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Celebrating the Increments

Wooden steps leading to a trail in Oregon

I pressed the little blue “SEND” rectangle on the email today and a wave of celebration washed over me – celebration rather than trepidation. There is enough time for that… or maybe there is no time for that.

After hour upon hour upon hour of editing that followed the copyediting, it was finally the moment to send my book manuscript off for formatting. Hours of tunnel vision, of scrutinizing, of finding different mistakes or ill-fitting words though I was certain I had caught everything in the previous read. “How could I not have caught that?” I asked myself multiple times.

Change…print…read…change…print…read until the changes were getting whittled down to fewer and fewer.

Finally, taking time to read the whole book out loud for flow – and too often stumbling over lack of flow of words or phrases… change again… until it was DONE. I was done with it. The time came to part with this iteration, certain there is at least one more detail I did not catch.

It is a first book. It is a book written from my soul. It is practice for the next and the next. I said goodbye to any notion that it will be absolutely perfect even though I would love to think it is, in all ways. The truth is that no book I have read has been perfect in the writing, much less the hoped for accolades. Even if it is in the eyes of some, it is bound not to be in the eyes of others.

The celebration of this piece is what is filling me up today. It is a joyful letting go to something more and the next step and undoubtedly to some element of surprise.

It would be so easy to put off the sense of accomplishment until the final product. Or sitting in recognition of my muse, right now, right here, right where the book is today. I am celebrating its journey to this point…from a completely blank page to “SEND.”

We are a culture of final products being what are honored and lauded – the final look, the final notes, the final grade, the final word, the final design and on and on and on – rather than every step to the final product – the practice, the search for words, the consideration of color, the beauty of the natural “before” look, the studying.

When babies crawl we celebrate. When they tip over multiple times on the way to walking and moving an inch holding on to furniture we celebrate. When children go two feet without training wheels and fall down we celebrate. When a nonsense sound begins to take the shape of a word we celebrate. When the semblance of a letter is formed with a pencil a genius is being born.

Somehow, when we watch young children, we learn so many things. In this case it is a compelling model for how life is richest when celebrated an increment at a time. The further along the continuum the more we shift to forgetting or ignoring or not being happy with the process and only train our eyes, ears and praise for the final product.

Most of my days, in all ways, are lived in the world of increments and I am trying to remind myself mightily that that is exactly where most of life is lived – in process. Today it was the increment of my book on its way to the next step and I am relishing all I have learned since the writing began. I keep falling in love with the way my mind works and also how allowing it to go quiet for a while gave the book a bit of an incubation or marinating time, ultimately creating new content.

It is all mine, whatever the end product and readership and it has called me to an immersion process that is rare in my world of experience. Most often my mind and I are scurrying here, there and everywhere, which I love, too. But this – the handing off – is rather like having run part of the race and now I hand the baton to the next part of the process. Not knowing, having no idea, really, about the future of the book is irrelevant. Today. This moment. Strike up the band!

So it is with virtually everything in my life. One moment and one inch and one word and one feeling and one bite and one mile and one note and one tear and one cheer and one risk and one reflection and one bit of courage at a time. Surprises totally catch me off guard and create changes in direction and understanding and design. I am all of a sudden in process in a new way, the original idea slowly disappearing. New visions will come into focus increment by increment with the beauty of time, trust, one step that leads to another, and opening rather than closing.

I am choosing to live in celebration of the increments; even the ones I wish would let me careen through them or completely bypass them…a magical being carrying me through to something I can’t yet see. Ultimately, however, all are crafting who I am, day by day and piece by piece…thank heavens with time for intentional changes just like in my writing.



  1. Fran on December 3, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you for this article and congrats on sending your manuscript off.

    • Dawn Sully Pile on December 9, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      You are welcome…and I appreciate the support on the writing.

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