Today I saw someone post congratulations to themselves for writing 553 words on their manuscript. And while I certainly applaud someone for writing, I question the merit of getting excited about such a tiny number. Especially relative to the number of words a book requires.
A while back, I also saw a writer get excited about having his work posted on a website for free. Again, that’s nice if you’ve never had your work distributed before, but it’s a baby step at best.
Accomplishments are great. If you haven’t written before, those 553 words might seem miraculous. But there’s danger in getting too enthusiastic about minor achievements because they dim the significance of major ones. If you think you’ve mastered the world by giving your work away, you will lose track of the ultimate prize: getting paid.
Perspective is important. What you do is always relative to your goals. If you’re writing a book, less than six hundred words is a pittance and not worth celebrating. If you want to become the next JK Rowling, that freebie short story won’t cut it. And there’s the danger that you’ll blunt your edge by being overjoyed too soon.
It’s a requirement in this business that you remain hungry. Even if you’re “making it,” you have to stay hungry. Anything else means relaxing to the point where the actual accomplishments stop coming. And then what? If you’re not moving forward, your effort was for nothing.