I Forgot to Eat a Doughnut

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Photo by The Searcher via Creative Commons on Flickr.

Lara Swanson wrote a great post about her process for creating a compelling presentation. Along with asking people for feedback and practicing her talk multiple times, she included a step at the end of the process: eating a doughnut.

Swanson writes:

After the presentation’s done, I’ve checked the data, answered questions, and thanked people, I’ll go find a donut. I’m not really kidding. Eating a donut is an integral part of my career celebration process. Years ago, I found that whenever something awesome happened in my career […] I wouldn’t take the time to celebrate the achievement. I’m an achiever by nature, the kind who feels like every day starts at zero. Not deliberately marking these moments left me feeling like I wasn’t actually accomplishing anything.

This resonated with me big-time. I’m also an achiever. But I tend to gloss over my successes, not so much in a self-deprecating way, but in the interest of surging (or blundering) on to what’s next.

Case in point: I recently completed a first draft of my first feature-length screenplay. This is huge!

But I haven’t told that many people about it, let alone symbolized the milestone with a delicious snack.

It’s impossible for me to think about my screenplay as an achievement, because I immediately see all the upcoming steps in the process: the revising. The re-revising. The ego-at-the-door-checking.

There’s a Great Wall-length road between where I am now, and having this thing production-ready. (Not to mention what filming itself would entail.)

But. I completed a first draft. It’s done. And it would have been easy to walk away in the middle–but I held true to Chuck Wendig’s oath:

I am the commander of these words.

I am the king of this story.

I am the god of this place.

I am a writer, and I will finish the shit that I started.

Amen.

Since I read those words I’ve made a commitment to at least complete Draft One of every writing project. Meaning that every scene is (mostly) in place, the plot (kinda) makes sense, my characters (overall) know who they are and what they want.

So how many more drafts are to come?

Unknown. I could drop this hot potato right now.

But instead of bailing, I will pause.

And savor the doughnut–or, in my case, the vegan chocolate-butterscotch pudding–of victory.

Do you have an equivalent of “eating the doughnut” when you hit a milestone?

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