Last week, I went to a publishing party. Now, I’ve been to a lot of book launch parties, publishing parties, mixers, and whatnot. The authors are always nervous and excited, and often the readings give you a bit of insight into the author’s struggle to capture meaning on the page. But I have never been to an event that so perfectly reflected the pure joy of creation, the absolute pride of achievement that was this event.
Did I mention that the publishing party was for my daughter’s class? Actually, it was for the entire first grade. Every single child had created at least one book—an illustrated story with a beginning, middle, and end—but many had more. Zara had many, most of which were hilarious nonfiction first-person accounts of our fall trip to Disney World. (At the time, I thought that the trip was expensive. I see now that it was money well spent.) The children squirmed in their seats as proud parents streamed in to look at their creation. Zara read to me from her stories, then insisted that I go and listen to books by her friends. My daughter’s teacher explained that, in previous years, the teachers had typed up the stories and cleaned up the grammar and spelling. But I loved the awkward, inventive turns of phrase and creative spelling. Zara’s stories really reflected her struggle to write, the challenge of creation. I loved the fact that it wasn’t perfect. The imperfections made it wonderful.
Now, of course, professional writers are held to a different standard. I can’t really get away with spelling mermaid “mremad,” as my daughter did. Then again, I need to remember that we all struggle in different ways. It’s important to take pride in your achievements, no matter where you are in your quest to tell your story. Every step along the writing journey brings us closer to what we hope to achieve. And, as it is a journey without an end, we must take joy in the travel. What I’m saying is that you deserve a publishing party. You deserve it right now. Celebrate the struggle.