Maybe We Should Be Rewarding Our Writing Achievements More

Thursday, January 04, 2024

I've been thinking about Jodi's post about celebrating the small wins since I read it. And if I'm being honest, I really haven't done much celebrating for my writing wins in 2023. In 2024, I want to change that.

When I look back over 2023, I see that my freelance writing has really taken off for me. Truthfully, I receive more of a dopamine hit for those wins than I do for my creative work. Of course, what plays a part is that my freelance writing pays me far more than my published stories. So, need plays an important part of my motivation there. 

But then I wondered, what if I could introduce a reward system to creative writing? I think when you get rewarded for something, you are more likely to go back to it. 

So, I wanted to share a few ways you can reward yourself this year:

  • Give yourself a tasty treat.
This is a tough one because it can sharply contrast any healthy eating goals you have for 2024. However, an occasional sweet treat or some sort of food reward can be an excellent way to celebrate your accomplishment. If you are trying to be cautious about indulging in too many sugary sweets or spending too much on dinner outs or food deliveries,  you may save this one for the bigger or less frequent accomplishments. 

  • Purchase a fun writing supply.
I don't know about you, but new writing supplies fuel my inner child who loves school supply season. But you don't need to wait for the fall! You're a grown-up, remember? So whether you hit your daily writing goals for 30 days straight or published a new piece of writing, buy a new pen or notebook. Or even a new pack of stickers. And don't be reasonable. Purchase one that's really decorative, colorful, or or playful.

  • Invest in your writing education.
Have you had an eye on a class? Or maybe you want that new book on writing that speaks exactly to what you've been needing to learn more about? Purchase it as a reward for your achievements. If you are on a budget, consider putting money towards that item. Put it in a savings account or write down that you are putting "X" amount of dollars towards that big purchase.

  • Write out your achievements on your calendar.
My mom and I started exercising together in 2023. And every day, she writes down the ways we exercise on a calendar we both can look at. What a dopamine hit to see our progress. It also helps me stay motivated because I can see the progress right before my eyes. I actually don't want to disappoint myself and see blanks on the calendar. So, put a big calendar up in your writing space and write down the ways you achieved your goal that day or that week. And make a big deal when you've achieved a win of any size. Seeing that progress will help you feel inspired!

What are other ways you can reward your writing achievement? 

Nicole Pyles is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. Her writing has appeared in Sky Island Journal, Arlington Literary Journal, The Voices Project, The Ocotillo Review, and The Gold Man Review. A poem of hers was also featured in the anthology DEAR LEADERS TALES. You can read her other writing on Mental Floss, Better Homes and Gardens, Tom's Guide and in a random issue of Woman's World. Since she's not active on social media very much, stay in touch by following her writing blog at World of My Imagination.


Jodi Webb said...

Nicole, what a great idea. I have a list of 2024 goals and I love stickers. Sometimes we need that concrete reminder that yes, we're doing a good job.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Great post, Nicole. Yes! I don't celebrate my wins nearly enough, and I love your calendar idea. You've done so well with your freelance writing last year! I did a lot of freelance last year too, but it doesn't feel as good as my creative work. Maybe it's because I've been doing the same freelance for years, or maybe it comes down to recognition. My freelance work rarely gets nominated for awards, but my creative work does. So I'm the opposite of you and need some kind of motivation for freelance. Lately, after a grueling project, I'll take a day off to go adventuring into unknown parts of the forest. I'm an adrenaline junkie, so that works well for me. But for others it could be just taking a day off to do something fun! It's a reset button.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

When I was little, my mom called me Fruit Bat because I loved fruit and I still do. A great reward for me would be a trip to our local farm stand to try something new and different that Mr. Meat-and-Potatoes would not select.

When I'm up for a big reward, I take a look at the local art exhibits etc. If nothing catches my eye, the Missouri Botanical Garden is still a possibility as are several other locations. Sometimes this means a trip to the local cafe for my husband (his reward for enthusiastically accompanying me).

Ann Kathryn Kelly said...

Note writing achievements on a calendar -- love this! I'm good about tracking my publication acceptances in a spreadsheet, but then I close the file and it's not top-of-mind (or, top-of-eye, so to speak). Writing it on a wall calendar is a great way to keep those achievements front and center, especially if the wall calendar is one of those big, year-at-a-glance ones hung on an office wall!

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