If I’m reposting this article, then it means I just published a novel.
Very few things are guaranteed in the life of a writer. But one thing is for sure for me – I finish what I start. I don’t get tired halfway through a writing project and give up. When I start a novel, I will finish it. And that’s a big deal. Whatever happens to the book after that really isn’t under my control no matter how hard I work to market it to readers and hope for good reviews.
I once spoke to another writer who had a bottle of champagne chilling to only be opened on the day of her traditionally-published book launch. She didn’t even have an agent yet, let alone a publishing deal. It’s a nice idea to have the bubbly ready for when your book gets traditionally published…but what if that day never comes?
This kind of thing reminds me of Erma Bombeck’s essay entitled “If I had my life to live over”. One particular line always stuck with me for some reason. It was [if I had my life to live over] “I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.”
The point is – what are you waiting for?
As they say, tomorrow is promised to no one.
Well, today I published a novel. It’s time to celebrate. Now. Not when some agent or publisher or editor tells me it’s okay to celebrate. Not when I get a positive review from a reader. Not when I sell a bunch of copies. NOW.
And what if you wait until the book launch to celebrate and it’s not everything you thought it would be? If you think publishing a book means you’re no longer a struggling writer, you’re gonna be sorely disappointed. (reality check – – most published authors still have day jobs). I’m a big believer in celebrating every victory you can because they can be very few and far between in the writer life.
Instead of champagne, my drink of choice for writerly victories is peach schnapps. The main character in my debut novel drinks straight shots of peach schnapps, and now so do I. It’s funny. I’d never even tasted the stuff until Henry started drinking it…
Anyway, I keep a bottle of schnapps on hand only for special writing-related events. I drink a shot whenever I finish novel draft, get an especially good review of my book, or receive any other kind of good writing news.
I even have a special schnapps-only shot glass I made at a do-it-yourself pottery store…
(UPDATE on my Schnapps shot glass. It fell down the garbage disposal and got ground to pieces. I had always considered it my “good luck” shotglass, so that was not a good omen for my writing. Not gonna lie. I cried when that happened. Then my darling husband got me a new shotglass with my name engraved on one side and my publishing company name (Wannabe Pride) engraved on the other. Now the glass represents not only my writing business, but the love and support of my family. )
I find I really like the smell of peaches now because it smells like good news.
Another goofy tradition of mine is that every few months I like to settle down with a drink (okay, many drinks…) And watch one of my favorite movies – The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – – – just for funsies. It occurred to me that I also tend to publish a novel every few months, so I decided to put the two traditions together.
So now when I publish a novel, I like to settle in with my drink(s) and watch the movie. (Another family update to this article – my awesome daughter now joins me in my celebratory tradition!!) There’s even a scene where the queens say ”chuggers!” and take a shot, which is the perfect time to break out the schnapps. Priscilla is a really funny, feelgood type of movie (even more so when you’ve been drinking…), so it’s always such a fun way to celebrate finishing a novel. It’s important to me to take a little time to just be happy about finishing the book, because the next step is to send it out into the world. Maybe people will love it, and I will be filled with joy. Maybe people will hate it, and my heart will be broken. I just never know.
Here’s what I do know: I wanted to write a novel. So I did.
And I published it today.
Bring on the schnapps.