Talk Back: How do you celebrate writing milestones?

March 18, 2013

On my Kindle: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!

What is writing success worth celebrating to you? And how do you celebrate those milestones?

I just finished my manuscript this week-end. By that I mean I finished the whole 90,000 words beast – 5 drafts and all and sent it to printing for a submission.
This took me way too long. All I wanted to do is prove to myself that I could finish something again (and by that I mean something an agent or editor could read) and I am now beside myself with happiness to see that I did it.

It took my a while and a lot of ups and down in the writing business to define writing success for myself. And now that I learned to totally separate the writing itself from the business side of it, I am in a much happier writing place.

So for me success is completion of a full manuscript ready to submit. And I did it. But I don’t know how to celebrate. All I can think of right now is grab a notebook and write another novel right away because it’s so much fun.

I heard of people going out for dinner, drinks, manicures. Having a party, doing something completely different for a while…

What about you?
What do you consider milestones? And how do you actually celebrate?

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox


An Update from Candi

July 3, 2012

Dear friends!

I can’t tell you all how much I’ve missed you all and this blog.

A blog still thankfully ‘on the air’ thanks to Jenn, Stacey, and Marie-Claude.

So much has happened that I won’t bore you with details, neither will I promise to be regular on the scene for a few more months, but I wanted to let you all know that life CAN and WILL get in the way of writing, blogs, social networks, and unfortunately, our muses.

All I can say is hang in there. All trials eventually end or even out enough for us to find the time to do what we must as writers. And that right. YOU, and you, and you, know what I’m talking about.

Writing! It’s a need. An addiction. A catharsis. A MUST!

I’ve had some hardships hit in the past two years that took my feet out from underneath me, along with the ‘pen’ out of my hand. I barely had time to breathe, let alone write. But we have to keep pushing for that time. I can do it. YOU can do it!

Make a plan and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t meet every goal. Think small and revel in the smallest achievements.

Here’s mine:

1. Write at least 30 mins every day.

2. Research – New story, agents, editors, contests – when I have a minute or two.


4. Don’t beat myself up

Sounds simple, but we all know it isn’t.

I plan to start Agent Shop again this fall. I think August will be my ‘back in the saddle’ date.

Again, I miss you all and hope everyone has HUGE news to share when I return for real.

Until then, happy writing and best in your real world lives!


Even Grandma’s perfect sauce needs to simmer!

April 11, 2010


You have the recipe.

You have all the ingredients.

You have the skills to put together a brilliant, palatable concoction that is sure to delight the masses.

You blend, sift, stir, and shape until each ingredient mixes together perfectly and your senses are alive with what you’ve created.

Surely it can’t get any better…


Ever watched your Grandmother work over a stew or spaghetti sauce ALL DAY LONG. Jeez, it’d be sooooo much easier just to pop open a jar of Ragu. Instant dinner!

But compare the two.

Grandma’s sauce melts your taste buds. The perfect balance of tang and spice. The perfect consistency, with just enough texture to make it fulfilling. There’s a mixture of herbs and that delight and tease the senses both in aroma and the beautiful contrast of the sauce over noodles.


Ragu looks thin, limp, and bland over the noodles and the taste, well, let’s just say in a pinch it’ll do, but nothing we’d choose at a restaurant were we laying out our hard-earned cash for a promise of delight.

*Guess what?*

We could all learn a lesson from Grandma’s sauce, or rather from Grandma’s knowledge, that a masterpiece does not happen by recipe alone.

It has to simmer.

In the writing world, where we’re constantly driving one another to meet goals, write everyday, try new genres, try prompts, and workshops and critique groups… well, you get the point. In that world of write, write, write, edit, edit, edit, there’s a place to take a break as well.


As soon as you thump out THE END. Okay, so that might not be the exact time. But you’ll know it. Usually around the end of the first edit, as much as you love your baby, you need to take a break from it. You’ve written it, edited (in your own formula) and now it’s time to set it aside.

Don’t stop writing, certainly not. But set THAT manuscript aside and get back to writing. Time to do one of the numerous things we as writers do to keep the pen/keys moving.

While you play with new ideas, and go to conferences and meetings, while you crit someones work, or start a new WIP, whatever it is you find to fill the empty time, leave that manuscript alone. Two weeks – great. Three weeks – even better. Don’t let it simmer until it burns, just long enough to take a taste and see what spice needs to be added.

You’ll be amazed at what you created when you go back to it. Probably as much forehead slapping moments as sighs of satisfaction, but that’s the idea. Ever let a book sit in a folder/box for three months? It catches your eye, and you can’t resist taking a peek. You open it and start to read. Five, ten, thirty pages in, you’re either saying “wow, I forgot this was so good”, or “goodness what was I thinking”.

Same thing will apply to that manuscript you set aside. When you go back, you’ll be able to see it and all its issues/miracles with new eyes. Of course, you should leave the miracles you penned and clean up the stuff you knew better than to write in the first place.

Like Grandma’s sauce, your senses are on overload from the creation of the sauce.

Once it simmers, you can easily see what’s missing.

Okay, now I’m hungry!

Do you let your work simmer between edits?