Why do we writers need daily incentives to motivate us? Because it’s imperative that we acknowledge and celebrate every accomplishment, not just our major achievements. Life has a nasty habit of sabotaging our dreams of becoming successful writers. Work, family, friends, and our own perfectionism, procrastination, doubts and fears—all these and more conspire against us. So, if we want to keep our butts in the chair, our fingers on the keyboard or pen, and our minds focused on writing, we must somehow reinforce our writing habits. We need to embrace a system of regular rewards. Giving ourselves a small reward for each step we take on the way to achieving our goals will keep us on track to finish our writing projects.
But what types of incentives will motivate us to reach our writing goals? There are several ways to reward ourselves that don’t require a huge expenditure of time or money. Here are some simple rewards I use to motivate myself to complete my daily writing goals: a cup of hot chocolate or Chai tea, a walk with my husband, a good book, a little treat that’s definitely not healthy, a board game I enjoy playing with a family member, or a shopping trip for something I really need. However, I admit there are those rare days when my real reward is simply shutting down my computer and going to bed!
Why do we writers so often fail to reward ourselves for our daily accomplishments? One reason could be that we’re setting unrealistic goals, so we never feel deserving enough. We may even decide to punish ourselves for not achieving our goals when we should be celebrating every small stepping stone along the way. Rewards are positive and create incentives to write. But when we deprive ourselves of rewards as a form of self-punishment, this generates negative connotations that create a disincentive to write. That’s definitely not what we need. We should never devalue our work as writers!
Incentives serve as catalysts for our creative output, and we deserve to reward ourselves for making our writing dreams come true. Writing is definitely hard work and if we don’t create some little rewards for ourselves each day, eventually all that hard work will suck all the enjoyment out of it. Incentives also make it a lot easier to stick with our writing on those days when we “don’t feel like it,” we’re “not in the right mood,” we “don’t feel inspired,” or we’re “feeling too tired.”
If we are so hard on ourselves that we rarely give ourselves rewards for our daily accomplishments, one way to counteract this tendency is to have a previously prepared list of rewards to choose from. This makes it so much easier to be kind to ourselves, especially on those days when we’ve jumped so many hoops and hurdles before we’ve even sat down to write that it feels like we’ve already lost the battle!
One advantage we have as Christian writers is that God is our partner every step of the way. His Word provides the encouragement and inspiration we need to find our voice and achieve our goals. Even when God nudges us beyond our comfort zone, we trust Him to lead us down the right path. We may often doubt ourselves, but we never doubt God. As we learn from 1 Samuel 3, God is infinitely patient and persistent. He will continue to nudge us until we listen, understand, obey, and ultimately succeed.
What are some of the goals God is nudging you to achieve this year? How will you reward yourself for what you’ve accomplished today?
Photo Credits: Pixabay.com
Nina Faye Morey is a Canadian writer, editor, and speaker. She’s had fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art published in Christian, secular, and literary journals. She’s also contributed to two InScribe anthologies: 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers (2015) and Christmas: Stories and More (2017). Nina’s served as columns editor for InScribe’s FellowScript magazine and is currently the editor-in-chief. She finds working with fellow writers as an editor and through InScribe workshops gratifying. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, travelling, and spending time with family.