You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, as the old saying goes. Last time I blogged about the idea of rewarding ourselves for words written with stars and stickers. If you read that post and took the time to watch VE Schwab’s little video, you’ll have noticed her neat and tidy little key for the reward system.
Nothing I do lines up in neat little rows, so what I’ve got is this little sticky note on my desk:
You’ll notice I set the bar pretty low for breathing/yoga. I picked that number because five minutes of meditation time has actually been shown to significantly lower stress. At this point, if I’d put fifteen minutes on there I wouldn’t be reaching that goal at all, and I figure five minutes is a good place to start.
I also have dragonfly stickers as rewards for finishing a draft, and glittery dragon stickers for turning in a completed manuscript to my agent or editor, but I didn’t put those on my key. After a couple of days, I modified my system. The big star, for 3,000 words, just wasn’t satisfying. It’s much more fun to reward myself with a star every time I hit 1,000 words so that’s what I’ve been doing.
Here’s the pictorial evidence of my writing and meditation activities:
Yep, I got a dragonfly for completing a draft and sending it off to readers. I hit my minimum word count goal of 1,000 words on more days than I missed it. The 21st was a fabulous stay-at-home writing day with 4,000 words and some yoga time.
The star system did work to inspire me when I wasn’t feeling the love. As it turns out, the desire to put a star on the calendar is enough to coax an extra couple of hundred words from me at the end of a long day.
All in all, I highly recommend the experiment as one more thing to help make the writing happen. I think this could easily be revised to cover revision and even keep track of marketing efforts. Go ahead, buy yourself some stickers. Your inner child will thank you.