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Do rewards work to motivate writing?

One of the most common writing tips is to give yourself small rewards for reaching goals. For example, having a piece of candy every 100 words. The thing with writing tips, though, is that they rarely work for everybody.

I’ve tried this and it didn’t work for me at all. I suspect it might be because of my ADHD but the promise of a dopamine kick is too distracting to motivate me to write. If I tell myself that I’ll get X reward for X amount of words, I won’t be able to think about anything except that reward and both the quality and quantity of my writing will suffer for it. But I’ve found a much better way to motivate myself to write: rewarding myself for starting.

Once I get those first words down, inspiration will often come and the rest will flow on its own. The trick is to get myself to begin. If I give myself a little reward for doing so, I’ll more easily find the motivation to write that I might not have had before.

This weekend, I used this trick because I was tired after a tough job week and didn’t much feel like working on the novel. So, shout out this weekend to pistachio helva and golden lattes for making any writing happen!

BTW, if you want to try a golden latte, they’re super easy to make. Just mix 2 tbsp grounded turmeric, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp coconut oil and 4 dl milk of your choice (but oat milk will give the best texture, in my opinion). Warm on low heat and then just pour into a cup to drink. The whole process takes 10 minutes at most. Enjoy!

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