What’s it Worth? Rewards Wanted

Do you work better when there’s a reward? If there’s cash involved? What motivates you?

When I was little my parents used to say, “If you take out the trash and clean your room all week I’ll take you to DQ on Friday for ice cream.” And sometimes when my kids got good report cards I’d reward them with money.

Who rewards you when you meet your writing goals?

How are you rewarding yourself? Or is your daily word count reward enough?

How do you discipline yourself? Do you punish yourself?

One writer friend locks herself in her writing room and doesn’t let herself out until her word count goal is complete.


I tell myself silly stuff like this:  You can go shopping after you finish your 2000 words for the day. (Don’t I sound like your mother when she says, “You can go out after you’ve cleaned your room.”)?

“You can take a shower after you finish …” (This might sound gross, but I have this fear that someone will see me without make-up and before I take my shower. This motivates me to finish my word count so I can take my shower and be presentable. I know, this is silly, but I’m vain and very self-conscious.)

“You can eat that piece of cake after…”

“You can take the dogs for a walk after…”

I bribe myself with whatever I want to do for the day. Why? Because I LOVE the feeling I get when I’ve met my goal. Writing a novel takes so many hours that closure doesn’t come quickly. If I break my novel down into a manageable word count than I feel like I’ve had closure for the day. And I CELEBRATE.

When I’m in the rewrite phase of my novel my writing goals are a little different. Instead of a word count goal I make it a chapter goal.

For instance, this week I’m editing a chapter a day. It might not seem like much, but my chapters are roughly 3000 words. I read it out loud (or I use my SCRIVENER Speak-Feature and it reads it to me. Very fun and funny to hear.) I build the storyworld, check that dialogue sounds natural, and that my goals for the scenes in my chapter have been met. In one month I should have the whole rewrite done. And I LOVE THAT. It’s measurable.

How do you REWARD YOURSELF? Please share and inspire.


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  1. I appreciate the good ideas and window into what you do. I don’t really reward myself, just a feeling of satisfaction, but think it’s an idea I’ll pursue. Thanks & happy 4th.

    • Happy 4th to you, too, Dee! Hope you’re staying cool. When I first started writing I rewarded myself more. Now the reward comes more from getting ‘er done! This month I wrote chapter numbers on the calendar and have tried to edit those chapters on scheduled days so I make sure I finish the book rewrites before mid-July. (My own deadline.)

  2. I am addicted to checking my email and different blog posts so now I won’t let myself do that until I make my word count.

    • Good for you! I’m right there with you. I think a lot of people are addicted. Isn’t that hard? How do you turn it off? Didn’t Rachel Hauck say there’s an app or something you can purchase to block this out on a temporary basis?

  3. Robin says:

    I never really thought of offering myself a reward for fiction writing. Sometimes I do it when I’m writing non-fiction, but normally it’s, “When I finish this article, I can work on fiction for an hour!” I’ll have to try your suggestions sometime.

Please share your random thoughts.


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