Ceremonies and Motivations

by sarahenni on June 4, 2012

Phew. I really did not mean to take that long of a break. It’s been a while, but some really exciting things have been happening ’round these parts. Like, “major life event” type things. First of all, Dr H graduated from medical school*.

This is Dr H playing the game: “Graduating med school? Or going to the Yule Ball?”

We had seven of our closest friends and family visiting so we could go to his graduation ceremony, which was incredible. The day after the last of our family flew out of town, we hopped in a car and road tripped to Kentucky, where Bestie Megan got married.

Pic taken by Jessi Arrington, designer extraordinaire (luckysoandso.com)

I could not possibly be more thrilled about this marriage, and the wedding itself was an event of total, complete joy. My heart felt like this:

And her heart grew three sizes that day! (from How The Grinch Stole Christmas)

And both events—watching my ridiculously smart life partner get the honor he deserves, and seeing my best friend glow with love and pride as she walked down the aisle—are the kinds of ceremonies that serve as milestones of social human life. We crave moments like these, pit stops in the unceasing stream of life, to recognize that things have changed. The ceremony symbolizes something: these people set a goal, worked hard, and achieved it. (Marriage: Achieved! ha)

That had me thinking about rituals and rewards. (I mean, you know, I was also thinking about how much I love the people in my life. But besides that.) My writing journey so far has been a wild one. I’ve written three books, gotten this blog off the ground, joined YA Highway, gone to conferences. But some of the major celebratory events (signing with an agent, announcing a book deal) are still to be realized. Writing as a second job requires a lot, LOT, of hard work before there’s a payoff that, say, my great aunt Lenore** would be able to grasp.

So I’m going to set smaller goals, with smaller celebrations. Maybe I’ll make Dr H take me to Chevy’s when I finish this rewrite. (There isn’t much I wouldn’t do for a jumbo mango margarita.) Maybe I’ll try Jessica Spotswood’s practice of giving myself a sticker for every thousand words I achieve (I seem to remember this working really well in grade school). Whatever it takes, continue to set goals and achieve them. If you only look ahead to one ultimate goal that could take years to achieve, all motivation may soon be lost.

But when it’s time to celebrate one of those big things? Go after it. With bells on.

What about you?? What’s been happening lately? How do you celebrate writing achievements, big or small?
*Does that mean I was lying when I called him Dr H for the past three years? I would like to think I was being optimistically brief. I mean, Med Student Husband is just unwieldy.

** I totally do have a great aunt Lenore. Isn't that awesome? HI LENORE! (she's hard of hearing)

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca B June 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I love this post so much I want to marry it.
Writing and the path to publication is anything but a straight path, and that makes it hard to figure out when to celebrate achievements or feel like you’re finally “there.” You are so right that small rewards and recognition along the way are important.

Congrats to your friend and to your Dr.-Dr. H!

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sarahenni June 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm

<3 <3 I'm so glad you get what I'm talking about! Life's a party right? We need to find more ways to celebrate :)

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Ghenet Myrthil June 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm

You’ve definitely accomplished a lot, but I totally understand what you’re feeling. I like the idea of a sticker with every 1000 words. I try to celebrate the little things, like finishing a draft. It can be a long road to publication so you have to find ways to celebrate along the way!

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sarahenni June 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Isn’t the sticker idea brilliant?? Jessica’s a wise one. I wish we could have celebrated at BEA!

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Kitty June 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Wonderful post! I like the idea of setting smaller, more achievable goals. Now if I could just find a “reward” that could really work and wouldn’t involve large volumes of chocolate (which is yummy, but ultimately not great for me!).

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sarahenni June 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Mmmmm I must admit, chocolate is often my celebration. That or wine. Okay fine! Both! But you’re right, that isn’t exactly the *healthiest* way to pat oneself on the back …

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Krispy June 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I love that sticker idea! It would give me a reason to buy cute stickers! :) But on the serious side, learning to set small goals and keep them is an ongoing process for me. It makes so much logical sense, but actually doing it is hard!

Congrats to your friend! She looks gorgeous in that picture and oh-so-happy! And of course, congrats to Actually-Really-Dr. H! ;) One of my best friends just finished Med School too, so I’ve heard how ridic hard that whole process is to get through & how much work it takes. So really, congrats congrats!!! (My first question to my friend after she graduated was, “So, do we call you DOCTOR now?”)

That aside, the other big thing in my life was my sister adopted a puppy! You’ve seen the pics. He’s adorable but a handful. I think raising a puppy is pretty much a dry-run for having kids. Most of my free time is gone! I’m losing sleep! Etc. etc. But I love him! :)

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sarahenni June 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I can’t get over that the puppy is named Loki. I mean could it BE any cuter? And you’re so right—it’s a great excuse to buy cute stickers!

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Jessica Love June 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I am in love with that sticker idea. I need an incentive that’s not food…because I’m not a dog.

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sarahenni June 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I feel you. Yet… the food… it works so well! LOL

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Kristin Halbrook June 8, 2012 at 11:12 am

Such a great post. I’m good at planning to celebrate the big stuff (and then never following through with the plans) and setting goals for myself, but without rewards at the end. I guess I expect the feeling of accomplishment is enough reward, or maybe that there’s always another goal to achieve right after, so I shouldn’t get too cocky. Or something. In any event, I definitely need to create a ritual out of letting myself glory in a goal met and not rush into the next one. Thank you for the inspiration! And Dr. H and Megan both look lovely. :D

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