Rewarding Yourself for Small Victories and Keep On Learning and A Couple Templates To Help With 2014

Reward Yourself for Small Victories

When I say reward yourself for small victories, I mean to reward yourself for things you can control.  While it’s fun to celebrate if you have a great month of sales or get on a bestseller’s list or win an award, these are things we can’t control.  We can’t make people buy our books and we can’t make judges vote on our books.  I think it’s important to celebrate those things because you want to enjoy the good times when they come, and it will help you appreciate the good things that happen. 

But I think rewarding ourselves when we accomplish the small victories is equally important.  I think when you do that, it’ll be easier to stay motivated.  If you’re relying on external sources to validate who you are as a writer, then you run the risk of wanting to give up.  If you’re focused on what you are doing, then it’s easier to keep going no matter what else is going on.

Below, I’m uploading some things that I hope can help track your progress this year.  Let’s say you get on a regular writing schedule and start making it a part of your daily/weekly habit.  That’s a small victory that should be rewarded.  Say you actually met your daily/weekly goal.  Reward yourself for that.  By breaking things up into smaller pieces, I think they become easier to attain.

Some examples of rewards might be watching a movie with a friend, drinking your favorite cup of tea/coffee, reading a book, or going out to your favorite restaurant.  These are unlimited possibilities with this one.  I think the small victories should be frequent and given small rewards.  The larger goals are the ones that should have larger rewards.  (For example, I finish a novel and publish it.  Great.  Now I can buy the dress I’ve been eyeing for a while.)  That’s what I mean by the larger the goal, the larger the reward.  🙂

Keep on Learning

No matter how much you’ve learned, there’s always more to learn.  I know this sounds basic, but I think there’s a danger of thinking you’ve learned everything you can so you stop striving to improve.  This business is one that keeps changing, and it can be overwhelming.

There are various sources out there to choose from as you seek to increase your knowledge of the writing and business side of writing.  Pick up books from people in the business you admire.  Read blog posts.   Watch videos.  Listen to podcasts.  Read magazines.  Go to conferences.  You don’t have to do all of these.  Just do the ones you’re interested in.  You don’t need to be all over the place.

Some Resources I Am Using in 2014 To Keep Learning (if anyone wants some ideas):

I love magazine articles because they’re short and can be read when you only have several minutes to spare.  Some sitting on my desk are Entrepreneur, Fast CompanySuccess, and Writer’s Digest.  (The first three deal with business principles that can help you think like a small business owner instead of a “just a writer”.)  There are other magazines out there, but these were the ones that caught my interest when I was in Barnes and Noble the other day.  I also found Entrepreneur and Fast Company at Office Max.  You can also find articles to read online at the links I posted above with the mention of the magazines.

Two books I have on my desk are How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn and Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World by Kristen Lamb.

Blogs I love to read are Kristen Kathryn RuschDean Wesley Smith, Kristen Lamb’s Blog, and The Creative Penn.  I have read and enjoyed their books for writers in the past.  I also see there are some online workshops that might be of interest.  (We no longer have to physically go to a conference if we don’t want to.)  I also enjoy The Creative Penn’s podcast which you can find on the link to The Creative Penn that I listed above.

If anyone has any favorite books, magazines, podcasts, blogs, etc to share, please do.  The more resources we know about, the better.  I know my list is a small one and that there is a ton of great resources out there.  🙂

Some Templates To Help in 2014 With Keeping On a Routine

I am going to upload a Word (.doc) file and a pdf file.  With the Word one, you should be able to go in and tweak on it to fit your needs.  But with pdf one, you can’t.  I decided to also make a pdf because some people don’t have Word and I thought it’d be easier for them to get the pdf instead.

Now, I have word count goals, but you might have a time goal or project goal instead.  These templates aren’t meant to be set in stone.  They are just to give you an idea of what you can do.  And maybe they’ll give you some ideas of templates you can make up.   They are free to print out and use as you wish.

Routine Organizer for blog (Word document)

Routine Organizer for blog (PDF)

Daily Word Counts Template (Word document)

Daily Word Counts Template (PDF)

Weekly Word Counts Template (Word document)

Weekly Word Counts Template (PDF)

Book Publishing Planner in Word (this was modified from the one Stephannie Beman gave me)

Book Publishing Planner in PDF (modified from the one Stephannie Beman gave me)

*A quick shout out to Stephannie Beman who got me thinking about even making up templates to track my goals and progress to begin with.  Thanks!  🙂


  1. I use Microsoft Excel for my word count goals, mostly because I can set it up to figure the daily word count when I key in the running total. Yes, I’m a spreadsheet geek. LOL. I really like that Book Publishing Planner. I’m going to download it. I think if I use that, I’ll come more near setting and meeting goals. I was disappointed in my lack of publishing in 2013, so I want to improve in 2014. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. I have no idea how to work spreadsheets so I avoid them. LOL The sad thing is I used to know all the way back in high school, but that’s been over 20 years now. Most of it’s a blur.

  2. Eric Alagan says:

    Thank you for sharing these – good ones 🙂

    1. Thank you, Eric. 😀

  3. Thanks for the motivation and the templates.

    1. Thank you, Alastair. 😀

  4. M T McGuire says:

    These are great resources, although like Lauralynn I use excel… although the reason I use excel is because it adds stuff everything up.



    1. I’d use Excel if I could remember how to get it to add everything up. It’s been so long since I used the program, I’m afraid to do anything with it. 😀

      1. M T McGuire says:

        Mwah ha haha ha hargh! I hear you. It takes me ages to relearn it each time!



        1. If you’re like me, you can’t help but think of all the time you’re “wasting” by relearning the stuff. LOL

  5. M. C. Dulac says:

    Very good advice. Reading business magazines and books is a great idea, and helps to see the bigger picture.

    I’m sure you’ve discovered David Gaughran’s blog ( which has great information and updates on the self publishing world.

    I also find following writers on wordpress who post flash fiction, microfiction or poetry a great to connect and be inspired and motivated!

    1. I love shorter works of fiction and poetry. It’s a talent to be able to write short pieces (and it’s one I don’t have so I admire those who do).

      Yep, I have gone to his blog, and you’re right. He does have great insight. Thanks for mentioning him!

  6. Elke Feuer says:

    Great stuff, Ruth Ann! Love what you said about keep learning. That’s so important in this rollercoaster industry.

    Rise of the Machines is a great book! A couple others are The Tricked-out Toolbox and 2k-10k How to write faster…

    WordPress has an awesome (free) plugin called Editorial Calendar which is great for scheduling blog post (and rescheduling, etc).

    I recently discovered an app called Word One which tracks your word count by each project. If you use deadlines it lets you know how many days left and what you need to write daily to keep on track.

    1. Thanks for the awesome resources, Elke! I didn’t realize there was an editorial calendar and an app to track word counts. I’m going to check those out and I’ll look into the books you mentioned. Many thanks for sharing!

      1. Elke Feuer says:

        My pleasure! Hope they’re helpful.

  7. Thanks for this post. I will definitely look back to this when I need a good cheer up and I agree with everything you said! I am hoping for great things in 2014 with my book Brookie & the Bees!

    1. Thank you. Good luck with your book! 😀

  8. Brian Bixby says:

    Wasn’t sure where else to put this, so here goes: I’ve nominated this blog for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award,” which for aspiring writers it certainly is. You can read about the award, why I nominated this blog, and the conditions attached to accepting it, here:
    Thanks, and please keep blogging!

    1. Wow, Brian. I’m honored. On behalf of the other authors who regularly contribute to this blog (Rami Ungar, Joleene Naylor, and Janet Syas Nitsick), I thank you. I’m off to check your link right now. 😀

  9. Nice templates, Ruth! and you are welcome. I had fun coming up with a planner and book planner for your needs. Glad to hear that you like and use them. 😀

    1. Now to keep on track and to fill out those sheets. 😀

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