The Write Attitude: Setting Up a Reward System

By Jennifer Applin

There are many steps involved in becoming a successful writer and each should be rewarded. Rewards are tangible expressions of gratitude, but also great motivational tools. You don’t have to wait until you have your name in print or a book deal to give yourself a pat on the back. Set up a reward system that considers ever the little accomplishments important. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Include variety. In a life that’s filled with routine, nothing is worse than your reward system becoming mundane. Keep an incentive list that includes categories for no-cost rewards and those that involve spending some of your hard-earned money. Examples in the “free” category include reading a book, watching television, or going for a run. These are great for meeting your smaller daily goals. Those with an attached expense can vary from fairly inexpensive such as downloading a few songs from iTunes or a Vanilla Latte; or more expensive such as a new wardrobe or a small vacation. These are fitting for meeting your larger, long-term writing goals.
  • Make it meaningful. When it’s time for a reward really consider what would pack the greatest punch at that moment. Although you planned on soaking in the tub after you finished that query, maybe your body is screaming for a nap instead. You hoped to get a pedicure once you finished that article, but if treating the family to a movie sounds better, go for it. This is your reward. Make sure it’s meaningful and has a great impact.
  • Think of others. Your reward system should also include those who help you meet your writing goals. Have your children been taking over the cooking? Has your spouse been picking up the slack at home? Although the entire family will benefit when you become a successful writer, they should be rewarded throughout the process as well. Again, it’s doesn’t mean spending a lot of money. Just simple expressions of thanks will go a long way in showing your appreciation and keeping them motivated to help.

Jennifer Applin is a freelance writer living in Ohio with her husband and four young children. Aside from writing for many regional publications, she is regular contributor to and She spends her days cooking, cleaning and caring for little ones, and her nights writing about pregnancy, parenting, and the quest for peace (as in peace and quiet). You can also find her at Managing the MotherLoad.


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