Writing Life: Celebrating the Big (and the not-so-Big) Things

check markThis month, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group posed the question – How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story? I’d love to be able to say I treat myself to a weekend in the Florida Keys or a workshop in Ireland over the summer. Alas, my celebration usually involves a mess of nerves untangling themselves for a short while and then a collapse on my bed. A brief respite when I glow with the satisfaction of sending a story to my critique group or to a publisher before my self-doubt and impostor syndrome kicks in. Ahhh, I have completed something!

But this reaction, while valid, only contributes to a continuous cycle of Never Feeling Good Enough. And this, my friends, is exhausting. Mentally, emotionally, and even physically. We should reward ourselves when we hit a goal or meet a deadline. We should take a moment to breathe, pat ourselves on the back (*creak* I definitely need more yoga in my life!) and say to ourselves, good job.

Going beyond massages, pedicures, manicures, what can we do when money is tight? Here is a quick list of free or low-cost rewards I’ve put together that works for me based on my interests:

  • A race entry (can be under $40 for a 5k)
  • Workout apparel (Tar-jay has some great options for all budgets and sizes)
  • A new book (here’s a no-brainer for writers. (You can opt for something light and breezy like a cozy mystery or dig into a how-to book for inspiration. I’m recommending Chuck Wendig’s Damn Fine Story, which is a switch from your normal how-to and delves more into narrative and storytelling.)
  • Try a new running or bike trail. Even if you’re not a runner or biker, getting outside can be a wonderful mental and emotional refresher
  • Sign up for a new type of workout – barre, Zumba, hot yoga. I’ve even seen naptime workouts.
  • Try a new type of wine (I recently had plum wine from Valenzano Winery here in NJ and it was delicious! Bonus, it was around $11.)
  • Try a new lipstick or nail polish. No long-term commitment and can you say unicorn or mermaid hues?
  • Check out a museum on free days
  • Organize a board game or card night with friends
  • Take a night off to pamper yourself – order in, watch a movie you’ve been meaning to see, wear something comfortable, and relax with no thoughts about the next goal or due date. Just be for a few hours.

Get moving!

Recently, I submitted several short stories to magazines. To celebrate, I finally decided to check out the trails near my house that I found out about two years ago but never tried. Of course, it was the day after a major wind and snow storm. Downed trees and mud acted as an obstacle course, but I needed to be outside after a long winter to sweep the cobwebs away and prepare now (small steps) for a triathlon in July. This didn’t cost anything, plus what better way to reward myself than giving my body the gift of health?

Remember, you can reward yourself for any goal, not just sending out work or publication. How about the fact that you wrote your minimum for the week (word count, time per day, days per week, whatever)? Or that you revised a particularly troublesome scene. Or that you learned a new skill to help you market yourself or your work better.


See…elebenty is a word.

We don’t give ourselves nearly enough credit for being writers and for writing (which we know is a lot more than just pounding out words). This is, for many of us, homework for life. Writing after the day job or school, after all the zillion other things that need to be done, and the elebenty billion other things we want to do (I just NEED that achievement in World of Warcraft!). We’re fighting against exhaustion, lack of time, and the ogre of procrastination.

Hitting a goal is some major shit. Treat yourself and learn to say, good job. No qualifiers needed.

Insecure Writers Support Group

The awesome co-hosts for the March 7 posting of the IWSG are Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham,Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner!







19 thoughts on “Writing Life: Celebrating the Big (and the not-so-Big) Things

  1. I try to reward myself more for the little things than the big things. It’s the daily grind of writing that’s the hard part, and so that’s the part where I really need to motivate myself. So long as I stay on top of my writing each day, the big stuff will come on its own.


    • Thank you! I tried to keep it to low-cost things because for many people money is a concern. Little rewards keep us going through the long haul.


  2. That never feeling good enough seems to be everywhere among the writers I know. And some of those writers are well-published and have great books out there. You’re in a nice group.


    • I recently did a presentation on Impostor Syndrome (focused on writers) and it was amazing how many people said to me – “there’s a name for how I feel?” It’s very prevalent among creatives (but also business people and entrepreneurs).


  3. That’s a great list of rewards! Going for a hike or run or bike ride is something I try to do every day, but a new trail is always a treat 🙂

    My problem is that I’m never really done. There’s always something more to finish up on project A, or if that’s really gone, then there’s projects B, C, and D that I’ve shoved aside for far too long… But a little break is a good idea. Our mind need a chance to recharge.


    • Absolutely. I feel the same. If you’re like me, there’s always a List of Great Ideas. But rewarding ourselves for hitting a landmark will help keep that list from seeming too onerous. I find that after getting outside, or to the gym, I have a lot more clarity of mind.


  4. You are good enough. Frankly, you are amazing and have bested that ogre of procrastination on more than one occasion, I might add. I love all your healthy rewards and that you are using your rewards for writing to help you achieve a goal in another area of your life. Just remember that sometimes you need to indulge too. Keep moving forward, Krista. You got this!


    • That partially goes back to the Impostor Syndrome as well. But I’ve really tried to move forward, even if baby steps on various projects, despite not feeling like I’m qualified. !


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