Writing Merit Badges

I’ve been trying to focus on celebrating this journey every step of the way. It’s easy to get so caught up on the BIG goals that we forget to notice the small victories and progress we’re making.

So in that honor, I present you with WRITING MERIT BADGES. You’ll notice, these merit badges do not include the normal milestones we all think of. (Write a book, find an agent, get a book deal, move to Bahamas.) But it has some other milestones you’ve either already hit or probably will hit and weren’t even thinking about.

Category 1 – DRAFTING

THE SHOWER RUN – This merit badge is awarded when you have an idea so good and so profound that you have to rush out of the shower, dripping wet, to write it down. **This badge can also be awarded during the revisions stage**

THE ROLLERCOASTER – When you go from thinking this is the best book you’ve ever written to considering trashing the whole manuscript and then back up to thinking you’re a creative genius. **Must complete cycle within a period of 24 hours.**

THE NOTES INSTEAD OF PROSE- When you can’t think of a certain detail or comment for a character to say so you leave yourself a note instead. i.e. “[Insert something sarcastic about wombats here.]”


Category 2 – REVISING

THE CRYBABY – When you get back feedback that makes you cry (good or bad.)

THE REWRITE – When you realize your manuscript needs more than a revision. It needs an entire rewrite. And you actually do it.

THE “MY SUBCONSCIOUS IS A CREATIVE FREAKING GENIUS” – When you realize that a detail you only threw in haphazardly, for no particular reason at all, in the first draft, is the key to a major plot problem, or symbolic of something, or otherwise deepens your story in a way you didn’t originally intend.



THE FRIENDSHIP BADGE – When you call your critique partner “my friend” and realize that’s what they’ve actually become.

THE BETTER THAN “IRL” FRIENDS – When something non-writing happens to you and you decide to talk about it with your writing friends before your “real life” friends.

THE MEETUP – When you make plans and meet up with your writing friend in real life.


Category 4 – QUERYING


THE R&R – Self explanatory

THE REJECTION OBVIOUSLY MEANT FOR SOMEONE ELSE – When you get a rejection that mentions something not in your book, or is even addressed to a different person.

THE MULTI-REJECT – When the agent or editor hates your stuff so much, they feel the need to reject it twice.


Category 5 – SUBMISSION

THE EMAIL WITHDRAWAL – This badge is awarded the day you stop refreshing your email more than twice a day.

THE CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR – When an editor tells you they went back and forth on it but ultimately decided no.

THE FAILED ACQUISITIONS – When you make it all the way to acquisitions but fall short of that book deal.

THE EXTREME SELF CONTROL – When you suppress the urge to email/call your agent and beg them to put you out of your misery



Category 6 –SUCCESS

THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT – When your name appears in someone else’s acknowledgements.

THE SUCCESS BY ASSOCIATION – When your CP has a book come out and you get recommend it to everybody you know.

THE COMP TITLE – When your book is used as a comp title.

THE CLIENT INTERVIEW – When your agent is bringing on a new client and they send them to you to answer questions about your agent



THE QUITTING BADGE – When you decide you’re done with writing once and for all and quit. **This badge can only be awarded after you come to your senses and return to writing.**

THE ADMISSION – When you finally describe yourself as “a writer” to someone else without embarrassment.

THE AWE AND WONDER – When you look at your life and wonder how much more boring it would be without writing and feel that immense sense of gratitude and awe that you actually are doing this!






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