Well, I did what I always do when I reach such a milestone: I danced the dance of the victorious, patted myself on the back, and raised a glass of my favorite beverage in salute to my accomplishment.
Then, I treated myself to a coma.
Some of you will recall that I don’t write as my sole vocation. I have a full-time job accounting for a rather sizable chunk of my waking hours. Then there are the other dwellers in my household; a wife and two young daughters who demand care and feeding, as well as time spent with favorite storybooks, playing with Legos or attending tea parties, or shepherding them to school and Taekwondo lessons. This means a lot of my writing takes place in the late evening or early morning hours—a little here, a little there, after everyone’s gone to bed or before anyone wakes up—until all the word slinging and polishing is done and I get to click that beautiful “Send” icon. Soon enough, there will be editor’s notes to address, and copyedits, and proofing galley pages, and so on and so forth. Later, there will be interviews and other marketing efforts, but for that moment? I was gonna celebrate a little.
And that included the aforementioned coma.
Writing—at least, writing on deadlines for someone else—is like any other job and as with those situations, it’s important to give yourself some time off every now and then. You know, like when you wrap up a novel manuscript or other biggie-sized, long-haul writing endeavor. As much as it is restorative for the mind and body, it’s also a reward to yourself for a job well done.
Such downtime doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, although I have to be honest here and say that a vacation to Panama City or Maui wouldn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. I’m happy just to give myself a brief respite so that my increasingly addled brain can recharge a bit. I spend a couple of evenings putting small dents in my “To Be Read” pile, or I watch a few of those Blu rays or DVDs that have been stacking up in front of the television, each representing a movie I never got around to seeing at the theater. I hang out with the kids and we do stuff of which their mother would not approve, but let’s keep that our little secret, okay?
The breather ended up being a short one, this time around. I had an outline for another novel waiting to be finalized, along with a short story I’ve been wanting to write for a while, and I’m also involved with another writer who’s adapting one of my stories for presentation as an audio drama. The life of a working writer, even part timers like myself, never really stops, but you have to take these sorts of “mental health breaks” every so often.
What sorts of “post-writing” celebrations or rituals do you observe?