As I continue to work on this draft of my novel, it’s been hard for me to be okay with the pace I’m going. Revision is slower than the first draft. It takes patience and…more patience. This is something I’m not super great at when it comes to myself. I can have all the patience in the world waiting in a line or when a restaurant in busy, but make me put that patience toward myself and I expect better service.
Something else I’m not great at is treating myself for the work I’ve done when the project itself isn’t finished. With longer projects, those that are not physically possible to finish quickly, it’s important to keep up motivation and morale. Otherwise, it ends up feeling like an endless slough to the finish line. I cannot find it in me to treat myself when I finish pieces of those projects unless it’s a big step of the process of the project. It’s like treating myself for a good day at work. But, maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I should be treating myself for those days of good work? Yeah…I really should be.
There’s a weird discomfort in treating myself.
I think it comes from knowing that the project isn’t finished. It feels so strange to get a treat for doing a part of a task of only a piece of a larger project. There’s so many tiny pieces to writing a novel. Breaking it down helps you write it, but also makes it feel like you’re only getting one thing done on a laundry list of things.
But isn’t that why treats are so so important? I can get burnt out on these tiny pieces so quickly. It’s important for me to know that I’m getting things done. Positive reinforcement. If I’ve learned anything from puppy training, it’s that positive reinforcement is the way to go. It keeps you doing the work and doing the thing that got you the treat!
As always, so much that’s done in novel writing can translate into “real life.” I should be treating myself for the tasks I complete, for the good days at work where I get my stuff done. Maybe then I’d have more uber productive days at work!
What do I mean by “treats?” It’s not just sweet treats or food treats. It’s that TV show I’ve been dying to catch up on, the book I have my eye on reading from my shelf, the thing I really want for dinner, cooking the new recipe, taking a break to watch a funny YouTube video after finishing the big task, or even listening to a great podcast during the task. My favorite treats are the ones that refuel my creativity. The books that inspired my novel, a movie that has the same vibe, or even going through and adding new songs to my writing playlist.
What are some ways you treat yourself for good work? Do you feel the discomfort in treating yourself?