It seems that through our lives we are always celebrating our firsts. The celebrations start when we are babies and we crawl for the first time. Our parents go nuts. First word, first birthday, first day at school . . . They all invoke some happy, if not other emotional, reaction. Then there is the first time driving a car or going on the first date, not so much celebrating as worry, probably, but still the accomplishment is recognized.
As authors, we need to do the same thing. First ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages might not seem like big deals, but they are. For without that start, there would not be the possibility of a completed draft. First drafts are something to be saluted and then ripped apart and refined.
The first novel, article, blog post, or other piece of written work is a big accomplishment that can’t be overlooked. Now, most of the world isn’t going to care, because, as with anything, humans are more comfortable with something that is familiar to them. Still, there needs to be a beginning. For without a first, how can there be a second, third, or even more? Even before those are written, savor the moment of the first completed work and remember the feelings behind it.
A lot of people talk about writing a book, but not many actually do. Or if they do, they don’t continue after the first, because it’s so hard to get that one recognized and in front of people. They feel like a failure because it seems like they can’t and they wonder why waste the effort to even try again when the first went nowhere.
Thing is, no one knows all of the influences they have on other people. Yes, maybe there are no sales or any sort of recognition that can be seen. However, there has been an impact. Everything we do affects our reality and that of those around us, no matter the distance. I’m not going to get into all the physiological, meta-physical, philosophical, or whatever other word that might apply to what happens when we do something because it’s been covered before by other people. It’s the fact that we did something that matters. Think about a stone is tossed in a still body of water and the rings that go out from the point of that first splash. All actions cause a ripple effect like that.
Someone once told me about meeting a new co-worker. This co-worker was young enough to have been a classmate of mine in school. Now, in school we both attended, I was teased a lot because I was chunky, had thick glasses, and was always the first to raise my hand and answer the teacher’s questions. In other words, I was one of the nerds who the popular kids treated bad so they could look good. The co-worker remembered all of this and how I handled myself in the situation. They said that the grace and dignity that I showed influenced how they handled themselves in their life.
That encounter exemplifies that what is done is just as important as the action of doing.
In the case of promoting book or other piece of written work, it’s all about building a community around the project, so that people want to know more about the author and invest time and interest in their next endeavor. Even in community building, there are firsts. For example, writing the first guest blog posting where someone associates a book title with an author. That happened to me yesterday. The post demonstrated my knowledge, experience, and ability to write, just like the ones that I do here. The difference was I was doing it on someone else’s blog. The wonderful introduction that mentioned my book and acknowledged my expertise endorsed and validated my existence as a writer. The sharing of links to my virtual presence was an added bonus. Seeing my book title associated with my name on that post made me pause. It was yet another reminder that I had realized a lifelong dream.
Firsts, like any accomplishment, are special. They won’t always trigger some big, fancy party, but they still need a moment of recognition and reflection. If only to keep us going until the next goal is reached.