The Power of Smiley Faces (Anna Staniszewski)

I love November. Even though I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year, I can still feel the creative energy in the air. So this October, I decided to get an early start on that creative push and jumped into drafting the third book in the My Very UnFairy Tale series. I used a NaNo model but added my own twist. Behold: The power of smiley faces!

My goal for the first draft was 30k words. I downloaded a calendar for October to keep track of the daily word count, and on days when I reached that word count I rewarded myself with a happy, motivating smiley face. Sounds goofy, but it really helped to keep me on track.

I'll be honest: there were a few days when I didn't meet my word count goal, but instead of putting a frowny face (which would have been a little depressing) I just left the day blank and told myself that tomorrow I would catch up. And you know, what? It worked. 

This was the first time I was able to capture the momentum of NaNo on my own--I'd tried keeping track of word count before, but it never quite worked. Of course, the fact that I'm on deadline for this book helped to keep me motivated, but a little smiley reinforcement certainly made it more fun and a bit less daunting.

So what's the smiley lesson here? Life is always going to try to pull you away from your goals. That's why you have to find tricks to keep yourself going, even if that means popping open some champagne or adopting a puppy every time you meet your goal. Whatever it takes, right? :-)


  1. Nothing like a little postive reinforcement! :)

  2. Great idea, Anna, and less fattening than chocolate!

  3. I tried the adopt a puppy thing. Not really helping my productivity...

    1. Ha! Well, keep trying. You'll find the right method. Maybe adopting lemurs instead?

  4. If you make it a kitten, I'm in! :)

  5. I might have a little touchdown dance I do when I meet a goal...


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