It’s the first Wednesday of February, time for my Writing Journey post. Thank you Insecure Writer’s Support Group for the monthly nudge. You’ll see lots of other fabulous insight by checking out the blogroll on their site here.
This month, the IWSG Day Question is How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal or finish a story?
First thing first.
You Need a Reason to Celebrate
You can’t celebrate achieving a goal unless you’ve got goals in place. I’ve been mulling over this for the last week, trying to find a touchpoint that resonated.
I Could Pamper Myself
I could readily pen my thoughts on what to reward myself- a massage, a couple of hours with a purely entertaining novel and a pot of tea, a nap. An extra walk with the dog. A cookie. Some time set aside to play with my fountain pens, or do some genealogy research or bake some bread. Maybe a a weekend retreat someplace with an ocean or a forest full of trails, for a big-deal accomplishment.
But First, Make a Plan!
But I found myself returning to but what about actually setting the goals? I couldn’t let it go. Sometimes my brain can be such a nag.
I work with my calendar, scheduling chunks of time to write, or edit, or research. I give myself deadlines. I set long term goals and break them into smaller, manageable pieces. I’ve been known to give myself word-count goals.
Some things work better than others.
I Wonder What Everyone Else Does?
I wonder what other people do? I’ve read plenty of accounts online and in various writing magazines. I’ve sat in seminars and listened to panels discuss this very topic. Hours and hours, I’ve given to this topic, especially earlier in my writing journey. I’ve heard the opinions and suggestions of countless experts.
But I don’t really know any of those people.
So, What About the People I Actually Know?
I recently sat around a table with a group of writers and posed the question. Some I’d met recently, others I’ve known longer. But at least I could feel a bit of a personal connection, unlike an article, website, or panel of important people up on a stage.
Guess what? Some of the most prolific wordsmiths I know don’t even give themselves goals. They sit down at the keyboard when they feel like it, and, once they get going, the words just start to flow. Others schedule times and/or places they write. Still others opt for a daily word-count goal.
You do what works for You!
And, Then, We Digress…
We broke into simultaneous animated conversations about what to do with middle-of-the-night inspirations and I never got to ask about celebrating achievements. Nuts.
- Gotta set goals before you can achieve them.
- I’m still curious how others reward themselves.
- And I must get writing on what do do with that inconvenient brilliant idea.
We Were Discussing Goals and Rewards…
As far as treating myself – well, the feeling of achievement carries its own warm fuzzies. I feel good when I can check something off on the list. I don’t want to get in the habit of tangible attaboys every time I accomplish any little thing. Despite that, those things I mentioned at the very beginning – the walk, the nap, playing with pens or genealogy, a cup of tea, even a retreat – yes, I use them. I just make a point to sprinkle them into my plan, rather than pile them on.