celebrating our successes

As a freelance writer and author, I pretty much work in isolation, as do many freelance creators. It can sometimes be hard to keep our spirits up and forge forward against unknown odds or outcomes. I’m sure that’s particularly true for those new to the business, but it even affects us old-timers from time-to-time. (I’ve been freelancing since 1993.) Last month, during Blog Jog Day, I won a year’s membership to the Working Writers Club, a marvellously motivated group of writers under the auspice of Suzanne Lieurance, a coach for writers who want to make a successful career of their writing. A very valuable tool I learned from Suzanne right out of the gate was to create a “success journal” in which we are to record our progression toward our goals. I took most of the summer off to pursue recreational goals, so I introduced the success journal to my desktop this week and recorded the highs from the first 2 weeks of this month.

I admit to being wowed! As I am a Gemini, and value the personal part of my life equally to any professional goals I  may set and achieve, my success journal will include the achievement of goals I may set in Toastmasters and other volunteer/personal activities as well as monumental moments on the home front. My first entry celebrated the successful organizing of a birthday dinner for my husband’s 80th birthday. (Yes, he is quite a bit my senior.) He didn’t want a party or anything big. I knew I had to have the event in a venue where the audio would be favourable to quiet conversation and the ambiance was inviting. I was very pleased with the evening a group of us shared at the Maple Tree Restaurant in Selkirk, Manitoba and Reg was thrilled with the presence of close friends, family and neighbours who joined us for the celebration. On September 7th, I flew to Toronto for business and pleasure. The trip began with a 2-day retreat of writer gal pals, during which we time we ate, drank and shared much, invigorating me for the 2 days of board meetings which were to follow. I also met with a fellow travel writer whose upcoming book will be most complementary to mine. We shared ideas and hope to hold some joint events to promote our books. The Toronto trip was a tremendous success on all counts. The day following my return, I had to drive to Beausejour, Manitoba, where I was hired to provide a 2-hour presentation based on my book, “Before You Say Yes … A Guide to the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards.” The group to whom I was presenting is the Eastman Senior Citizens Council, comprised of the executives of 12 seniors groups from throughout Manitoba’s Eastman Region. The presentation was a success and I was thanked by the organizers for helping their members refocus and better face the challenges they have been experiencing with respect to member recruitment. And on Friday, September 16th, I was invited to be a guest on the “Your Life Unlimited” show on CJOB ’68 radio hosted by Stephanie Staples, a fellow Toastmaster. Stephanie’s show focuses on the positive things in life and feeding your passions. It was a pleasure for me to speak to her about my passions for volunteerism, writing and chocolate (my 3 areas of expertise.)

So that’s the first 2 weeks of entries in my Success Journal. Do you have a success journal?  Has it helped you keep focused and moving forward toward the achievement of your goals? If you don’t have a success journal, how have you been documenting/recording your successes? Please share your ideas with our great community right here in the tribe. I ‘d love to hear about them, and wish you more successes and smiles.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

33 Responses

  1. Coretta says:

    I agree wholeheartedly to acknowledging your successes Doreen. I think the success journal is a wonderful idea. I believe if we stopped to look closely and if we take the time to acknowledge our disappointments and take the time to look for the lesson in it…we can count that as a success too.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for the comment, Coretta. You’re right. There is a lesson in everything we do and experience. Sometimes it’s a bit hard to swallow, but valuable nonetheless.

  2. Doreen,

    You are my idol. Someday, I hope to be as proficient and professional as your in my writing.
    Stan Taylor recently posted…Pigeons in FlightMy Profile

  3. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for joining the discussion, Jeanette.

    As I have no children, I'm not thinking about posterity.

    But writing down my achievements, large and small, helps keep me motivated and moving forward mentally when the results don't come to fruition as quickly as I might like.

  4. Jeannette Paladino says:

    This is such a good idea. Sometimes we dwell too much on our failures. Instead, we should be celebrating our successes and recording them for posterity!

  5. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks so much, Sarah. And thanks for dropping into the blog. I hope we'll see you again soon. New post will be up in the next day or two.

  6. Sarah Allen says:

    Such a great idea! Very inspiring post.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  7. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for dropping into the blog, Sherryl.

    Yes, it seems to be an entirely different process to take pen in hand and actually write our goals or accomplishments down in a journal or on a nice piece of paper. It seems much more real and more personal.

    In another writing group I'm in, the facilitator has us making an "I am Fabulous" page in which we list our accomplishments. It was much easier to do this in my Success Journal than just clicking away on the screen.

    We really do need to stop every once in awhile and take stock of what we've accomplished. Cheers!

  8. Sherryl Perry says:

    Hi Doreen,
    Keeping a success journal is a wonderful idea. Just looking at the picture of your journal had a calming affect on me. There's something about putting pen to paper that can be very soothing. Sometimes, it's a good idea to step away from the computer, the desk…. the entire "office" environment and just write. Thanks for sharing.

  9. wizardofwords says:

    Hi Alexis. Thanks for dropping into the blog.

    Yes, I think having our achievements recorded in one place is a good thing. Otherwise, they get lost in amongst all our other thoughts. And as Dawn said, sometimes we need a quick look at our accomplishments in order to help us move forward. Hope to see you here again soon.

  10. Alexis says:

    Great post. I love the idea of a success journal. I do this is a non-official way with a general journal that I keep up with every morning. Many times I will write down what I'm really proud of myself for and I find that it helps to keep me in a positive mindset about myself, what I'm doing, and where I'm going. But putting it in one separate journal sounds like an excellent idea to tally up all my success in one place and really make my day when I read it. 🙂

  11. wizardofwords says:

    Hi Dawn:
    Thanks for joining us here on the blog.

    Yes, I, too, have an "Accolades" binder. Two actually. One is for my current book, and contains copies of all the articles and reviews that have come out about the book. And then I have a folder, just like your album, that contains cards of thanks (from clients and associates), annual reports that I'm featured in, awards, etc. You're right. Having those on hand does tend to cheer one up when the clouds get too dark (whether internally or in the real world.)

    Wishing you cheers and lots of blue skies,

  12. Dawn Boshcoff BOSHnewmedia Communications says:

    I'm glad you've started a success journal. It's a great idea! Here's another… I had a good friend share her success album about 20 years ago, which inspired me to do the same. Rather than a journal, I had collected card of thanks, award certificates, letters of appreciation and warm fuzzies in an album. Ideal for those "down days", the album is a reminder that I've made a difference in the lives of others. I'm inspired and motivated by it and the "down days" are short lived. A good reminder as to my own definition of success! Smiles, dbosh

  13. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for dropping in to the blog, Tor. Welcome aboard! Yes, I hadn't heard of a success journal before joining the Working Writers Club either. But thanks to Suzanne Lieurance for introducing me to the idea and to reminding us that we should flip thru the journal whenever we need encouragement. Thanks, Suzanne!

  14. Suzanne Lieurance says:

    Hey, Doreen,

    I should also mention that on days when nothing seems to go right, a flip back through my Success Journal helps me realize that a bad day is just that – a bad DAY, not a bad career, life, etc. In fact, sometimes just looking through my journal can turn a not-so-good day around.

    Here's to many more successes – large and small!

  15. Tor Constantino says:

    Very interesting, I've heard from a few of my friends who've benefit greatly from a success journal. It's not a practice that I've personally engaged with, but I may start based on this discussion. Thanks for the insight!

  16. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for your comment, Esther. Yes, I think it's really important to take note of our successes, big and small, and also, as Gwen says, to take note of our accomplishments each week. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in looking too far down the road that we miss the small triumphs along the way. Good luck with your success journal, and keep us posted!

  17. Satinka says:

    Hi wizardofwords: I absolutely L-O-V-E the idea of a success journal! I mean, I journal about absolutely everything, but I sometimes don't credit myself for MY SUCCESSES. Thanks for posting this blog! Say hi to our favorite #SeniorDelinquent. Ooops, wrong app! *blush* 😉

  18. wizardofwords says:

    Hi Bassam: Yes, there's something special about flipping thru a beautiful paper journal. I should have posted a pic of mine in the post. It's gorgeous, so I've now added 2 pics to show the inside and out. Good luck with yours, and thanks for joining us here on the blog.

  19. Bassam Tarazi says:

    A Success Journal is awesome! I don't use one but I think I might. Right now, I utilize http://www.idonethis.com to keep track of my successes but I think I'd like have the physical journal by my side so I could flip through it. Thanks!

  20. wizardofwords says:

    Right on, Gwen! Thanks for the amazing comment.

    I've always found you to be so positive and confident (via your online presence – we've never met) and can see that your approach to life has not only contributed to the success of others, but to your own success. Congrats in being someone who embraces life and encourages others at every opportunity.

    P.S. I hope that we'll soon have the opportunity to meet. The positive vibes just ooze thru the airwaves. I can imagine what they're like in person!

  21. gwenmccauley says:

    Exploring success is a key component of most of my coaching. Interestingly I find that the clients who struggle the most in life have very little connection to their successes. So at some point I recommend to everyone that they either create an "Accomplishments Journal" or that they close the week by noting in their calendar the top 3 things they've accomplished that week.

    Those who actually take up the habit find that it makes a huge difference in their life. They notice they become less dependent on other people's opinion of them, they have a greater sense of making a difference in the world, and they feel more like they're making 'progress' in life and work.

    Good for you for starting your success journal. I encourage to expand it beyond "things" you've done but to include moments when you notice that you've changed or overcome some internal/emotional barrier. Here's to success . . .

  22. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks, Marg. Always great to hear from you.

  23. Margaret Ullrich says:

    Hi, Doreen,

    What a great idea! It's so easy to dwell on our mistakes. Great idea to document when things go right. Successes are so easily forgotten.

    And congratulation, Reg!!

    Successes and smiles to your both 🙂

  24. wizardofwords says:

    I really apologize to everyone who has had difficulty posting a comment on the blog. It seems to have happened to at least 6 people that I am aware of this time around. I have reported the problem to Google (they operate Blogger) and hope that we will not have this same problem again.

    In the interim, Margaret, a regular reader of the blog has asked me to post her comments:

    Margaret Anne Fehr said:
    "I realize I've been doing a variation on the success journal on and off over the years. I remember starting one that was a logging of random compliments from people. It wasn't meant to be a vanity collection by any means, rather a record of unexpected comments that people had made that touched me in a way that surprised me or brought something to my attention that I hadn't considered or simply brushed aside with an internal comment like 'anyone can do that' kind of response. So there is value in capturing these fleeting things and committing them to paper so they can't fly away!"

    Thanks so much for your comment, Margaret, and for sharing your thoughts on the success journal idea.


  25. wizardofwords says:

    Hi Bev: Thanks for joining the conversation.

    I'm assuming you mean 25 years of MARRIAGE! Congrats on that! And to Allen as well.

    Best always,

  26. Bev Doern says:

    Excellent idea – love the ripple effect as it spreads out from you inspiring others to celebrate their successes! I just found a pretty journal in my tickle trunk that will be perfect for it!

    BTW – my first entry will be celebrating 25 years of message (as of 3:23 this afternoon!)

  27. wizardofwords says:

    Right on! I did the same. Got myself a beautiful blank journal that will soon will be filled with the glories of my successes — large and small. Good luck with yours.

  28. Sporadically Yours says:


    You just gave me an excuse to go to Books A Million tomorrow. The store is closing here and everything is marked down. I'll go get myself a pretty journal especially for "successes".

  29. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks to Suzanne and Stephanie for starting off the discussion.

    Yes, Suzanne, I read your "Morning Nudge" comment again after I posted on the blog and realize that the Success Journal should be used to record all moments and achievements that make us smile and help us be happy.

    And yes, Stephanie, it really IS important to focus on both the large and the small successes. the small ones keep us motivated and driven to achieve the larger ones. Wishing you much happiness and great achievements.

  30. Stephanie Staples says:

    Love, love, love the success journal idea. I have been looking for another idea for my upcoming 'happiness project' and this will fit the bill perfectly.

    I tend to be rather hard on myself and I am sure that this will help me focus on both small and big successes. I'll keep you posted!

    And… Doreen you did a great job on the radio, too. 🙂

  31. Suzanne Lieurance says:

    Hi, Doreen,

    I'm so glad to see you've started a Success Journal. I've been using such a journal for years. And I don't use it only to record my successes, I also use it to generate questions about certain challenges or roadblocks I might face from time to time as I work to become more and more successful.

    Sounds like you've had some wonderful things to record in your Success Journal! Congratulations and happy writing!

    Suzanne Lieurance
    The Working Writer's Coach

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