Making writing a habit is hard. That’s a given. However, one increasingly popular theory is to keep yourself in ‘writing shape’ by using a reward system.
But then that begs the question: What is a ‘reward system’ in the context of writing?
- Set yourself a writing goal for a particular chunk of work. This could be ‘finish an outline’, ‘write 2000 words’, ‘send emails to
beta readers’ or ‘edit the first 3 chapters’, etc. The reason we don’t suggest just setting ‘Finish my novel’ or even ‘Finish this blog post’ as a writing goal is that you’re more likely to succeed and use this process more effectively if your chunks of work are achievable in shorter periods of time. So if you can break up your whole writing project into parts, then that is a great way to complete this step.
2. Set yourself a reward for that particular chunk of work. This is the fun part. And it starts with the question: what makes you happy? Or what’s a simple pleasure you can afford for yourself? This could involve an activity like going for a hike or a relaxing swim. This could involve food (TheRightTeam thinks delicious tea and scones are all great incentives) or a physical treat you wanted to buy (like a dress, a video game or a particular book you’ve been meaning to read). Bigger rewards could even be a trip (a 3 day weekend to the beach). It can really be any number of things, but make sure it feels appropriate to you and the amount of work you put in. If you’ve set a bunch of writing goals that all take less than 5 minutes to do, then perhaps don’t assign a ‘3 course steak dinner’ as a reward for each!
3. Make time. Do the work. Ah yes, the catch. You must reach the goal for the reward system to actually work! But hey, now you have an incentive. The first and best way to get something done is to make time for it. Do you need to put it in a calendar? Turn off your phone and other distractions? Tell your roommate to hound you? First step: Make time.
4. Enjoy the reward. Treat yo’self.
5. Rinse and repeat. The more you break down your chunks of work, the more rewards you can give yourself. This makes the reward system much more effective since you will begin to positively reinforce the act of writing. And why is this a good thing? It starts to make the habit of writing easier.
Perhaps the above is already something you do or perhaps you believe that writing should be its own reward if you truly love to write–and hey, that’s awesome! This is just one of many possible ways to create better writing habits. And it’s something that we at TheRightMargin are thinking about as we continue to evolve our own platform to better serve you, the writer.
So to that end, if you like to treat or reward yourself after a writing session, let us know!
What do you do to reward yourself for writing?