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Celebrate Your Wins

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

Happy woman eating ice cream
Dessert is a delicious way to celebrate a win.

Acknowledging your writing and business successes is vital to maintaining the emotional stamina to blast through your goals.

One of my author coaching clients, Iris Adams, was working on a big project: a brand new author website. Never one to underachieve, Iris decided just launching it wasn’t enough—she also planned to write three new short stories to add to it and publish on day one.

This was a lot of hard work, and I could tell Iris was putting in long hours to meet her goal. So during one coaching session I asked her: How are you going to celebrate your launch?

She hadn’t thought about that part. It was all work, work, work toward her end goal. And, presumably, when she finished with this project, she wouldn’t hesitate before starting on the next, always hungry to move forward with her career.

But we need to pause to celebrate our wins. It’s integral to author success. This is the soul food that nourishes our self-esteem, inspires us to meditate on the awesomeness that is ourselves, and then motivates us to keep going and continue making progress with whatever our larger goal may be.

Iris thought about it and came up with an idea I strongly recommend to everyone: cake. I mean, can you think of a better way to celebrate a win? So on the day of her big launch, after she pressed that exciting (and mildly terrifying) Publish button, she ate homemade chocolate cake and shared it with her family.

person holding chocolate cake
Iris with her beautiful cake

A couple days later, as I was salivating at the thought of Iris’s celebratory cake, I realized I talk and talk to my coaching clients about taking time to appreciate the success at the end of every step, but I don’t actually practice what I preach. I move forward, busting through brick walls headfirst, but I don’t turn around to see how far I’ve come before I’m on to the next goal.

Then I learned about the win jar. This can be any type of jar. And what you do is every time you achieve a win, you write it on a slip of paper and put it in the jar. As the papers accumulate, you can see, visually, just how far you have come and how many goals you have reached. Even just taking a few moments to do this simple ritual helps you to internalize all of the good feelings you get (and deserve) from meeting your goals.

mason jar with sticker that says "wins"
Here is my new win jar. I'm excited to see the slips of paper build up as I meet my goals.

This works well for all goals, but you may want to celebrate your big wins better. Launching a website is definitely cake-worthy, as Iris found. But what about finishing your first draft? Maybe you find that spa-day worthy. And what about when you’re done done? Or your publication date? Your first interview with a magazine or blog? Your first one hundred, five hundred, five thousand book sales?

Planning now for how to celebrate your next big win may just be that extra oomph of motivation you need to get there. So what will it be?

  • win jar

  • manicure

  • day trip

  • an afternoon reading in the park

  • massage

  • writers’ retreat

  • long soak in the bathtub

  • go see a play

  • trip to the mall

  • special chocolates

  • visit the movie theater

  • dinner at special restaurant

  • a lazy day to sleep in and do whatever you want

The ideas could go on and on.

So what’s your plan to celebrate your next big win? Let me know in the comments. And if you make a win jar, I would love to see it. You can tweet a photo of it to me at @GrammarParty or email me at

And if you are stuck in your writing process or need some other advice and coaching, let me know. I offer several types of author coaching packages. I can help you find the one that’s right for you.

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