How to reward yourself for a job well done
“The moral I draw is that the writer should seek his reward in the pleasure of his work and in release from the burden of thought; and, indifferent to aught else, care nothing for praise or censure, failure or success.”
― W. Somerset Maugham
As a writer, accustomed to criticism, it is a treat to receive compliments (an art in itself). In order to stay motivated, silence that inner critic and keep writing Every. Single. Day., it is as important to give yourself an ‘Attaboy’ or ‘Attagirl’ for every job well done (for instance, a well received article, an article featured by Medium or an article that has earned you particularly well).
Connections to your craft
I am talking about entirely different rewards — the ones that connect you even more to your craft. Something special. You may not even have to think that hard about it, but humour me here and ask yourself what has been missing from your every day writing practice? What is the thing you feel you need to better your writing? It could be something as mundane as a mug to put your pencils in, or that specific software that will allow you to structure your stories better. Perhaps you have been writing on some tired old smartphone or a laptop that is on its last legs. Now is the time to replace them. Get that ergonomic desk chair you have been craving, the music that never fails to inspire you, that app that brings you clarity, that poster or painting you love to dream away with.
You might find motivation in collecting objects that are in some way connected to your craft — or remind you of famous writers who inspire you. You might find joy in collecting fancy fountain pens, for instance, or typewriters, luxurious notebooks, antique books or writing tables.
I am talking about the kind of objects that make you feel accomplished, objects that have the look and feel of belonging to an established writer. Objects that look at home in your writing space, that are exclusively yours, that remind you of your goal and most importantly, that make you smile.
I like to splurge on writing books. Though I prefer reading e-books nowadays, I do make a point of collecting physical writing books — there is nothing like the smell of a crisp new book. Even though I do embrace the digital age with all its perks, I just love physical books. To me, books are what make a home. I suppose it’s hard not to think about books that way, having been raised among them.
The writing books I buy to reward myself look well in my book case and on my desk, reminding me daily about the path I chose, offering me the teachings and support I need. Whenever I feel stuck in any way or regret not being there yet, I only have to look at my rewards to remind me I have indeed accomplished something. Furthermore, the more I do accomplish, the more rewards will find their way into my writing space and in my home.
A gift and a curse
Becoming a writer is hard. It can be quite lonely and confronting as you struggle to put words to your inner most feelings and send them out into the big, bad world — in whatever shape or form. Most people seriously underestimate the hardships of being a writer. It is a gift and a curse. And it is quite alright to reward yourself for your hardships, even when nobody else can see them. If you feel you have achieved something, you owe yourself a reward.
This post was originally published on Medium in my publication Hearts in the Write Place on November 14, 2019.