The writing process can get really stressful at times. Trust me, I know. Especially as a young writer, it can be hard to believe you can actually accomplish something. Don’t ever believe that!
My editor, Chelsea Fuchs, taught me the power of rewarding yourself. It can be challenging to set goals when you don’t feel like you have the motivation or means to reach them. That’s why I was told to reward myself. By setting up a small reward system, it can encourage you to reach your goals.
For example, last semester I was attempting to start writing a new book. I was having trouble feeling prepared to start writing it. I was in the middle of a waiting period from editing Finding Doom and was getting ready to start a new project. I had my flashcard outline. I knew the story. I just needed to start writing it. At the time, I was looking at pop sockets on Amazon. I am definitely guilty of spending too much time browsing fun trinkets on Amazon.
I told myself that once I finished my first draft, I could buy that pop socket. And you know what? I did just that! And because of my outline, which I talked about in last week’s post, I wrote that whole first draft in three weeks! Three weeks! When I finished writing what I planned to, and my reward came in the mail a few days later, I was able to remind myself of what I accomplished. It gave me more motivation to reach my next goal!
Chelsea told me about another fun idea for self-rewarding. I haven’t done it yet, but maybe I will for one of my next projects. Set up your main goals for your writing project, whether it be reaching a specific word or page count. Once you have your goals set up and spaced out through a reasonable amount of time, choose your rewards or gifts. Wrap them up and put them away, labeling each one of them with the goal you have to reach before opening them. When you reach that goal, say 10,000 words, you open it! You may not even remember what prize it was you wrapped by the time you get to open it, which only makes it more exciting.
But hold on a moment. Trust me. I understand that we don’t all have tons of money sitting around to spend, especially if you’re looking to publish, which can be very expensive. Don’t spend all your savings on little rewards. There are other ways to do it!
Not everyone needs a physical object to reward themselves. A simple reward for getting you motivated could be as simple as maybe your favorite piece of chocolate. You reward yourself by only allowing yourself to have one when you sit down to write or finish a writing session! Each time you accomplish a tiny goal, allow yourself that small treat, that five minutes to drink a cup of tea or something.
Another way to motivate me, which you might think is a little crazy is my homework. I can’t stand procrastinating! Now that my writing system is a little more organized, I tell myself that I can’t write unless I get out of bed in the morning at a specific time. I’m still working on that one. But the point is, on a day like today, when I don’t have to be out the door super early in the morning, I attempt to wake up at six. My goal is to write until eight in the morning. After that, I have to stop and do my other work until I can go back and write. I reward myself by getting to write if I get out of bed on time and if I accomplish my other tasks.
I enjoy the little rewards I get when I implement my reward systems. I don’t just do it for my writing. Last semester, I was looking at sign language T-shirts on Amazon. When I finished my second level of ASL at the college, I allowed myself to get one. I’m planning on doing the same thing when I pass this semester’s class.
The point of a reward is to keep you motivated, to encourage you to set your goals AND reach them! That’s what really matters.
If you try any of the reward systems that I talked about or create your own, share it! It doesn’t just have to be about writing either. Let people know that you made it! Our goals don’t have to be big. They just have to be put into motion. Comment below on the blog or tag me in your Instagram posts with it! I would love to see what you guys accomplish. And I’ll do the same.