Writing Rewards: The Importance of Incentives, Part 2, by Vicki Keire
Guess what, Internet? That writing project I wrote about last post, the one that’s been totally kicking my butt? Well, this week it got a little easier. It helped, last post, to focus on some of the reasons why rewarding myself can actually be a bit tricky. There’s complex stuff like guilt, self-sabotage, and avoidance going on. Plus it can be hard to find the time and energy to follow through.
But it’s so important to put all that behind us and to try and embrace the positive aspects of rewarding ourselves. As writers, we need to acknowledge and celebrate our efforts on a daily basis, as well as when we achieve something major, like finishing a draft or getting a box of published books in the mail. Why is this so important, you ask?
- As writers we face daily battles that conspire to keep us from writing. Inertia, work, family, Facebook… the distractions abound. It’s a real accomplishment to show up, put butt in chair, fingers on keys, and pray that the ideas will flow this time. Acknowledging that yes, you showed up to work today, makes the battle a little easier.
- Rewarding yourself will create a positive association with your writing, which will in turn reinforce the habit.
- Building a writing career can take a long time. It’s a long term game, and it can be really easy to feel like you’re on some kind of treadmill, where there’s little space between one project and the next. But giving yourself concrete rewards for different steps throughout the writing process can help make it easier to keep going.
- We writers really tend to undervalue ourselves. And why not? With piracy rampant, and a market flush with free books, all too often it can feel as if the whole world expects us to give our work away for nothing. That it’s not worth anything. Taking the time and care to treat ourselves graciously can go a long way to restoring pride in our work and keep us from burning out.
I managed to get the project finished, and so after fighting the urge to ignore my reward, I decided instead to follow through with it. Here are a few things that worked for me, or for writer friends of mine who offered to share their secrets.
- One friend has a husband who selects and actually wraps presents for her when she’s rushing to meet a deadline. He arranges the entire pile in her office, where she can see them as she works. If she meets her word count goal, she gets to open one. The selections don’t have to be fancy or expensive. One of her favorite gifts was a box of dark chocolate cashews- simple, cheap, and yummy.
- I’ve set up lists with different online retailers who offer gifts of five or ten dollars, or less. One of my favorites is the site Wish.com, but there are others. The point here is to actually invest some time and effort prepping to reward yourself. If you have a site bookmarked that has a pre-selected gift list for you, it’s super easy to hop on over and select a reward. Doing the footwork beforehand can make the payoff easier, and more satisfying.
- Nothing sucks time like the internet. Yet sadly, we need it to live. (Wait, we don’t? What???) Okay, so we need it to live well. One way I reward myself is to have a little time off to actually do all those things that are so distracting when trying to write and be productive. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be wonderfully motivating when we withhold them for special occasions.
There are tons of ways to reward ourselves. Take a walk, buy yourself a treat, read a book, watch bad tv, eat something that’s terrible for you. The point is to love it, whatever your reward turns out to be. If we don’t love the reward, then it won’t motivate us enough. So go ahead and self-gratify away.
Vicki Keire grew up in a 19th Century haunted house in the Deep South full of books, abandoned coal chutes, and plenty of places to get into trouble with her siblings. She spent the last decade teaching writing and literature at a large, football-obsessed university while slipping paranormal fiction in between the pages of her textbooks.
Published works include the bestselling Angel’s Edge series, which includes Gifts of the Blood, Darkness in the Blood, and Blood Redemption, The Chronicles of Nowhere series, and the stand-alone novel Daughter of Glass. She is included in the Dark Tomorrows anthology with J.L. Bryan and Amanda Hocking, and the Primetime anthology with J.R. Rain and Anita Exley.
When not reading and writing about all things paranormal, she enjoys other people’s cooking and keeps vampire hours. She’d rather burn the laundry than fold it, and believes that when an author wins the Newberry, he or she gets a secret lifetime pass to Neverland. She is fond of lost causes and loud music. She currently resides in Central Florida on a lake-front farm full of many furry friends. She loves hearing from readers and can be reached on most social media sites or through her blog (link: http://www.vickikeire.blogspot.com/), of which she is awfully fond.