Or, how I bribe myself. Yes, chocolate is often involved.

Writing a book is one of those things that can be quite mentally grueling. Then again, when I’m exhausted, so is cleaning toilets. No matter which is involved, I long ago figured out that I sometimes just have to bribe myself with a reward for doing things I really don’t want to. (Often involving, as the internet calls it, “adulting.”) Because if I try to beat myself up and force myself to do it, I end up wiped out and depressed and grumpy… none of which are good for creating, or for the wonderful man in my life.

Jordan Peterson says to treat yourself as though you are someone that you love and care for, and be kind to yourself. Well, when my husband does something grueling, I try to reward him, whether it’s with a favourite meal, a road trip, a night out… And I do the same for myself. Grind through that chapter? Buy a song. Make something that’s not low-carb and very tasty. Finish the story? Get some black cumin from Afghanistan. Or a corset. Or a road trip. (Pick one, by budget.)

Yes, there are days where I do my diet no favours by rewarding myself for dragging my butt to the gym with a mocha on the way back. Often it has less to do with the amount of weight lifted than with how hard it was to convince myself to get up and out the door…

Yes, sometimes coaxing myself to work has more in common with coaxing a scared cat out from under the bed than with being the rugged individualist who’s full of self-discipline and hard-charging never-give-up than I’d like to think.

Are you a paragon of self-discipline, who ne’er stooped to measures so low? Or do you bribe yourself? If so, what currency do you use?

( Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay )

13 thoughts on “Shiny!

  1. God designed our world’s laws so that it would be possible for us to be happy. Jesus saved a wedding by turning water into wine. That was hardly an exercise in privation! If His Father hadn’t intended for us to be happy, would He have allowed grapes to ferment into wine in the first place? (Cf. Benjamin Franklin, though he preferred beer.) Why not reward yourself for doing what you find difficult but necessary — maybe with an extra cookie for doing it well?

    “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” — Paul Hogan

  2. Oh yes. Sometimes bribery is a necessity. Especially when the day’s been so busy, or the days have been so long, you feel worn to flinders.

    I tend to go for reading and AMVs as bribery on the small things. Get something really tough done, it’s buy a book/manga time. Absolute “cannot take this anymore!” is bookstore browse time – something I have dearly missed with all the masking regs, darn it.

  3. Vietnamese iced coffee.

    From instant packs. (a variety of them, actually, which tastes best depends on the day)

    Which I bought because when try to read the words for it, phonetically, it says “coffee soda.”

    1. I haven’t bought any instant Vietnamese iced coffee because when I look at the ingredients list, I start freaking out….but it was tasty when I had Vietnamese coffee at a restaurant many years ago

      1. It is a lot of sugar, although they did a really good job of getting the nondairy creamer to taste fairly close to sweetened condensed milk, and there’s something about Vietnamese coffee that makes for especially inoffensive instant coffee.

        Maybe I’ll research what it’d take to get a press coffee maker that might survive this madhouse, and have that as a bribe…

        1. Cà Phê Sữa Ðá means Coffee, milk, rock (ice is water rock nước đa) Tươi means fresh. I used to get a concentrate when I went to California.

          1. Thank you! I hate to bother the ladies there, just because I’m curious– not helped by being unable to tell the Vietnamese family that owns it from the mostly Thai and Asian-ancestors-far-enough-back-it’s-just-looks folks apart, and being terrible at telling the written languages apart, too.

            Was seriously wondering if Vietnam ever GOT cold enough for ice, outside of a freezer.

  4. Yes.

    I’m currently experimenting with scheduling, target amounts of time spent, and a reward budget.

    Rewards tend to be books.

    Having a little challenge. My ability to generate plot and character is weak, and I only see one approach to fixing it. I need to read and watch stories with awareness of plot and character, internalize a bunch of stuff that I don’t have. Yet, creative writing is not a priority, so I am not willing to count it or improvement work towards the work goals. And I think that deliberate working at understanding story that way would not count as effectively for a reward.

    The sad thing is, some of the work goal stuff could be fun, and exciting. I’m just not managing my psychological state very well, and hence am not able to carry things forward with only the joys of work and completing projects. Of course, my ‘work history’ includes a lot of stuff done unstructured, purely for fun, as I drifted to it. As I am trying to be more structured, and fill holes I had left previously, I have two things I want to fix, joy and structure, and probably cannot fix both at the same time.

    1. Nothing wrong with reading for fun. Your subconscious will learn from it. *Then* analyze the ones that stuck you especially good at characterization or plot for a conscious grasp of each.

    2. Do you have a couple hours you could spare to watch Brandon Sanderson lecture on plot, character, and setting? This will give you the guideposts to recognize what you’ve already read.

  5. Two albums per book. One after I hit the half-way point, one when I finish. I can’t use books as a reward, because often I spot one that i need for research or Day Job, and it e-follows me home, or appears on my doorstep a few weeks later.

  6. Yeah, it’s a pity that food rewards work. I tell myself I can’t write without cold, carbonated, sugary, caffeine . . . but I’d better be writing while I sip at it.

  7. The problem with self discipline is that you are both the demanding boss and the terrible employee.

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