Friday, April 2, 2010

Celebrating Small Successes

Gateaux and a Glass of Water--Walter Vaes--1882--1958 Today is the first day of spring break for my children.

This week of spring break is also the time to celebrate four close family birthdays, observe Easter, send off my taxes, and email the second Memphis book to my editor.

Yesterday I was frantic. I drove two school carpools in the morning (it was my day), drove to Wal-Mart to shop for my son’s 13th birthday…suddenly realized the dog was in the car (she loves school carpools), drove home, took the corgi into the house, drove back to Wal-Mart, shopped, took my husband’s shirts to the cleaner (where I had a difficult exchange with the cleaner who didn’t understand my Southern accent), drove home and worked on revisions that my agent had sent me.

I had drama class carpool to drive a couple of hours later, and then I was to be Brownie scout leader for a Girl Scout function at a Monkey Joe’s party (where the kids jump on inflatables and generally run wild.)

Then the phone rang.

It was my friend. Could I please bring the cupcakes to the school for the children’s last day before break? Spring cupcakes. She was at work and couldn’t get away.

Of course, I said, making sure the stress didn’t drip into my voice.

I stopped what I was doing, drove to the store, bought cupcakes, and hurried off to the elementary school.

As I strode quickly down the halls, I noticed all the artwork hanging on the walls. I was thinking how familiar I was with this school—my 7th grade son had been in kindergarten here. And it struck me that my daughter had only 2 more years at the school and then my days being an elementary school parent will be over.

My friend wanted to celebrate the beginning of spring— slow down and appreciate the little things with the children.

It made me think that a little slowing down and some daily celebrating might not be a bad thing.

I love writing. But sometimes it can stress me out. The last couple of weeks have been stressful.

I think part of my problem is that I’m always thinking ahead. A friend at the Brownie scout event asked me about my current book and I said, “Oh, I’m turning it in on Monday.”

“You must be so excited!” she said. “Are you going to kick back and relax a little?”

And I looked at her with surprise. “No, actually. I’m starting the next book.”

Which I need to do. Because I wrote a book last summer when the kids were home and it was really hard! I’m hoping to get some good progress on the next WIP before mid-June.

But I realize that I also need to take time to celebrate completing each part of the process….whether it’s a final draft, or even something as small as writing a difficult scene.

I want to enjoy the process—whatever part of the process I’m in that day.

And then…continuing on to the next stage after that. Because otherwise our daily successes—the little things—get lost in the shuffle.

Do you recognize or celebrate your small accomplishments to keep motivated?