B.F Skinner is the famous psychologist that introduced the Law of Effect-Reinforcement that tells us that behaviors that are reinforced are repeated, while behaviors that are not reinforced tend to fade. This brought about a study in positive reinforcement, the belief that if you positively reinforce a behavior, it will be repeated. B.F. Skinner proved this to be true in rats and many years later, we know this to be true in humans as well.
NaNoWriMo is just days away and soon, thousands of writers will be attempting to repeat the same behavior: write for thirty consecutive days in order to reach a 50,000 word goal. This task will be a challenge and focus and motivation are key. An incredibly helpful way to increase your motivation and keep your writing drive alive is through positive reinforcement. It may sound simple, but setting smaller goals and rewarding yourself along the way will increase your chances of completing your overall goal of 50,000 words.
Before November 1, consider a positive reinforcement plan. For example, you could make a plan to reward yourself for every 10,000 words that you write. Not only does this break your large goal into smaller, more manageable goals, but it will also give you that motivation to keep writing. For every 10,000 words, you could buy yourself a nice coffee or take yourself to lunch. When you finally hit that 50,000 word goal, you could treat yourself to something bigger like a movie or a nice dinner. Whatever your reward is, it’ll keep your morale higher than if you weren’t to reward yourself at all.
Rewards do not have to be material items either. Even if you are on a budget, you can still give yourself positive reinforcement. For example, for every 10,000 word mark that you reach, promise yourself a couple of episodes of your favorite television show that have been sitting on your DVR. When you hit your 50,000 word goal, you could give yourself one lazy day of not doing anything as a reward for working so hard during NaNoWriMo.These rewards cost no extra money, but they are still something to look forward to as you trudge towards the finish line.
Remember, if you don’t set up your positive reinforcement plan now, the only reward that you will have is 50,000 words at the end of November. Although it will be incredibly satisfying, it will be tough to get there without any other little boosts along the way. Science has proven that rewards and positive reinforcement improve productivity, so why not treat yourself? You will deserve it and it will definitely help.
If you are participating in NaNoWriMo and have positive reinforcement ideas, please share them in the comments! If you are interested in signing up for NaNoWriMo, click here.
Good luck to everyone who is participating in NaNoWriMo this year! I hope that my NaNoWriMo Prep series has been helpful and I will continue writing NaNoWriMo posts throughout the month of November!
Until next week,