Dianne Neal Matthews here, writing from Salt Lake City. Although I’m posting this on the second Monday of July, I actually began writing it on a very special day—the last Friday in June. At the time, my husband and I were starting out on our weekend trip to celebrate our 38th anniversary. Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking…
After we checked into the bed-and-breakfast, Richard and I reminisced about that Saturday afternoon that now seems so long ago. As always, I laughed about the stop we had to make on the way from my hometown to our new apartment in Memphis. That night I questioned why Richard had pulled into a hardware store parking lot; he informed me that he had to buy some screws or something to put our bed together. This year, I had to remind Richard of the reason he hadn’t finished getting the apartment ready: he was hospitalized with a kidney stone just before our wedding.
I love to celebrate anniversaries of important events like birthdays or weddings—the dates that are marked on my calendar each year. I also like to remember milestones in my writing journey. But I’m not as intentional about those. Maybe I should keep a separate calendar for writing-related anniversaries to make sure I pause, look back, and celebrate that special day.
I would definitely include the week in early June 1999 when I timidly attended my first writers’ conference, Write-to-Publish in the Chicago area. Later that month, I would mark the day when my first article appeared in my hometown newspaper in 2000. (The circulation was small, but it helped me discover my love of interviewing and telling other people’s stories.) The day after I celebrated my granddaughter’s birthday on July 18, I would commemorate the phone call I got from Tyndale House in 2004 informing me that the committee had just voted to publish my first one-year devotional book.
In early September I would remember the Sunday that my first op-ed column was published in a big newspaper. (That would be the day when my husband began taking my writing seriously—because my picture was right next to Cal Thomas’s, even though my column was only a guest editorial.) In October I could look at pictures from my first-ever book signing at a gift shop, where one man from my church bought sixteen copies to give as Christmas gifts. Late November would be a big celebration as I relived the phone call from my agent inviting me to be his client.
That’s a few of my special writing-related memories; I’m sure you have plenty of your own. Wouldn’t these moments bring us renewed joy and encouragement each year if we took the time to deliberately celebrate them like we do a wedding anniversary or birthday? As you ponder your own reasons to celebrate writing milestones, maybe one of them falls on today’s date. If so, I heartily wish you, “Happy Anniversary!”