Let me just say YUM! This delicious photo is by Rob Qld and I found it on Flickr. Click the picture for more of this artists' work.

Writing is hard.  We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it because there are a million other less frustrating things that we could be doing with our time.  Have you ever thought about taking up knitting?  Learning another language?  Mastering a new instrument?  I’ve thought of doing all of these things but what holds me back is the amount of time it would take from my writing. In fact, I delayed starting this blog for months because I didn’t want it to take away from my other writing.

Besides the effort and sacrifice it takes, it’s a severely underappreciated endeavor.  People who don’t write think that there’s nothing more to it than sitting down in front of the computer for a few hours and spewing out literary genius.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people bemoan the fact that they didn’t think of an idea like HARRY POTTER themselves.  I want to ask them, “What if you had?  Do you have the literary talent to execute a good idea?”  I’m not sure I do yet and I’ve been actually studying writing for years now.

So, given the fact that we sacrifice our time to write, pull our hair out trying to find that perfect word, and endure the misconception that writing is all easy-peasy, I’m a firm believer that you simply have to reward yourself for a job well done.  I have a few favorite writing indulgences:

1. The vacation day from work.  Yup, I’ve been known to do it.  I fit writing in where ever I can: lunch hour, evenings, and weekends.  Sometimes I still get up early to write.  Every once in a while I’ll get to a part of my story that I’m looking forward to writing.  I don’t want to write it in fragments during my spare time, so I’ll indulge myself in a vacation day.  I’ll get up like I’m going to work but instead go to a coffee shop or restaurant where I can write all day.  It almost always leaves me in a great mood.

2. Writing gizmos. I never in my life thought I would admit this, but I’m a bit of a technology whore.  I love computers and phones and readers and MP3 players.  At the suggestion of my writing buddy, I tried a little Jornada for writing on my way to work.  Later, I indulged in a little HP Mini that I call Emily.  Even though I’ve had her more than a year, she’s still a lot of fun and I’ve never been sorry I got her.

3. Food. I try never to reward myself with food anymore.  Lately, my personal reward for making it through stuff at work or a good week of dieting is nail polish.  However, I’ll make exceptions when I finish a work in progress.  Sometimes I’ll indulge in one of those four-dollar coffees that are more dessert than coffee.  Mmmm.

4. Time off to read a new book. As you can probably tell from this blog, I don’t read much when I’m in the middle of a project.  My time is very limited.  Besides, I’ve been known to unconsciously steal phrases from books that I like if I read them while I’m writing.  When I finish a project and send it off to my beta reader, I take the time to read a book or two before I do my first edits.  Honestly, reading someone else’s writing is the only thing that will take my mind off of my own.

How do you reward yourself for being a good writer?  Do you have any special rituals for when you finish a new book?  Or, for you is writing its own reward?