November 9, 2011

Rewards on a budget?

Filed under: Uncategorized — nascentnovelist @ 11:30 am
Tags: , , , ,

I’m a big fan of rewarding yourself when you do something good, something you don’t want to, or better than you expected. This philosophy has got me through countless dentist visits, exams and heavy deadlines.

When I was little, I used to get trinkets: plastic rings, clothes for my dolls, pencils. When I hit the teenage years, I got make-up, hair dye, and fancy fragrances. When I hit my twenties, I mostly gave myself cigarettes and alcohol. But now that I’ve stopped smoking, I don’t want more stuff in my house (except curtains, but that’s not a reward, that’s a chore) and I can’t dye my hair again without it falling off, I’m lost.

This past week I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo and I’ve rewarded myself with wine and chocolate. As I stepped on the scale this morning, it became instantly obvious that this approach has its pitfalls. Therefore I come to you. I need a list of prizes for completing my word goals that won’t add calories to my daily intake, won’t cost too much or turn me into a hobby alcoholic.

So how do I reward myself without spending too much money, drinking too much alcohol or eating crap? How do you motivate yourself to reach your word goal every day?



  1. To reward myself for meeting My NaNoWriMo goals, I check out a good movie or book from the library, buy some bath beads or new bath gel and take a long bath, buy a nice smelling candle (fFebreeze’s Pumpkin and Fall scent is great and only $4.99 here!), or make my husband give me a back rub. They’re all great and not too much money.

    Comment by amymarie — November 9, 2011 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

    • That sounds great! Long bath + back rub = awesome.

      I’ll give it a try! Thank you so much.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — November 9, 2011 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

  2. You can reward yourself with entertainment – giving yourself time off to see a movie or episode of a TV series, listen to a new album or read a chapter of a book. This doesn’t have to be expensive, and it might even inspire your writing. Or you could reward yourself with tourist-type experiences like museums, depending on how much of your area you’ve already explored. And then there’s always clothes, especially smaller things that you tend to have to buy relatively often like t-shirts and underwear.

    At the moment, my goal is to read as much economic history as possible every day. I don’t have a reward system, but I do find myself really getting into studying for long periods of time when I know that means I can take time off later without a guilty conscience – like if I have a visitor over the weekend or fun plans in the evening.

    Comment by accordingtojulie — November 9, 2011 @ 3:27 pm | Reply

    • That sounds like a good system. One episode of Farscape each night if, and only if, I finish my word goals. It just might work! 🙂

      Comment by nascentnovelist — November 9, 2011 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  3. I use TV series as well (mostly Doctor Who and Buffy at the moment). Or a chapter of the book I’m reading at the moment.

    Edible treats as well (I’m not too worried about calories, though, but thankfully I think of healthy stuff like fruit as a treat as well.) If I’m having a really hardcore day, I’ll use the Internet as a reward. No checking email, FB, WordPress etc. until I have my wordcount.

    Although, you probably shouldn’t take advice from me. At the moment, my wordcount is less than 5000. (Though if I counted all the editing I’ve done on my other novel and added everything up, I would probably be on track).

    Comment by dreamingwriter — November 9, 2011 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

    • I’ve decided to bake cinnamon coated apples. That counts as both a treat and healthy.

      And you went into this knowing you’d be working two projects at once. Don’t freak out about word counts, just do what you can. there’s always time for allnighters closer to the end.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — November 9, 2011 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

      • “there’s always time for allnighters closer to the end.”

        I like that attitude! Actually makes me wanna pul an allnighter, even though I’m not very ond of them.

        And your apples sound yummy. Do you use any kind of recipe? Or do you just sprinkle the apples and bake them in the oven? (I’d like to try it, so tell me how it turns out!)

        Comment by dreamingwriter — November 10, 2011 @ 6:07 am

  4. (Oops, unfortunate typos there. Insert L and F as appropriate 😉 )

    Comment by dreamingwriter — November 10, 2011 @ 6:08 am | Reply

    • Recipe: cut apples into slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon (and ginger and nutmeg if you have it). Put in oven until soft. Yummy.

      For the deluxe version also coat with butter and sugar. But both are good.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — November 10, 2011 @ 9:56 am | Reply

      • Yum, thanks! This is like apple pie without having to make pastry 😉

        Comment by dreamingwriter — November 10, 2011 @ 9:59 am

  5. Go to the movies! or even just rent a film – but make a night of it.
    Pack a picnic and have lunch in the park – invite friends along for extra effect.
    Visit an art gallery.
    …and hope none of these cost too much, wherever you live. 🙂

    Comment by hankie — November 10, 2011 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

    • I like the idea of going to the movies (and I have a movie theater in my basement so I should probably go more often). Lunch in the park would be a cold and wet affair right now, but I do see your point. Maybe grab a coffee with friends instead. And I have been meaning to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art.

      In conclusion: great suggestions! Thanks! 🙂

      Comment by nascentnovelist — November 10, 2011 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

  6. Today, every thousand words earns me fifteen minutes drawing and painting. The hard part is starting the word count, that should earn its own reward…Robin

    Comment by Robin Hawke — November 15, 2011 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

    • So true! First I dread checking it, but once I’ve started, I end up staring at it too much. :/

      Today is definitely a day where I sympathize with the MC in The Shining. If I just type: “All work and no play makes Martine a dull girl” over and over, I’d hit my goal, right?

      Comment by nascentnovelist — November 15, 2011 @ 4:47 pm | Reply

  7. I’m a big believer of wine and chocolate rewards – but tend to limit those to a Friday night, when my reward is getting through the week unscathed (most of the time). As a ridiculously busy working mum I find the best reward I can give myself is a little time. So if I really deserve a treat I run a hot bath and settle in with a good book. And if I don’t have the time for that then I’ll reward myself with a bit of rubbish TV. It’s the little things in life don’t you know…

    Comment by mothersalwaysright — November 26, 2011 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

    • That sounds nice! 🙂

      I find that coffee works as a nice reward for me. And rubbish TV wasn’t half-bad either. Now I’ve just got to find the motivation to finish the novel I started in November. Can’t leave the end of the story untold.

      Comment by nascentnovelist — November 26, 2011 @ 6:07 pm | Reply

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