Thursday, 7 April 2011

Rewards For Writers

Every now and then I'm asked to describe my writing day and it goes something like this:

Get up.  Do some writing.  Watch Bargain Hunt (there are a few raised eyebrows at this point).  Do some more writing.  Watch Countdown (add in a bit of sniggering) do a bit more writing. Watch The Chase (more sniggering, possibly outright laughter).

Okay, so obviously in their opinion no one worth anything watches day time television. But this is my reward system.  1000 words done?  Okay, you can switch off your brain with a dollop of TV before going back to the laptop.  

My viewing habits are carefully selected - I never watch anything with a narrative in it such as soap operas or dramas when I'm writing.  It's always quiz shows or game shows where there's no connection between one episode and the next.  

I think it's important to cultivate a reward system when you're writing.  Heavens, it's a hard enough business and the chances are no one else is going to appreciate your efforts on a daily basis.  For some it might be tea and biscuits, or chocolate.  Others might like a bit of box ticking and have elaborate spread charts that can be filled in.  Deadlines can be good, so long as they don't stress you when they're missed - the secret here is to have easily achievable ones.  

Other rewards could be nice notebooks and writing materials. The word 'pampering' makes me edgy, so spas and beauty treatments are useless rewards for me, but I do like taking time off to go to an art gallery or museum or just take a long walk.  I buy myself flowers when I hit milestones like the first draft done.  It doesn't really matter what you go for, so long as you build some system of rewards into your writing.  

As writers we get quite a lot of sticks thrown our way, what with rejection and negative feedback; we really ought to give ourselves some carrots...

NEW!!! I've finally got round to organising some course dates....
How to WRITE a Novel: London 3rd May/Birmingham 7th May/
Exeter 21st May
How to SELL a Novel: London 24th May/Exeter 4th June/


Jules (The Great, The Good and The Bad) said...

I really need deadlines or I never get anything done.

It's always nice to find out more about writer's routines.


Fiona Faith Maddock said...

I watch Countdown too, and dare I say it, Deal or No Deal.

Sarah Duncan said...

Deadlines are good, so long as they're achievable but if they're too hard then I find I just get stressed and less effective. But they are motivating.

Oo-er Fiona, Countdown AND Deal or No Deal! Luckily for my word count I've gone off DOND tho I did have a time when it was riveting. Guilty pleasures...