You Ought To Be Congratulated!

By: Helen Carr

In 2019/2020 I wrote a novel. Yes, I finally finished writing the 90000-word manuscript I had sitting in my head for years. Thank you, you’re too kind. No, seriously, hold your applause; because the truth is, it’s not very good…but it could be…maybe?

And that is where the difficulty lies. I have this 300-page manuscript sitting in its pastel pink Officeworks box, beckoning me to start the editing process, and I have no idea where to begin, so there it has sat for almost two years.

Which raises the question, what is the benchmark of success? As it is, I have already congratulated myself for being dedicated enough to write a novel; my ADHD brain does not do intricate, long-term endurance projects, (unless it’s binging a series on Netflix, but I digress), so my family and I have already had the $20 steak special at the local pub to celebrate! But part of me wonders, should we have waited until it was of publishable quality and readable by others?

In answering this, I am reminded of when I first started this writing endeavour. I stated to a friend, “I don’t want to put in all this effort only for it to be found in a 99c book bin with hundreds of other books by equally enthusiastic but not quite million-seller authors.” His response has never left me: “Helen, why does that matter? You write for the sake of writing, for having contributed something that no one else has; that is why you write, not for the sake of being a best-seller.”

This was like one of those cartoon lightbulb-over-the-head moments. I felt somewhat ashamed for the way my attitude had changed over the writing of the novel, but mostly, this new perspective brought an incredible sense of freedom. I could breathe again and just enjoy the achievement. It made it very clear that yes, I could celebrate the achievement, because… I wrote a novel! That deserves to be celebrated. And whether I choose to spend time editing it and rewriting it for publication, or I choose to simply leave it as it is, is irrelevant and makes no difference to the fact that I WROTE A NOVEL!

I wonder, what things have you achieved in your life that perhaps you feel don’t deserve to be celebrated because they aren’t quite big enough?

Perhaps a song you’ve written that no one has heard. A paper you’ve written for a degree that didn’t quite achieve a stellar grade, but you are still so proud of it. A conversation you’ve had with someone that is hard but has led to a significant change in relationship dynamics. A garden grown from seeds and hard work.  Perhaps you got out of bed today for the first time in a week?

Whatever your achievement is, you are allowed to celebrate now. Don’t wait for permission from anyone else, just do it! Pat yourself on the back, go out for dinner, watch that tv show you love, however you want to, please take that moment to appreciate the thing you have achieved, and give yourself a round of applause.

Because we don’t do it enough, and we really ought to be congratulating ourselves far more often, because that is what motivates us to take the next step, to keep on writing, or talking, or sharing, or whatever it is that we do.

So, here’s to you, you amazing person, I see you, and I raise my coffee cup high to you today, and say well done and thank you for your contribution to our world.

Article supplied with thanks to 1079life.

About the Author: Helen Carr is an author/student and mum to 3 boys and a cat. She is happiest drinking coffee at the beach, thanking God for life in all its wonderment.

Feature image: Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

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