I will confess that last night, with a messy house and mountains of laundry and children who were suddenly unable to follow complicated, multi-step directions like “PUT ON YOUR PAJAMAS,” I was sorely tempted to bail. But the thought of everyone else meeting up and making progress without me was enough to change my mind.
Sometimes, a little peer pressure is all I need to get motivated. Other times, I rely on my deep-seated fear of missing a deadline. While both of those are powerful motivators, my favorite method is, frankly, bribery.
I have talked before about how essential rewards are. You should celebrate your successes. All of them. Writing is hard work, especially when there are so many other things vying for your attention. When you meet a goal, treat yourself to a little something.
For example, I made my daily wordcount yesterday, and so rewarded myself with a ginger beer. (I don’t like most pop, but I have an alarming weakness for very spicy, non-alcoholic ginger beer.) Sometimes it’s something else: a few chapters of a new book, a walk around the neighborhood; hanging out on the couch while my husband watches Workaholics. It’s an acknowledgment of the progress I’ve made.
As the tasks get bigger, so do the rewards. When I turned in the latest round of revisions on Dissonance, I treated myself to a Blu-Ray player and Wreck-It Ralph (I would have just bought the DVD, but only the Blu-Ray had the special features.) My rule about electronics-based treats requires me turn in a draft of a book, though, so I'm not too spoiled.
Your goal-reward ratio may be different, and that’s fine. Determining the value of your effort and energy is a very personal calculus. What’s most important is that you DO value it – that you recognize your accomplishments and milestones during what can sometimes feel like a long slog.
This week, my goal is actually three: to make my weekly wordcount, as noted on my calendar; to finish outlining Dissonance 2 in detail; and to start work on my next round of Dissonance revisions. My reward will be to finally watch the Director’s Commentary of Wreck-It Ralph. I might even make popcorn with oodles of butter.
Your turn: What’s your goal for the week? And equally important, how are you going to reward yourself?
When you’re done, head over to Clara’s blog for tips on getting the most out of writing meetups.