As I slowly teach myself to #CelebrateEverything, when I find myself reaching a writing milestone, I look for ways to mark and celebrate my place on the writing journey.
In 2014, although I had drafted many picture books and had started many manuscripts, I had yet to complete a novel-length story. For me, it was a personal goal to complete a YA-length first draft and when I did, I took it to an office supply store and had it comb-bound into a notebook of sorts.
I deliberately bound this first draft in landscape mode to allow myself a wide margin. Visually, it was a reminder of all the revision and notes yet-to-come in these margins. Still, it was the first step in moving words on a screen to something akin to a real book.
As I went back and reread, made notes, and revised, I worked my way through many more months of revision and reached a milestone that I am calling my second draft.
This time, I went to the office supply store and coil-bound it in a square format. A little smaller with a little bit nicer notebook binding, my story was visually one step closer to becoming a book.
More weeks went by as I took a deeper approach to revision. This resulted in what I am calling the third draft. This time, I ceremoniously took the printed manuscript sheets and used my own bookbinding glue to fan-bind it together. I even made a cover (cut from a file folder) to give it the cover-weight of a paperback book. This was the penultimate version, almost ready to send out into the world for querying. In my hands, my almost-book was a little Pinocchio, so close to becoming a Real Boy. This was also the one that I asked some YA Rockstars to sign so that I could find the oomph to keep pushing through one final series of revisions.
As of today, I am trudging resolutely through my own line edits that will be followed by one round of my copy edits. Occasionally I let myself imagine what this will feel like if (when?) this story has the legitimacy of a published book. As I dare to dream, I can almost feel the solid bound version in my hands.
In the meantime, I use my hands to help me continue to believe this story will be a book, to keep working, to keep writing, to keep going on this writing journey and to #CelebrateEverything along the way.