Preptober: Rewards

I think I’ve done some pretty good NaNo prep so far this October. There’s still a long way to go, but I think it’s time to talk about something fun:

How am I a going to reward myself for reaching my goals in November?

Look, I’ve won NaNo without setting any rewards for myself, but it’s a lot more exciting when you have those rewards waiting for you at certain milestones, okay?

So, what kind of rewards are we talking about here? Money? Glory? Fame?


My sights are set quite a bit lower than all that. You see, my rewards need to be realistic. And concrete. And in my control.

Some of the things that have worked for me in the past are:

  • Fancy coffee
  • Halloween candy
  • New notebooks
  • Art supplies
  • Writing software (this is why I have Scrivener)
  • A night off
  • New wax melts
  • New music
  • Getting to color in word trackers

One of the issues I’ve come up against in the past is that a lot of the rewards I’ve thought of are not free and…well…I’m not made of money. But let’s talk about our free options.

One of the biggest reasons I got through Milwordy (writing one million words in a year) is because I used word trackers. I drew word trackers for every month and colored them in as I went and that might have single-handedly saved my Milwordy challenge.

I’m not kidding.

I know it sounds silly. Of all the things that could motivate me…word trackers? Really?

But I’m serious. Every time I thought about letting a month go by without being able to color in the full tracker, I got my butt into gear and did the work. I think this was especially true because I drew the trackers myself. I put a lot of work into them in fact, and leaving them unfinished just seemed wrong. I will absolutely be creating another word tracker for myself this November and I will enjoy coloring it in every time I write another 1,667 words.

Another free option is giving yourself a night off. This one can be tough to do, especially when you’re are embroiled in such a challenge, but I find that a guilt-free night off from writing can not only be motivating to work toward, it can also be re-invigorating. Sometimes you need that day off to keep moving forward.

Another thing that isn’t exactly free, but might be able to be worked into your regular budget is food rewards.

Now, obviously this can be tricky if you have expensive tastes or if you’re watching what you eat, but I find food rewards to be very helpful. I’ve granted myself a small piece of Halloween candy for every 1,000 words before and I have to say…it was pretty motivating. Not only that, but it actually had the effect of stopping me from eating ALL the candy at once, which is a plus.

You can also plan to cook/buy your favorite meal when you reach a certain milestone. Make a night of it. Set some candle light and some nice music and savor that dinner!

Also, I drink a lot of sparkling water, which is not very exciting, but I do find it weirdly enjoyable to drink said water in a wine or champagne glass. Maybe with a little fruit thrown in. It makes me feel fancy. And so, for every day I show up to write I get to fix myself a sparkling fruit water and pretend like I’m much fancier than I actually am.

Things like notebooks, art supplies, books etc…I save those for bigger milestones. Like for actually finishing NaNo. I can’t afford to do it for everyday I write, or even really for every few days. But maybe for my midpoint and my finale? Sure.

Whatever rewards I choose, they have to be things that I actually want and that I will steadfastly not give myself unless I achieve my goals. This system just does not work otherwise.

Do you have rewards in mind for when you reach your goals? Or is the satisfaction of achieving your goal enough for you? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Published by Robin J

I’m an aspiring novelist who hasn’t quite figured out this whole writing thing. I’ve been scribbling down stories since I was a little kid, but only dared to dream that I could write something worth reading as I became an adult. At 33, I still feel like I have a lot of progress to make before I’m ready to try publishing, but I’m getting better every day. Typically I write Fantasy (of both the Adult and YA varieties), but I have dipped my toe in Romance and Sci-Fi. When coming up with a story to write, all I care about is that the plot grabs my attention and the characters tug at my heartstrings. The genre is an afterthought. I tend to set myself lofty goals. Mostly I fail, but occasionally I surprise myself and succeed. Either way, I enjoy being pushed beyond the limits of what I thought I could do. That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish with the Milwordy challenge. I may or may not reach the full million words, but I know I’m going to learn a lot along the way. I hope you will, too!

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