When you work for yourself, you don’t get awards or bonuses or raises for your hard work. No boss is coming into your cubicle to say thank you and give you a gift certificate to Starbucks for that report that stole a piece of your soul. There’s no promotion hanging in front of you like a carrot that you can’t wait to take a bite out of.
As an author (especially a self-published author) there’s no one else to reward you for your accomplishments. It’s you. Just you. Sure, your partner or friends might give you flowers and bagels when you publish a book and, believe me, those little gestures mean the world because it reminds you that other people recognize what you’re trying to do. But you have to remember to reward yourself.
People often forget to take care of themselves. It’s easy to do things for other people, it’s easy to spend money on someone else. I get so excited to buy people the perfect present and watch them open it, especially if it’s unexpected. But doing that for yourself? It’s hard. It feels selfish and frivolous, maybe even a little desperate? But it’s not. It’s not any of those things.
When you work a 9-5 job (really 8-6) there are people holding you accountable and chances to move up in the company or at least get raises and bonuses, so why then, when you’re on your own, would you feel badly to reward yourself?
When I finish a book, I reward myself. When I publish a book, I reward myself. These rewards don’t have to be anything crazy and extravagant (though, there’s nothing wrong with that either), just something that I can treasure and later can look at and say, “Oh, I got that when I finished World of Ash.” “Oh, that was when I published the last of the Elemental Series.” It’s a memory as much as a reward.
Personally, I love trips to my local comic book store, Hypno Comics, and I love perusing the toys. It’s a small thing, less than $15, but these little things sit on my desk and make me smile. When I found them, I clutched them in my hands and squeeeeed over them.
And I happen to be a bit of a shoe horse. I love to be barefoot more than anything, but I adore shoes and boots, and when I published Time of Ruin I spotted a pair of gorgeous grey (fake) suede boots. They fit like a dream and were on sale (less than $40!) but I was putting them back, talking myself out of them, until my husband reminded me I hadn’t rewarded myself for publishing TOR.
And in the next five minutes they were purchased. Yeah, it’s still averaging in the 80’s right now and I won’t be able to wear them for another month or so, but I have them and I love them and I deserved them.
You deserve a reward. Even just dinner out at your favorite restaurant (that is my normal reward for finishing the first draft of a book)!
Go, order your favorite glass of wine and toast to your accomplishment. We’re always talking about refilling the well to keep going, well remembering to congratulate yourself is part of that too. You did something amazing, you deserve recognition, do something nice for yourself. Here’s to you and to me and to everyone who needs a little reward.