I don't particularly believe in punishing yourself if you don't manage to finish everything you'd hoped to do on a certain day. Writing is such a creative process that if you were to punish yourself every time you didn't write that thousand words you'd planned, or edit that chapter you'd hoped to finish by your birthday, or meet your self-imposed deadline - well, writing would stop being fun, wouldn't it?
But, fickle person that I am, I feel like I simply must reward myself when I do tick everything off that writing to-do list! The truth is, as creative a process as writing is, sometimes it's also just plain hard work.
When I hit one of those stumbling blocks, I promise myself some kind of treat. For example, when I was struggling with finishing my final-year dissertation in April, I promised myself that if I got it done before the Easter holidays were over, I'd treat myself to a (tiny) spending spree on Amazon.
And wouldn't you know it? The prospect of buying new books sent me straight into work, and I finished with time to spare.
A little later, I promised myself that if I finished the first draft of TEA WITH DEATH, DESIRE AND RAGE by the end of May, I'd buy a new pair of shoes. Much as I longed for those shoes, I haven't yet finished that first draft, and so I haven't yet bought those shiny new shoes I want. Withholding a treat isn't exactly punishment; it's more like a sense of 'well, I haven't done the work I wanted, so I don't want to treat myself for not doing something'.
Then there are the small treats that I throw myself each day: cakes, watching a movie, and so on.
In the end, I always find that I'm more excited about actually completing that writing task than I am about the treat, but I won't deny that having a treat to look forward to really, really spurs me on most days.
So, with my new novel SECRETS WE KEEP (Book Two of my ECHOES story) waiting for me to start writing it properly, I've just got to think of something to treat myself with if I finish the first chapter today...
How do you reward yourself when you've ticked something big off your list?