It’s the end of winter time here in the United States and that means many things. For some, it’s counting down the days until swimsuits coming flying into stores. For others, it’s trying to find that last ski or snowboard day. In the entertainment industry, it’s award season. That time where your favorite (or most loathed) television shows, movies, personalities and other forms of entertainment are adorned with large statuettes.
You know, the kind they would frown upon if you tried to resell them on eBay.
Even though the written word has its own share of awards depending on genre, there really isn’t a large televised event for authors to collectively prove to their parents that they did not throw their life away. I’m not saying this is a good idea per se, as I can tell you I’m the guy that says there are already TOO MANY awards shows on television, but it’s definitely something to think about.
When I was in film school, my thesis professor (or “mentor” or whatever the nomenclature was) had actually won an Academy Award at the age of 26 for a screenplay he wrote. He used to say that getting such an achievement did change him a bit, due to it spiking his confidence. It’s weird how chunks of metal do that to you. Remind me to talk to you about my running medal collection one day.
Imagine if I told you that people were offering medals to anyone who finished a novel in a set amount of time (like a NaNoWriMo with prizes), I wonder who would partake?
There lies the greatest writer’s block buster: Rewards. A long time ago, a writer once told me that she used to treat herself with chocolate for completing a chapter. Obviously my idea is to take this one step further. How about every time you finish a chapter, set some money aside. When you finish, take the money accumulated and buy yourself a medal of completion.
You can also put that money to pay off a bill or something, but that’s totally not nearly as fun.
Your finished manuscript is a prize in itself, but a medal can be a reminder of completion. I offer two alternatives:
1) When a friend of mine finishes a screenplay, he pays for it to have it leather-bound. His work becomes a memento and he values his work that much more.
2) On my bedroom wall, I have two 8.5”X11” sheets of paper listing the titles of every major short story (or screenplay, or novel) I’ve completed. I call this my “Ego Wall” and I treat them like how an older generation hunter would look at the animal heads mounted on his wall.
I guess what I’m saying is that it’s OK to treat yourself on some level when you write. It’s hard work, I completely understand that, but giving yourself a boost could only help the eventual final product.
Now I must find a way to motivate myself for the next project.