Tuesday, November 10, 2015

5 Ways to Reward Yourself During NaNoWriMo

First thing I hear about rewarding yourself includes food. Buy an extra sugary coffee, go splurge on ice cream. I treat all my reward systems like I treat my fitness one: the healthy, non-detrimental way. Certain foods may not have the same effect on you as it does me, but if I carb load or have one too many sugar yums I am in a coma or just the laziest person ever. If I start writing again after I rewarded myself with sugary snack, I will fall asleep with my hands on the keyboard, and nothing further accomplished.

How should we reward ourselves? Rewards should improve our state of mind, alleviate stress, and I know you're thinking "sugar alleviates stress and improves my state of mind", or "beer alleviates..." "chocolate improves..." and I say, you will use it as a crutch and it will break, and drown you. I know. I've been there. Using food as a reward leads to more food and more food and--oh look at that, I will have gained back every pound I ever fought hard to get rid of since I started my weight loss journey back in 2011. Yes, people. I'm bringing this up because I used to be fat and I will not be fat again. I hated how I felt and food reward systems are dumb. All food reward systems will lead me back to how I was. If you are working tirelessly to lose weight, maintain it, or just be healthy--maybe you're starting your nutritional awareness and want to find other means of rewards--this is the list to inspire you to not pick up that donut because you just sat there for hours upon hours and met your word count goals.

  1. New Book or Journal
  2. Staycation
  3. Venture Out
  4. Exploit Capitalism
  5. Hire Loved One as Servant for a Day

1. New Book or Journal 

Every writer loves paper. Every writer should be reading books to absorb the finished product of other writers, either as entertainment, or to be inspired, or as personal development. I call it personal development because, truly, I don't like reading. Why do I not like reading? Because I love reading and I am constantly bombarded by crappy books, or at least crappy starts. (I will prey forever on the gnawed bones of Veronica Roth for betraying her fanbase.) What makes me giddy is paper. I think you love it too. Don't hide it. Embrace it. Have you reached 5k words in a day? Go out and grab new materials for your writing wantiez and needz. It's okay if you buy another pack of colored pens even though your drawer is stuffed full of them from years of gathering.
I am the Squirrel of Pens. Hear me squeak.

Squeaker squeak squeaken.

2. Staycation

Yesterday I thought this was a great idea. The sun shined, I was done writing by 1000, I got my workout done by 1200, and all I wanted to do was try, and grab those rays with Vitamin D before another rain cloud hit.

 (Hawaii in fall is all rain and wind or solid overcast. It's been rare to see the sun for longer than half a day. Like right now...it's pouring out. It could be all sun northshore, but I don't know. Never trust Hawaii weather. It's the mistress of deception. lol...anyway.)

I took the rest of my day as a sign to unwind. I fed my child and I and, while he played, I lounged in the backyard, and read. Personal development and Vitamin D. Spf 8 so I can stay out longer and I got to live in another writer's world for hours. I sharpened my most important writing tool and got great nutritional value out of the elusive sun. Win-Win (that's Franklin Covey, btw.). 

Take the time to enjoy your home. You don't have to read. Maybe you're sick of reading and just want to play video games. That's cool too. But stay on schedule. Don't tune out the world for too long or you'll wonder what happened to the years of your life.

3. Venture Out

Got family? Take them with you. Go to the beach, a bounce house, or a park. Is it raining? Good. Splash in the puddles. Be a kid again. Enjoy life. Enjoy the oxygen. This one isn't about going to the movies or staying indoors. If you're writing a book that involves the environment, get in the environment! Remember the smells and the feels. Remember what triggers certain thoughts. Don't write it down! This is to live in the moment with yourself or with kids or with your lover. I got a friend who just took her Honeymoon over to Kauai. She's venturing out to Haleakala Crater, and hiking the Na Pali coast, and she just took a helo to see the stuff her feet will miss. A gorgeous place to be (another place where you cannot trust the weather). You can even play a game. Become one of your characters and respond to the world as they would. Did they take a lunch break? What did they order? Have they even seen this century before? That should be even funner. Oh yes. I said funner.

Enjoying the Outdoors now?

4. Exploit Capitalism

You knew this was coming. I don't like to shop unless I know what I'm looking for and then my mind goes into different trails of importance and I remember things I needed to get, so I end up shopping longer. But this is where I need you to focus. I'll try to focus too. FOCUS! Okay. Buy ONE thing that is a luxury item that does not count towards your writing. It can have writing inspiration stuff on it, if you want. But I want you to steer away from buying binders or paper. Omit tools or personal development. Got it? Make it count!

  • Shoes
  • Clothes
  • Jewelry
  • Accessories
  • Cosmetics (oh you know this includes nail polish! Eeeee!)
  • Lotion or other Hygiene Luxury Products
  • Candles
  • Phone case
  • Framed Print
  • Video Game
  • DVD/Blu-Ray/3D
  • Recreational Item

What did I miss? Most of these shouldn't blow a budget if you have one. Just count it under luxury (Dave Ramsey can help you, here, or I can give you a quick rundown--message me) and enjoy the purchase. No buyer's remorse, please. One item. Keep it simple. Cash or Debit. And know that it was purchased from your hard work!

5. Hire Loved One as Servant for the Day

You have told them you're doing NaNoWriMo. You told them it's going to be hard and they should forgive you for any snappy comebacks or lashing-outs you might make. You have done well. Very well. So well in fact you can ask them to pamper you. Do so respectively. You're not a queen or king, but if you say "hey, may I take a break for the day, and you help me relax?" I guarantee they will do their best to make this happen. If not, reconsider who your loved ones are. Unless they're sick or just got off work from 24-hour duty, request it. My husband tells me every day he's super proud of me for doing this. He watches me type insane amounts of words. Insane in my book is over 2,000, because life as a mom does not usually let me write that much in a day. Yet I am performing mommy writer miracles. I ask him to take care of the chores for the day and he has no problem. 

If you can find a day for your loved one to do this for you, so you don't have to stress about the house being a mess, or you being a total dirt bag and not bathing for two days (accused and guilty), make it happen. Have them run you a bath. While you're soaking, they'll do the dishes, or make dinner. If you're a working family, do this over the weekend. If they must treasure their days off, then just have them do a chore or two that you would usually do. We're a military family so all off-days are precious. But my hubby can deal with cleaning the kitchen so it's not dragging through my mind when I also need that precious off-time.

Good heavens, Master Wayne.
I do think you're in over your head.

After you're done with NaNo, maybe you can pamper them back. It's a balanced relationship. It's supposed to be anyway. Both of you serve each other. Both of you love each other. Let them show you. And you show them.

Don't pamper me, sir.

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Avoid the junk food. It hinders your production and leaves your body feeling icky. It might release those endorphins for a time, but you'll be hurting.

You are worth being healthy. You are worth taking care of yourself. Don't let yourself or anyone else tell you different. Find the healthy rewards. You'll look back on it later and be thankful you did.

One last thing: don't reward yourself for every little thing.

Make a challenging goal, set it, and when you reach it, choose your reward. Is it to break your word count of the day from 2,000 to 5,000? Or maybe 750 to 1,500? Is it to reach the NaNoWriMo badges, like 10k or 25k? Make the goal short-term and when the long-term goal is achieved, it's a whole new sense of accomplishment that may be a reward in itself.

I know when I finished my first novel, I was on top of the world, and was so excited about the second, that I just ran right into outlining the second.

My rewards for finishing the overall goal were: (1) calling my parents late night, waking them up, and regaling them about my hard work; (2) posting photos of the final word count (120k+) and a happy selfie to smear in any haters' faces that were stalking me; and (3) cuddling with my son, knowing I just achieved one of my lifelong dreams, and just basking in the afterglow of hard work, determination, and consistency.

You can do this. If my once-procrastinating butt can do it, you can too.

You are worth it.

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