by Jess Keating

Heads up, Storystormers, because I come bearing gifts!

For the past month, you’ve devoted some of your precious time to diving into your own creativity.

You’ve mined your failures.

You’ve gotten unpredictable.

You’ve even cuddled with writers block.

And now, as we wrap up these 31 days of experimenting, I’ve got one piece of advice for you:

Celebrate everything on this creative journey.

Celebrate today, yes. You’ve achieved an enormous goal! Celebrate the brilliant ideas, the friendships, and the magical moments of inspiration that found their way into your notebook.

But don’t stop there.

Celebrate the days you missed. Celebrate the bad ideas that go nowhere. Celebrate the hiccups, the fails, and even the rejections. (Especially the rejections!)

Why? Because you’re a writer, and being a writer means embracing the path that lies invisible before you. It means recognizing that success is tailored to you and failure is just another word for ‘research’.

We writers want to change the world with our words, but big changes aren’t made through big steps—they’re made through big thinking that accompanies small steps.

Small steps like cracking open your notebook. Eavesdropping a few moments of juicy of dialogue at the coffee shop. A goofy doodle or two in the margins of your life.

It all counts. Every word. Every idea. Every manuscript and character and deal memo you’ve imagined sharing on Twitter.

But do you know what’s even more important than the books you’ll write?

The person you’ll become as you write them.

At its heart, creativity is a form of self care. Expressing yourself—whether it’s in books or art or the making of extraordinary pies—isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity. This goes doubly so for creatives like you, who see the world through story, characters, and entire worlds inside your own head.

And guess what? These Storystorm days are just the beginning.

Maybe our stories will end up on bookshelves. Maybe they end up in a drawer. The location of where your thoughts end up doesn’t matter—what matters is that we give them the chance to breathe. What matters is that we become the people we’re meant to be.

Your words matter. Your stories matter. Let them out!

And through it all, celebrate everything.

I’m rooting for you!

Want a quick way to celebrate today? Jess is giving away a free copy of Query Bootcamp to every Storystorm participant! Hop over to Query Bootcamp to get your copy of this amazing template with easy-to-swipe phrases to make your query shine.

Jess Keating is an award-winning author, illustrator, and creative coach who helps writers and illustrators play big in their creative lives and businesses. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, CBC, Global, Parents Magazine, Buzzfeed, and more. You can  tweet her @Jess_Keating and get daily creative empowerment on Instagram @JessKeatingBooks.

Oprah-style—everyone gets a free download of Jess Keating’s Query Bootcamp!

Since this is our last un-official official day of Storystorm, leave a comment below with your biggest aha moment, favorite post, or a virtual high-five to all your fellow Storystormers! Happy storming, all!