first reading
  29. Your first reading where someone other than your best friend was in the audience
  30. Finding your book in a bookstore… and signing it!
  31. Landing an agent
  32. The first time a librarian wants to archive your work
  33. Being invited to be Guest of Honor at an event
  34. Collaborating with an artist or other writer
  35. Getting nominated for an award
  36. Winning your first award
  37. Teaching for the first time
  38. Writing the second book, the third, the fourth …
  39. When you get a movie deal
  40. Revising your work with the audacity of J.K. Rowling & George Lucas (Just joshing, obviously.)

Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor based out of Houston, Texas. She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Texas and a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. She provides editing services for writers and organizations of all genres, experiences, and backgrounds, but enjoys working with new writers best. Find her on Twitter or visit her website.

Holly Lyn Walrath

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I'm a writer, editor, and poet. Find me online at www.hlwalrath.com.

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