Writing is Tough, Reward Yourself

COFFEE PARISBy Travis Richardson


Writing is a tough gig. There are more rejections than acceptances in this business. So anytime you have a success, I recommend rewarding yourself. Specifically the reward should be something that you normally wouldn’t buy or do. (i.e. going out for a fancy dinner versus buying a pair of socks.) When I had my first short story published, “The Movement” in the anthology Scoundrels: Tales of Greed, Murder and Finance. I bought a George Brett rookie card.

George Brett and Scoundrels

It was something I always wanted as kid when I collected cards. Back then, I would have loved to have had even the most beaten up version of my favorite player’s card. It was an unattainable holy grail for me as the prices were out of my range/allowance. While I could’ve bought a mint condition rookie card, but I went for an 8 rated card because it was under $100. The edges are sharp, only the image is off-center. It’s near perfection. Perhaps if I have a bestseller I can buy the mint rated card.

Lost in Clover and Pop. 1280

When I published Lost In Clover, I bought a first edition paperback Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson. This was something I had wanted for years, but never let myself spend the money. I was surprised to spend only $30 on the purchase. eBay has surprising bargains out there.

My biggest expense on a reward was using the money I got from my story “Incident on the 405” on Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble to go toward a Mac Mini.

Girl Trouble Mac Mini

My wife doesn’t think this counts since I was planning on buying it anyway. And while she has a point, it is something I use everyday.

When “Private Practice” was published in All Due Respect, Issue #1, I bought a poster of an alternative Robert McGinnis cover design for Pop. 1280. (I really love that book.)

Robert McGinnis poster and All Due Respect

My final reward was more of a cheat. eBay had a promotion where they’d take percentage off any purchase done through their app (I think 20% off). Simultaneously, the seller of a hardcover first edition of Heed The Thunder by Jim Thompson had dropped his price. So I purchased it before my book Keeping The Record came out in March. (The contract had been signed and the final draft sent in, so it was okay, right?)

Keeping The Record and Heed The Thunder

While the book is rare and has value, it’s not as valuable as the book with the original dust jacket. What’s the difference? Oh, about $1000. To buy that I’ll have to have several bestsellers.

I have a reward in mind when I sign with agent. If nothing else, perhaps that will motivate me to finally land one. So enough about me. What about you? Have you rewarded yourself for doing anything extraordinary? If not, what would you like to do and what would be your reward for accomplishing it?


You can find out more about Travis at www.tsrichardson.com. He also writes daily reviews of Anton Chekhov short stories at www.chekhovshorts.com. 



11 thoughts on “Writing is Tough, Reward Yourself

  1. Hmm…good question, Travis. I don’t always reward myself–at least not consciously. That may mean I’m not really letting myself sink into the experience and joy of the success the way I should before moving on to the next to-do. Kudos to you for doing so!


  2. I go out to eat a lot, so a new pair of sicks would be a reward for me. LOL. I’ve never done well on the reward system. I just buy whatever fancies me, when it fancies me, but the feeling of accomplishment is amazing to me. You have had some interesting rewards. Keep it up. I hope you, I, and everyone reading this hits the Best Sellers list or whatever goal we have set. Nice blog Travis, thanks. Cher’ley


  3. I like your way of thinking. I would be happy with a professional manicure or a new blouse. But if I were to hit the big time, I’d reward myself with a trip to London.


  4. This is one of those instances you say “Why didn’t I think of that?” It’s a great idea and one I plan to put in place. There are always things you’d like that you refuse to spend money on. What a delight to reward yourself with it for a job well done. Thanks for a great post!


  5. Rewards are nice and I love that you choose things that have special meaning. I reward myself all the time, just not at the level you are at, but something to work toward. Doris


  6. I don’t think I specifically rewarded myself for having new books out, Travis, but I love the idea. I love even better the concept that I can say to my husband “…but all the authors I know buy something wonderful when they have a book launch!” That has a great ring to it. 😉 Your book and card collection will hopefully be added to very soon. Great post for a tired author who right now seems to be doing nothing but marketing my books in between family/quality time. Rewards..hmmm??


  7. Dear Travis, I totally agree with you. As writers we are sometimes bombarded by rejections. Not an easy task, considering that many people in our day to day lives don’t really understand the whole “writing thing.” I have to say that the rejections don’t cut as deep any more. It’s the life we have chosen and it comes with the territory of writing. Like you, I often reward myself with some little thing that reminds me that there are better days a’comin’
    Good post. Enjoyed.


  8. I have a husband with an addiction to all things electronic and a 13 year old daughter so I tend to come last in the money spending/rewarding yourself category. Like many of the others, I haven’t really thought about it that way. Hmmm. I have a novel published and a short story. I need to put my thinking cap on when it comes to a reward. 🙂 Thanks for the idea and great post.


  9. Early on I would celebrate my books/stories with a dinner out; now I’m saving for a trip (and paying off debt!) in 2015 when my husband and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. I also donate to more worthy causes that I’ve wanted to support for a long time. I think it’s good to reward ourselves as well as help others because you’re right: writing is HARD WORK! Great post, Travis!


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