Thinking about book parties reminded me of several of my own that I’ve had over the years. One was at a wonderful spot in Manhattan, now long gone, called The Book Friends Café to celebrate the publication of How to Succeed on Your own. Alex was about four at the time and I can still remember sitting with him in his little bow tie and suspenders posing for a picture and proudly holding up my book. It was wonderful to share my excitement with family and friends.
A few years ago, my friends and family came together to hoist a glass for the publication of Birthing the Elephant: the woman’s go-for-it! guide to overcoming the big challenges of launching a business. I shared some stories from the book and just loved being surrounded by everyone who had given me so much support.
More recently, Alex, David and I went out to one of my favorite hometown bistros to celebrate a more modest milestone: finishing draft one of my YA novel. Now, I have to admit, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then: I’ve faced a lot of ups and downs, including my fair share of rejections. And that first draft has turned into draft number three — or is it four? — and it’s still being revised. And yet, I remember how important it was to me to mark the moment I felt I’d written through my novel from beginning to end — and to have that moment recognized.
This had made me ponder the fact that even though we writers are a solitary lot, celebrating our victories, however modest, is very important. Whether we celebrate alone or with those we love and who love us, it is important to pat ourselves on the back once in a while. As Junot Diaz said to me at a reading: “Writing is hard work. Be kind to yourself.” So let’s take his advice.
Let’s take ourselves out to lunch once in a while or give ourselves a treat, like a massage or a new book or CD — something that signals to our psyche that we are proud that we’re making progress, however modest, toward our writing goals. Or better yet, take out a writing buddy who’s made some progress of his or her own. And hey, if someone offers us dinner, let’s say yes! And write on.