Don’t Forget to Celebrate

A couple of days ago I caught myself trying to do five things at once:

  1. bake scones for a family visit (English scones, the kind you eat with jam)
  2. complete the fancy beading on a princess outfit for a teddy bear
  3. sweep the floor, put away the washing, quickly toddler-proof my living area
  4. write my monthly post for Writer Unboxed
  5. watch Homeland

Am I a multi-tasking superwoman? No, just misguided. Without six hands and a couple of separately functioning brains, there was no way I could do it. I did achieve quite a lot: cleanish house, OK scone result, beading done, TV program watched, visiting toddler did not stick her fingers in any electrical sockets, fall foul of dogs or consume stray beads. But the post didn’t get written. And the To Do list keeps growing – apart from the ‘real life’ tasks, it contains guest blogs, a cover endorsement, a looming copy edit, a proposal for a new series, and two things I really, really want to do and may have to say no to (writing a story for an anthology and preparing a workshop proposal for a convention.) My mind is on a looping message: so much to do, so little time. As a result, I’ve missed something vitally important.

I didn’t allow time to celebrate the release of my new book. Flame of Sevenwaters comes out on November 6 (December 1 for the Australian edition) and I’m doing pretty much nothing to recognise that fact, on a personal level at least. I’m lined up for some guest blogs and interviews (check out my Take Five for WU on November 4) and I have signings coming up at Supanova in Adelaide and possibly in Sydney later in the month. But no book launch; no opportunity to get together with friends, fellow writers and fans to send this sixth and perhaps final instalment of the Sevenwaters saga out into the world with smiles and goodwill.

I stopped work this evening to go outside and watch wispy clouds drifting across a beautiful full moon. I made myself stand out on the grass for a while and enjoy the peace. Reminded myself to slow down sometimes, no matter what the pressure. Congratulated myself on getting the book finished and out there. Imagined how I might have launched this particular story, had I had time to do so. I could have hosted a ‘readers and their dogs’ event at a local park, since as well as embarking (no pun intended) on a truly formidable quest, the protagonist of Flame of Sevenwaters takes in and rehabilitates a pair of feral hounds. Animal rescue is a cause I’m passionate about, and I loved weaving that thread into the story. Or I could have launched the book at the RSPCA kennels and suggested all those attending drop a gold coin into the donation box. Too late for that now. However, on release day I will be at canine obedience training with my dog Harry (himself a rescue), which is pretty appropriate! We might finish off that particular session with a glass of wine and a dog biscuit.

Folks, don’t forget to celebrate your successes. There’s value in a long writing-related To Do list like mine – it’s a sign that people appreciate your work. But if, like me, you are a somewhat driven person, you might also make another list: ways to celebrate. Everything from a huge, extravagant party to the intimate woman-and-dog picnic. And when the time comes, do it. Writing achievements are hard-won. Recognise your own work and your own worth.

How do you celebrate your writing achievements?

Photo credit: Ivan Mikhaylov
Cover art for the Penguin edition of Flame of Sevenwaters is by John Jude Palencar


About Juliet Marillier

Juliet Marillier has written nineteen novels for adults and young adults as well as a collection of short fiction. Her works of historical fantasy have been published around the world, and have won numerous awards. Juliet's new novel, Tower of Thorns, will be published in October/November 2015. Tower of Thorns is the second book in the Blackthorn & Grim series of historical fantasy/mysteries for adult readers. The first Blackthorn & Grim novel, Dreamer's Pool, is available from Roc US and Pan Macmillan Australia.


  1. says

    Let me help you celebrate: Congratulations! I always feel so excited when other author’s post their new books. When one in the tribe has a success, we all feel hope and joy. Savor.

  2. says

    I agree; it’s important to celebrate milestones. I purchased a new necklace for myself after completing a hard revision. When my second book comes out, my husband and I are going to pop a particularly good bottle of wine (Australian, actually!).

    Congratulations on your beautiful new book, Juliet!

    • says

      Thanks, Therese. I’ve been especially fortunate with the gorgeous cover art for this book – got to love those dogs! The Australian cover has a beautiful Waterhouse painting, slightly tweaked to match the protagonist with her damaged hands.

  3. says

    Congratulations on your release!

    Thanks for the reminder that a) we might need a little help getting that to-do list done, even if it’s a little note that says “one at a time” or something like that and b) the importance of celebrating ourselves.

    Your book looks really interesting so I’m adding it to my TBR pile ;-)

  4. says

    Congratulations to you on the publication of your book. As Therese suggests in her comment, it is important to not only celebrate the big successes, but also the milestone along the way. When you complete that first draft or the first round of revisions do something nice for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a grand celebration, but we should allow ourselves a pat on the back every now and then. Well done, Juliet.

  5. says

    Hi Juliet, first congratulation for your success, celebrate it, you deserve it. Second to be honest I´m not a huge fan of fantasy novel but my wife is. So I think that “Daughter of the Forest” will be one of my Christmas present :) I will let you know about her feedback then :)

  6. says

    Juliet, congrats on the launch of your book. Sixth in the series! Wow. We have lit twins. My fourth novel, Something New, officially releases next week and I’m celebrating by having lunch with my MIL next Monday, on my grandmother’s birthday. My grandma raised me and she would be beyond proud that all those hours of reading and writing as a child did produce a professional writer. (She died when I was 19.)

    I’ll be advertising here on WU, too. I love you guys.

    I’ll go check out your series. And I think I’ll steal Therese’s idea about the wine and the necklace. :)

  7. says

    This is great news – for readers as well. Seems like Shadowfell just came out (really enjoying it, btw – kept me up late last night). I concur on the gorgeous cover.

    I was just thinking about this, as I’m a few days (if I can get to work) from finishing yet another rewrite of my book one ms. It will be difficult to ask others to celebrate with me because I’ve already proclaimed myself ‘done’ with it a few times. I’m like the boy who cried wolf, or rather, cried “Let’s celebrate!” too many times.

    Even though I feel I’ve made signifcant progress this time, it almost feels like I’ll jinx it if I allow myself to celebrate or even announce it when I’m done. Maybe I should follow your cue and take the dog out in the yard for stars and a toast and get on with submissions. Thanks for the reminder, Juliet, and congrats on a stellar year (oops, another pun)! Cheers!

    • says

      An under-the-radar celebrations shouldn’t jinx it, Vaughn! A nice walk to somewhere beautiful and a pause for reflection is probably enough. :)

  8. says

    How wonderful it must be, Juliet, to give birth to a hard copy book. Well done! Somehow, publishing digitally doesn’t have the same punch. I have twenty (20) up on Amazon (under Alex and Barbara Wilson) and have yet to be moved to self-congratulation. For me, it’s on to the next….

    • says

      Congratulations on those twenty, Alex, that is a fine record. I’ve possibly become a little jaded (this is my fifteenth novel) and that is a terrible thing – our creative successes always deserve celebration, even in some small but significant way.

      For me it’s always ‘on to the next’ too. I am currently part-way through writing a novel, and copy-editing another.

  9. says

    I’ve lost count of how many times my husband and I say we’re going to celebrate – one of my stories being published, finishing NaNoWriMo, etc – and then we just never get around to it. This post is a great reminder to celebrate, well, everything! :)

    Congratulations on the release of your book!

  10. says

    This post really resonated with me – I’m a driven writer myself, with a long to do list and very rarely allow myself time to slow down. So thank you for that. And really glad that you found time /made time to look at the sky Juliet….many, many congratulations on your achievement. And best of luck with whatever’s next…

  11. says

    I’ve been submerged in the release of my newest book, plus I’ve been out of town and somehow, if you’re gone for 4 days, it takes 8 to catch up. I truly meant to get myself something special for the new release, but haven’t managed to get around to it. What I REALLY need to do is send something to my editor for the time she spend taking a second pass at the novel before it hit the stores. I do take the time to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets, though. Up here in the mountains, they’re magnificent, and if I’m busy, Hubster will always give a shout out.


  12. Marilyn Slagel says

    Congratulations, Juliet! Six in a series is incredible. I’ll put Daughter in the Forest on my TBR list. It grows daily!

    My first book is in the final galley proofing. To celebrate I did something outrageous – I treated myself to a vintage mink stole! LOL Seriously, I rarely spend any money on myself. A big wedding was coming up and I thought it was time to pamper myself for almost two years of sweat and tears over that book.

    The wedding was fabulous and the fur was a hit!

    I learned when my husband passed away to always seize the moment.

    Again, congrats on your new book. I’m headed to Amazon to look at the series!

  13. Ray Pace says

    Irony at work: go out to celebrate and end up in a bookstore. It’s a life of hanging with other writers, in person and in print.

  14. Leslie R. says

    Congratulations, Juliet! I just re-read the series from the beginning in preparation for Flame of Sevenwaters and enjoyed them all just as much as the first time.

  15. says

    Congrats on the new Sevenwaters book! Those stories changed my life and helped me become a woman! I cannot WAIT to read this newest installation. I truly hope you have ample time to sit back and celebrate in the upcoming weeks.

  16. says

    I love the idea of a celebration list. It is so easy to get caught up in “doing,” having a list makes celebrating that much easier. Congratulations on your release. :)

  17. sue knight says

    Juliet, its never too late for a milestone celebration. Why not have a belated book launch one week later. I’ll be celebrating by buying a copy of it !

  18. says

    I always organise a book launch of some kind – I think its psychologically important, both a celebration and a time of mourning that the story is finished and will no longer be haunting me. and I a piece of jewellery – so that every time I wear it I remember that it was bought for this book at this time.

    Don’t forget, though, that its JULIET MARILLIER week on my blog next week – a review & an interview – all at – please drop by and enjoy :)

  19. says

    Thanks to everyone who posted, and apologies for not responding to each of you individually. I do appreciate the congratulations, well wishes and helpful suggestions for celebratory activity.

  20. says

    Congratulations on your book release and five prior releases. I am celebrating for you right now…. danced around the room. I love the dance around the room celebration. You can do it while doing six other things (before and after the dance), takes no money and hardly any time. but man oh man does it feel good. Dancin dancin. CONGRATS!!!