Celebrating Others’ Success

Celebrating our success is a must. A little reward for a job well done is vital to keep motivated (and happy and healthy) in this difficult writing business. It doesn’t have to be much—just enough of a kickback to make it worthwhile.

It’s one thing to celebrate our personal achievement. It’s a whole other level to get satisfaction from celebrating others’ success. And it’s something we, as a collective writer community, should do more of. Celebrate others’ success.

What brought-on this post is Sue Coletta’s most recent success. Sue was the top-selling author at her publishing house in September. I can think of no other person who is as dedicated to their craft as Sue. And it paid off. Well done, Sue!

Recognizing success doesn’t have to be in the writing world. My friend just celebrated a blue ribbon at the fall fair won by her huge butternut squash. It weighed-in at 37.25 lbs. Sure, it’s a long way off the world record of 65.5 lbs., but it’s an impressive big gourd. Totally organic, to boot. It was grown through her neighbor’s organically-fed hens’ manure.

Our 34-year-old daughter’s success is impressive, as well. Emily recently packed up and moved to Ecuador where she’ll continue her online writing business as a digital nomad. So, congrats on your courage and adventuresome spirit, Em. OPD’s proud of you, and I celebrate your successful move! (BTW—OPD stands for Over Protective Dad which she nicknamed me in her teens.)

No. it isn’t only writing, moving, or squash growing success to celebrate. On a large scale, I celebrate NASA for bulls-eyeing an asteroid some zillion miles away. I celebrate the Ukrainian people’s resolve to repel an invader. And I celebrate Aaron Judge for hitting 62 homers this season.

On a smaller scale, I celebrate someone else’s success. That was the couple in my home town who stood up to City Hall and won the court-approved right to keep a noisy rooster in their backyard coop. That rooster services the organically-fed hens in my friend’s neighbor’s yard whose poop helped her score the blue ribbon.

What about you Kill Zoners? Tell us how you’ve celebrated others’ success.

57 thoughts on “Celebrating Others’ Success

  1. A fellow engineer, Derek Gable, was given an award in 2020 by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes “for his lifetime of invention and entrepreneurship.” Derek is a former member of Mattel’s invention development team and gives talks to young people encouraging them to become inventors and engineers. I was one of eight family members and friends who attended the presentation ceremony, along with the city council, mayor, and many other city employees and members of the community.

    • Nice story, JGA. Thinking of Mattel’s invention department – can you imagine how many things they came up with that weren’t a success? Maybe ahead of their time?

      • Yes, Garry, the process they use(d) cranks out ideas by the dozen. Only a few ended up on the shelves of that toy outlet that no longer exists. Mattel’s “skunk works” was an independent department. A few years back, they put it under another arm of the company. (Sales?) Mattel has not done well, since.

  2. You raise a very important topic, Garry. Thank you.

    CONGRATULATIONS, SUE!!! That is fantastic.

    What I did to celebrate someone else’s success…I don’t want to go into all of the specifics, but I have a client/friend, a New Orleans musician, who wound up in Houston in the aftermath of Katrina. He liked Houston just fine but made the gutsy move of relocating to Charlotte, where he bought a brand new home that was much nicer than where he had been living in NOLA. He sent me and his relatives fifty or so photos of the street, the house, the neighborhood, etc. I called and emailed him several times, congratulating him and his wife on their accomplishment and fortitude.

    He called me, crying, a week later. He was truly upset and it took him a few minutes to articulate why. Not one of his relatives congratulated him. To a person they accused him of being “uppity,” forgetting who and what he was, and acting like he was better than everyone else. I had two words of advice for him: “Fuck them.” He started laughing, told him wife what I said, and they both started laughing. It didn’t resolve the issue, but it made him feel better.

    I helped him materially, but what REALLY was important was that I congratulated him and encouraged him to do more. You gotta do what you can.

    Thanks again, Garry. And SUE, ONCE AGAIN, CONGRATULATIONS! Have a great weekend.

    • Yep, Joe, I would have said exactly those words. What’s wrong with people who can’t set their pitiful selves apart from others’ successes? Encouragement is so simple to give and gives so much to others. Thanks so much for sharing this story and thanks for saying it the way it’s meant to be said and not “F@#$ them”.

  3. You are too sweet, Garry! Thank you. <3 This post made me all teary eyed. I'm a big believer in celebrating others. Like you, my friend, with your move into the film industry. So proud of you!

    And congrats to Emily. Wow, that's a frightening move for a parent. Are you and Rita okay?

    • I am sweet, Sue. Very, very sweet. I just wish I wasn’t as good looking. 😉

      I’m not concerned about Emily and I really support her decision. Ecuador is very modern and progressive country. She’s there with her significant other who is also a digital nomad – a mechanical engineer who works online as well. They’ve done their homework and will be fine. Not like Emily’s last foreign venture when she moved to Mexico and ended up hospitalized from fumes from a meth lab in her next-door apartment.

      BTW, congrats again on your September run! Very proud of you!

  4. Kudos to Sue and your daughter!
    And to your friend for winning the freedom to keep “livestock.” Getting back to Nature and eliminating draconian HOAs will ever be important to me, personally!

    I continue to celebrate and support a friend who has taken her farm, a crazy dream, and a start-up food truck to humongous success. In our little backwater Texas burg (a stone’s throw from where Reavis hangs his hat), she has built success on organic, farm-to-table dining with two brick-and-mortar locations and a thriving catering business.
    We collaborate on our gardens and I sell extra produce through her “farm store” in the second location (and some of it winds up on diners’ plates!)
    If someone had told me five years ago that this would happen here, where Whataburger and fried catfish joints normally reign supreme, I would have laughed in their face.
    Follow those dreams and celebrate that success!

    • “Follow those dreams and celebrate that success!”

      I couldn’t agree more, Cyn. Thanks for sharing this success story and I’m encouraged to see more farm-to-table operations competing and succeeding in a fast-food and preserved-food market.

      I want to add a bit to the rooster story. The issue was over noise, not the bird as such. As you know, roosters like to announce their presence – usually at dawn. The rooster owners’ defense in by-law court was a double standard. “Why do we allow Harley riders to roar around town with straight pipe bikes when we want to muffle a natural creature?” They won and the rooster stayed.

  5. Thanks for reminding me that I need to send a note to my granddaughter, a single mom of two, telling her how proud I am of her and how well she’s raising those two sweet babies. And my daughter and son-in-law for being there for her.

  6. Congratulations to Sue and to Garry’s daughter!

    One way I celebrate the success of fellow authors is by highlighting one of them in a monthly interview on my blog. Sharing their work with my blog audience has been a real delight.

  7. Good morning, Garry


    Congratulations, OPD, on a daughter who sounds like she’s going to succeed, like her OPD.

    An congratulations to the supply chain, from the butternut squash growers, to the manure producers, to the “servicer” of the hens, and even to the neighbors who get a wake-up call each morning at the crack of dawn.

    Our celebrating? Our youngest son got hitched a year ago, has a new son, and recently started his own consulting business in computer security. He lives near Washington, and we haven’t seen him since any of his three “successes.” He and his wife and son are coming in two weeks. We’re going to do some real celebrating. I know my wife is going to have trouble letting the new grandson return to Washington.

    Congratulations, Garry, on a great post!

  8. Love this topic, Garry! Congratulations again, Sue, and congratulations to your daughter, Garry.

    I have my friend Wendy is the managing editor at Lightspeed science fiction magazine. We are part of a small “brainstorming and support” writer’s group. Myself and another member of “the Hucksters” were in the audience at the 2015 Hugo Awards ceremony at the World Science Fiction Convention when Lightspeed won a Hugo. We cheered when Wendy went up on stage and gave her acceptance speech. She’s also Editor in Chief of Nightmare, the horror short fiction sibling to Lightspeed and recently two of her writers have been nominated for the Shirley Jackson award, a prestigious horror award.

    • Didn’t quite finish. So, I celebrated both their nominations and Wendy’s role in acquiring and editing their stories. She’s also a very talented fiction writer and I cheer her on.

      I think it’s so important to celebrate the success of others. This is just one example. Even a hearty, sincere “fantastic news!” or “awesome, congrats!” on social media I think can help make a difference for another person. Writing, especially fiction writing, is a tough business. Then again, anything worth doing well is hard to do, and worth celebrating.

      • “Anything worth doing well is hard to do, and worth celebrating.” Well said, Dale. You’re always so considerate of others and it shows. Thanks!

  9. Congratulations, Sue! And thank you, Garry, for bringing this to our attention. People don’t want to toot their own horns, but how else would we find out? I’m reminded of the successful writer on this blog who lost friends after his first book was an outstanding success. How sad that people are so jealous of others’ achievements. I believe in celebrating everything, big and small, because success of any kind means the person worked for it, and that’s worth celebrating.

    Garry, you sound like my husband, who ran background checks on every person our children mentioned as possible dates. But being over-protective is better than not caring at all, and our kids thank us now that they have children and understand.

    • Becky, when my kids were in their teens I had immediate access to the entire North American police information data base as well as Interpol. There was no escaping big brother – I mean OPD.

      I’ve never found a clear definition of “success”. I think it’s a series of small wins separated by some pretty big setbacks.

  10. Yaay, Sue! Yaay, Emily! Yaay, OPD, for surviving Em’s move!

    This past weekend, our 32nd annual writers conference celebrated the many successes of members and attendees. Two homegrown authors were featured speakers.

    Susan Purvis (keynote) started writing at the conf. 15 years ago and has a bestselling, award-winning memoir, Go Find.

    Jess Owen Kara (YA) first attended the conf. when she was 16. She self-pubbed her 5-book fantasy series, the Summer King Chronicles, and just launched her first trad-pubbed contemporary YA, A Furry Faux Paw.

    The guest editor, agent, and TV/film producer (from big cities) were blown away by the supportive, celebratory writing community in our little town in a corner of Montana.

    • I was there. It was a great conference. Unfortunately, I only attended the Saturday session. However, going to do my best to go back again for next year.

        • That’s funny – and I’m tired. I should add long haul driving to my resume. In the span of the last 7 days, I have driven 2,600 kilometers, (That’s over 1,600 miles). Had to hit road Monday to train my new employee. Still better than sitting in an airplane but thank God for Audible.

          I’m looking forward to spending more quantity and quality time with you in the future.

    • Thanks so much for the shout-out to Susan and Jess, Debbie. That support goes a long ways. So does the support around your writing community.

      I think I know your TV / film producer but I’m not going to name drop here. I recently Zoomed with her about consulting on a film series I’m co-writing.

  11. I think you’re into something important. TKZ is like a community, and I would love to hear more author accomplishments and milestones.

  12. I read a lot of crime fiction and while I’m not the celebratory type, I do what I can to lift the books I like and respect most on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by posting choice quotes, links and reviews, including my own. If it were my book, I’d prefer that to a bunch of “Congratulations!!!!!” messages. Or maybe that’s just the I-hate-small-talk side of me making itself known. Though I guess it’s not a binary. I just try to remember that celebration is nice but we’re all in this to be validated and to move units.

    • It’s so hard to rise about the social media crowd on our own and get heard/be seen, Jim. I think independent validation has far more selling power than buy-my-book ads, tweets, and posts. Moving units – is there any sure-fire way to get ‘er done?

  13. This is a great reminder, Garry. “Do unto others . . .” etc, etc.

    It sure makes me feel good when someone congrats me. Like this morning, I got an email from our own Steve Hooley. He said some nice things about a “prequel” I offered to my email subscribers. The prequel is a “deleted scene” from my first novel, releasing this month.

    I try to always congratulate others on their accomplishments. I have a young autistic friend who finished college and is trying to break in to teaching children. That is a monumental task for her. She has had several positions over the last year or so and none have worked out for her. I admire her tenacity and dogged determination, and have told her so.

    In another realm, I’m trying to be positive about my oldest child, a daughter in her 40s, who plans to hike the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) from San Diego to Canada next year . . . alone. She’ll be out there for 5-6 months. Did I say alone?

    I have congratulated her each step of the way, from training, buying equipment, and completing section hikes; but I gotta tell you, as a mom, I’m pretty freaked about it. She has reassured me that she has this tech gimmick and that tech gimmick to stay in touch with her husband, that there are small towns along the trail with folks who make it their mission in life to help the PCT fanatics, etc.

    But . . . you get it.

    When she getserdone, though, I’ll be the first in the congrats line.


  14. The Golden Rule, Deb.

    Our 31-year-old son, Alan, hiked half of the Southern California PCT stretch a few years ago. As he and his partner were passing a desert ranch, this fellow came out and offered them some fresh cold water and to use his outdoor shower if they wished. Name dropping here – that fellow was Harrison Ford.

    • Oh, gonna pass that along to Jessica!

      Garry, this has been a real treat of a blog post this morning. So often we’re stuck in our creative cocoons, creating away, isolated from all the great big and real tiny but significant wins of our colleagues.

      Colleagues. That’s a great word to use for the TKZ bunch.

      And I agree with Ben. This needs to be a regular thing here. Maybe a monthly question for us all to answer: who have you encouraged the last month, and share your wins with us.

      I’d be willing to participate in any way . . . 🙂

  15. So many great examples of support here. May I add my own: CONGRATULATIONS, SUE!
    It’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to help, to serve, to support. Our small mountain community received word in the local paper of a Ukranian refugee couple recently arrived here. The article mentioned that both were looking for work to qualify for green cards. Alex is a computer tech, and having been one myself, I gave him my last computer setup and my wife’s went to his wife. A few neighbors helped us round up a printer and a very good LCD monitor. So Alex and Margaryta went to work shopping jobs.
    I didn’t hear from Alex for several weeks until the other day he texted that he had a job offer and an interview. I texted back my thanks for letting us know and our heartfelt interest in their future success. He t3exted again that this meant a lot to him.
    On one of their visits to our home to pick up some computer accessories, Alex sat at my computer with Google Maps and showed me his neighborhood in Mariupol, the house they bought in October of last year, which got destroyed in the bombing that took out 90% of that city. He showed where they used to shop, the block where his mother still lives, now a Russian-occupied sector. That brought home the reality of their plight and also the pluck and bravery it took for them to uproot, rush away with basically the shirts on their backs, and start over in a new country with a foreign language.
    So, of course I congratulated Alex on his crucial first step. But I think we all are blessed when given the opportunity to share another’s success and credit their work and effort to achieve it.
    As others have pointed out, congratulations don’t always come from the places we most expect. So thanks, Garry, for underscoring the importance of telling the winners in our lives that we share their happiness and satisfaction.

  16. Congrats Sue and Emily and everyone who is celebrating a success or accomplishment. Kudos!

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