When you’ve hauled yourself over the line of your deadline, when you’ve gotten the news that your story has been accepted, when a gallery finally sees your brilliance and puts your work on the walls, there’s only one thing to do: celebrate.
Of course. This may seem obvious but we often forgo celebrating, forging ahead to the next goal or project. And when we do, we’re missing out on something that’s vital to the creative process.
Celebrating sends the message to yourself that the time and effort you put toward creating is acknowledged and rewarded. It’s a message of respect and of joy. Celebrating makes you stop and reflect upon what you did to arrive at your goal.
Yet most of us blow past this vital and loving part of the creative cycle. Almost every one of my clients and students needs nudging toward making celebrating part of the creative life. To make it easier for you to bring celebration into your life, here’s a baker’s dozen of simple, inexpensive and fun ways to celebrate your successes.
1. Write a love note to yourself outlining all your brilliant characteristics.
2. Treat yourself to a new notebook or pack of pens.
3. Visit the art supply store and buy a new brush, tube of paint, sheet of beautiful paper, or other creative treat.
4. Let nature celebrate with you. Pause in a park or other natural environment and relish your accomplishments. Everything will seem extra bright and beautiful, I promise!
5. Give yourself an afternoon in the library or bookstore. Pick up ideas and inspiration for the next creative phase.
6. Call up a creative buddy and schedule a walk or coffee date. Trade acknowledgements of each other’s progress.
7. Make a list of all the things you have done for your creativity in the last six months. Give yourself gold stars for everything.
8. Reread a journal or free write notebook. Take stock of how far you have come and prepare for more.
9. Compile your victories in a portfolio or notebook. Use a three-ring binder with plastic sheets to protect your clips, reviews, articles about you or other kudos you get.
10. Ask your significant other or a friend to celebrate you. Invite them to be creative in their acknowledgment of your achievements.
11. Get tickets for a concert, reading or art show. Connecting to others’ creative expression will feed your own.
12. Make notes about what you brought to bear on your creative life. Your persistence, your sense of humor, your willingness to listen to your instincts, all will help you in the next phase of the journey.
13. Plan a retreat – an afternoon, a day, a weekend, a week – in a nearby locale to fuel yourself.
Make a list of your own celebrations and rewards that are meaningful to you. Stretch beyond the usual ‘going out to dinner’ celebration and find ways to celebrate that acknowledge your particular victories.
Armed with your list, when you hit a milestone, small or large, you’ll be ready to party on! Celebrate like you mean it – like you are truly acknowledging your efforts. Notice the impact on your creative vitality.
How do you celebrate? Share your ideas in a comment below.