Hi again! Since I finished the first draft of my novel last week (no, not an April fool’s joke!), I thought I’d talk a little bit about incentives and rewards in writing. This all came about because a friend asked me what I was going to do to celebrate, and I had zero ideas. Apparently a lot of people set up small rewards (or large ones for bigger feats) for each step they complete. Of course I have a reward picked out for a challenge as big as my first pro pay publication, and I have my daily incentives, so why didn’t I have anything ready for something like finishing a draft? It’s a big step. It deserves to be celebrated!
Daily Rewards: These usually include things that I would do whether or not I had daily goals to meet. Watch anime, play games, eat a piece of chocolate. Little things like that make the idea of sitting down to write more fun. Think of it as a little paycheck each day! It’s something to work for.
Finished Draft/Major Edits Rewards: These are major milestones for a writer. I’m a little ashamed to know that I didn’t plan anything for my first one. I did take the day after off, but that was nothing special. Luckily, a friend invited me and my dad to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, so I’m calling that my reward. I’m also making a list of potential days out for future reference. These accomplishments are definitely worthy of a concert or movie or trip to a museum or arboretum or something.
Publication Rewards: These should be something special. I know some people who have parties or go on trips, and others who splurge on nice dinners. A weekend getaway or fancy meal sounds wonderful to me. Personally, I’m considering a tattoo for my first paying publication. It’s something I’ve wanted for a while, but never really had the courage to go through with (I’m not too fond of needles). Maybe getting published will be the special moment I need to push me forward with it. If not, a fancy dinner and maybe some dancing works just as well as a reward!
I’m sure there are other accomplishments that need to be celebrated in a writer’s life, like being translated into another language, but I’m nowhere near that level yet. When I get closer, I’ll be sure to think of incentives and rewards for those things as well.
Since a writer’s pay isn’t exactly regular, it’s good to come up with your list of awards ahead of time. Not only as incentives to complete the difficult (sometimes eye twitch inducing) work, but also so you can save up for them. And remember that the bigger the goal, the more special, and possibly personal, the reward should be. It can be as simple as watching the sunrise or extravagant as a five star dinner. That’s up to you. Have fun with it!