Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I'm a strong believer in rewards, especially when it comes down to the debate of rewards vs. punishment. I think that decreasing the bad or increasing the good works far better than decreasing the good or increasing the bad. I like to reward myself when I reach certain goals, and looking forward to something nice is way more incentive than beating myself up about not reaching my goals.

As of such, I have a couple rewards lined up for myself when I accomplish certain things.

Standard rewards:

When I complete a chapter I get coffee. Not just any coffee, I get any drink I want from Starbucks. It's too expensive to buy everyday, but as my chapters run between 3-5K words, it's a great reward that also jump starts the next chapter.

When I complete a draft, my boyfriend takes me out to dinner. We don't eat out very often, and we don't eat fast food at all. Wait, actually we've been failing at this a lot lately. February is a bad month for eating out-- my birthday, v-day, that one night we were too lazy to cook... Anyway, finishing a draft is a nice excuse to go out. If only I could pump out drafts like crazy instead of one every six months.

A special reward:

When I complete my next draft I get to buy a laser printer. I've been meaning to get one for a while, and I'll be needing one when it comes time to edit and query, so it seems like the perfect reward.

Dream rewards:

Ah, we all have these. Certain things you will do or buy when you get an agent or land a book deal. I don't have any specific celebration planned for when I get an agent (probably lots of dancing and squeeing), but there are some things I plan to buy when I get a book deal. I have my heart set on two things. First, I want to buy a really nice coffee maker. Like, one that makes espresso and steams milk and everything. No more Starbucks! No more putting on shoes or pants to get coffee! Second, I really want to buy a Macbook. My laptop is old and super slow, and my desktop is, well, on my desk. Portability! Plus, pretty!

So, my questions for you:

Do you reward yourself for meeting writing goals?

What are you planning to buy when you finally get a book deal? (You know you've been dreaming about it.)


  1. Awesome post! Fun stuff to think about, and I liked reading about your goals and rewards.

    If/when I sell a novel, I'm getting the half-sleeve tattoo I've been wanting. I'm not allowing myself to get it until I succeed.

  2. Great rewards! Because writing can be such a slow process, I'm totally into celebrating when I've accomplished something. There are so many steps involved in the pursuit of publication that I need to motivate myself with rewards, too! Usually it just means I get awesome desserts (my favorite being crepes). I haven't thought about the book deal reward yet but it's definitely something I'll have to daydream about!

  3. Completing something is reward enough for me. Makes me seem humble really when I say it like that but maybe I'm just overly spoiled on the things I might reward myself with already.

  4. Setting goals and rewards for both small and large steps is a good idea for any task.

    For me the small rewards are things like the special rums smuggled in from the forbidden Carribean island or the bottle of antique bourbon carefully numbered, signed, and dated by the distiller.

    Since I plan on posthumous publishing (thus avoiding all the hubub and privacy invasion), I haven't any planned rewards for the finished stuff. Just add it to the pile and move on.

    It's all in whatever makes one content.

  5. I wish I was disciplined enough to make goals for myself, but honestly I write so sporadically that I never think about it. Telling myself that I'll buy myself a candy bar when I finish a chapter doesn't work, because... well, I buy myself candy bars all the time anyway. Same thing with eating out or taking naps or painting or reading a book. I can't think of any short term rewards that would make an impact on anything!

    I do, however, have long term goals for when I get published. The first thing I want to buy is a new laptop and Corel Painter 11. My current laptop works fine, but it's not powerful enough for the stronger applications like Photoshop or Painter, and I want to improve my painting as well.

  6. I am a true believer in this: there is nothing better than positive reinforcement to get writing done! I once bought myself a pair of shoes to help me get through revisions. I've also baked myself cookies :) Even just little things help me along. Yours sound great! If I ever get published, I might splurge on a trip somewhere... I've always wanted to go to Florence!