“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’m nearing the end of my 3rd manuscript. Considering I began writing seriously in March 2008, I’ve made amazing progress. I’m not patting myself on the back, mind you. Since I’ve made up my mind to pursue publication, I’ve been a machine.
With each finished manuscript, I reward myself with a nice dinner out. The last couple of times it was sushi. By saving sushi as a reward for good work, I want it more which means I work harder to reach my goal.
I think it’s important for writers to give themselves a reward system like this. If you have nothing to look forward to, then how can you keep up your momentum? It doesn’t have to be a dinner out, I’m sure there’s something you love to do but don’t treat yourself to often. A pedicure, a girls night out, a weekend away, the most decadent chocolate you can find, anything. It’s all about giving yourself kudos for a job well done.
The greater the goal accomplished, the bigger the reward. I don’t know yet what kind of reward I’d give myself if I got an agent or publisher, but it would have to be much bigger than a dinner. It’s something for me to think about. The desire to get that next cookie only fires me up to keep at my craft, to keep writing.
On the other hand, I don’t punish myself for not meeting goals. It’s a reward system, not a merit system. To be honest, I don’t need to punish myself with something horrendous if I don’t reach a goal. My guilt does it for me. If I haven’t written in a long time, I feel like the smallest, slimiest of slugs because I’m not fulfilling my bargain with my imagination (or muse).
Do you reward yourself at milestones, or do you wait until your story is complete? What kinds of rewards do you give yourself for completing your goals? What kind of reward would you/did you give yourself if/when you reached the main goal?