Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rewards for Meeting Deadlines

A very wise woman (Susan May Warren) once told me that we should give ourselves, and our families, rewards for meeting deadlines and goals.

Susie and I spoke at the Storycrafter's Retreat in Otsego, MN a few weeks ago about pursuing the writing career when we have young children. It's not an easy task to undertake, but I believe it's possible and there are many benefits, not only for me, but also for my children. One of those benefits is having my children "watch" me reach for a dream and teaching them that they can reach for whatever dream God places on their hearts, too.

Susie gave me some great advice. She told me that as I reach a new deadline or milestone, which means that I've worked hard and my family has had to make some sacrifices, we all need to take some time and celebrate with a reward. It might be as small as telling my children: "Let Mommy write for one more hour, uninterrupted, then we'll go outside and play in the leaves," or it might be as big as: "Mommy just signed her first contract, let's go to Disney World!" (which Susie did when she signed her first book deal!) or, it could be somewhere in between. :)

Last Thursday I hit a big milestone in my pursuit of publication and it was time to celebrate! I gave myself one month to make changes and polish up my manuscript before I submitted it to the two publishing houses that requested it at ACFW, so I spent a lot of time writing, which meant my hubby made quite a few meals and my children were constantly reminded to bring their problems to Daddy. But, I told them that if they cooperated we would do something fun after I hit my deadline.

What did they want to do? Go to the new Chuck E. Cheese's in the next town over! So on Monday that's exactly what we did. It was so much fun celebrating this milestone with my children - and even more fun knowing my dream has become a family pursuit.

I took back up! My niece and my cousin came to help

What about you? Have you celebrated the deadlines and milestones you've achieved? If you're published, what did you do to celebrate when you signed the contract? And, if you're not published, what would you like to do?


  1. Congratulations on meeting your deadline, Gabrielle! Your celebration looks like it was lotsa fun. I hope your hard work brings about some good news. I'm eager to happy dance with you.

  2. That's great, Gabe. You should be celebrating! I hope you do something special for yourself, too. (even if it's a french silk pie blizzard at dq with extra fudge and chocolate cone dip...that's what I'd do :) )

    I'm reading a book right now on family ministry. It talks about celebrating faith milestones for each member of your family - as a family. I love that idea. We had a huge milestone with one of our kids a few months back...we're planning a celebration right now. It will be a bit late, but nonetheless special.


    PS I have thoroughly enjoyed being on this journey with you - by reading your book (which, I have a very strong feeling, will be wanted for publishing by both companies), by reading your blogs, updates, and by praying for you and your gift!

  3. Brava for meeting your goals -- and even more applause for celebrating them with your family!!

  4. Good for you for including your family in your celebration!! Mike and I like to go out to dinner to celebrate milestones. :) And get ice cream, of course. Doesn't matter if it's winter. OUR DQ stays open year round. ;)

  5. Oh, love those happy faces in the pics and all that fun:) You're a beautiful example of how this can all be done with grace and a servant's heart.

    I've done different things when reaching a deadline. Mostly I take a trip, usually involving research for another book. But that's a real reward for me. Or I'll have my children pick out one thing to buy that they've really been dreaming about having and we get that. Nothing big but always memorable.
    We're always so thankful when the Lord makes anything happen.

    HUGE congrats on this big milestone, Gabrielle! I can't wait to see what happens next:)

  6. Keli - thank you! Celebrating with my children was so much fun - and the girls knew why we were doing it, which made it even better. The boys were just along for the ride! :) I would love to happy dance with you, too, Keli!

    Lindsay L. - If I was going to celebrate with a DQ (which I've been known to do!), it would be a cookie dough blizzard with brownie chunks! I love the idea of celebrating all kinds of milestones - and faith milestones are even more important than publication milestones. Have fun celebrating - I can't wait to hear about it! Also, thank you for the confidence in my book! I was just thinking yesterday about how you were the very first person to read it from front to back. :) If it's published, you'll be one of the very first people to get a copy. :)

    Beth - thank you! I had so much fun with Susie at Storycrafter's, but one of the best things I walked away with is a better scense of how to do this well, while raising small souls. Just the other day I was frustrated about something and I said carelessly to my husband: "Is it worth it? Should I keep pursuing this dream to write?" My oldest daughter's head snapped up and she said: "Don't say THAT, Mom!" In that moment I knew that this meant as much to her as it does to me - and that is priceless.

    Lindsay H. - ha, ha! Our DQ is already closed for the year, but there are at least six or seven open in a thirty mile radius, so it won't be hard to find one! :) I also like to celebrate with ice cream (and I'm seeing a common thread among my Lindsay friends). :)

    Laura - yes, a research trip would be a wonderful reward! I did the same thing, but on a smaller level. Last Saturday I spent the entire day at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul reading through an old journal from 1862-1864 and browsing an exhibit set in 1862. It was heavenly - and I have to go back because I was only able to read the first half of the journal. It's research for my next story, and it was a GEM! Thank you for your encouraging words - I can't wait to see what happens next, either. It may be more waiting, or going back to the drawing board, but I know God has His hand in it, and that's exactly where I want to be - where He is working. I'm thinking about your upcoming trip with Liz!! Now that's a reward of a different level! :)

  7. Fun!! I l love Chuck E. Cheese's...and skeeball, as you know. :) Love that you got to celebrate with your family. And I'm continuing to think of and pray about those manuscripts as they're reviewed by editors.

    Hey, when Linds and I come up next summer, we should totally go to Chuck E. Cheese's. :)

  8. Can't wait to hear the results from your submissions! And I'm afraid I tend to procrastinate celebrating things. I've signed with two agents, and I think the most I did was yell "YES!" in the car when I was by myself. My hubby probably brought me coffee or sparkling cider at the time. But I keep putting it off till I have a book in print. At that time, I plan to go off-the-hook and...get a pedicure or something. Grin.

  9. Melissa - I'd love to play skeeball with you! I can't wait for you guys to come to Minnesota!! It will be so much fun. :)

    Heather - there are so many ups and downs on this journey, I'm trying to make a bigger deal of the ups! My "yell 'YES!' in the car" moment came just minutes after I sat in my first pitch session at ACFW and was asked for the whole manuscript. It's good to have those moments to ourselves, too. :)

  10. Yay for reaching your goals. Always so important to celebrate and spend time with the ones who live with "our" dreams too.

    Great post.

  11. Loree - they definitely live with my dream - and they get just as excited as I do when I reach a milestone - or at least the older ones. :)

  12. Congratulations on meeting your deadline! Pursuing a career in writing can be tough but the best way is to work around my busy life. Finding the equal balance between things works out good for me.

    Glad that you had fun at Chuck E. Cheeses! Have a great weekend, Gabrielle! :)

  13. How precious,Gabrielle! Those!
    Congratulations! Now to celebrate the release soon,right!? *Grin*

    Thanks for sharing. :-)


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