Here are three ways you can reward yourself as you power through NaNoWriMo:
- A meal at your favorite restaurant.
- That new video game you want.
- Paying an artist to create a cool cover image for your book.
Find out why these rewards are so powerful and what my rewards are.
Whenever we decide to do something hard, something that is going to take time, something that needs sustained effort, we need something pulling us forward. Rewards are a way to do this.
For me in 2017, deciding to do NaNoWriMo was a big task. I’d never written that many words, or write every day for a sustained amount of time. I did all the tricks I could think of, but the one thing that really kept me working was a promise of a reward I made to myself.
I was writing on my desktop computer, and when I needed a change of scenery, I was using a very old laptop.
I promised myself that if I finished all 50,000 words I would get a new laptop. If I didn’t finish, no laptop.
It worked. To get that laptop I wrote every day.
As you can see, I only completely missed 2 days that month, and I was already past my goal by the time that happens. That reward was a powerful motivator.
Side distinction: If you have writer’s block, try a change of scenery. Just as rituals can get you into the writing state, changing locations can get you back into writing.
Our brains are fickle beasts. They will tell you that writing a novel is the most important thing in the world, but the second it gets hard they start looking for a distraction.
Anything shiny is a reason to not write. It takes very few days of missing before you are so far behind you can’t catch-up. Your brain knows that and it uses it against you.
Miss a day? Your brain will tell you you can’t make it up, so why bother. If you didn’t write yesterday, why write today?
It is at times like these you need help staying on track.
There are lots of things you can use.
Streak trackers are good, they change the equation. Making it so you don’t want to miss because you’ll break your streak.
Community also helps, because you don’t want to let others down. You know someone else is paying attention.
A reward can also give you just that little nudge you need to sit down at the keyboard.
Having one big reward helped me in 2017, but this year I’ve got 5 rewards. The idea comes from Heart Breathings here on YouTube who has done NaNoWriMo a lot.
She suggested you have a reward for each 10,000 words. They don’t have to be big, just something to give you an endorphin boost multiple times during the month. So here are my rewards.
10,000: Space Girl Red Print.
Back in 2009, I did a photoshoot with model Annalee Belle where we used a set of retro ray guns and a red outfit she had. I named that shoot, Space Girl Red. That planted the seed of an idea in my head, which will be my novel this year.
I’ve still got those images, and plan to make one of them my cover eventually. But I’d like to have it on the wall while I’m writing, but I don’t have a print of it.
When I hit my first 10,000 in November, I’m going to have that print made and hang it.
Time Flip is one of these physical devices that tracks time by how it is sitting on your desk. I’ve wanted one for awhile, but was never willing to splurge on it. That is exactly the kind of purchase that makes a good reward.
Borderlands is my favorite video game franchise, and I’ll get the new season pass when I hit 30,000 words.
40,000: New Piece of Clothing
I can be a bit of a clothes horse. Haven’t gotten anything cool or nice in awhile. This will be a reward for hitting 40K. Which is also about the time I plan to go to the Texas Renaissance Festival.
And the big one is a the new Xbox Series X. Xbox is my media server and game console. I want the knew one, but will wait till I win NaNoWriMo. Should be just in time for Black Friday deals.
That’s my list.
Question of the Day: What are your NaNoWriMo rewards?