When I began teaching, I was thrilled at how intrinsically motivated my third-graders were. They were excited about learning new things and I did my best to nurture their passion. There was a lot of discussion and controversy at the time about giving rewards to students for learning and how it could affect them in the future. It seemed to me as a novice teacher that rewarding students with prizes or parties could diminish their natural, intrinsic motivation and they would learn and work hard only if there was some kind of tangible reward.
As a new author with my first published book out in the world and working on my second, I am finding that rewards go a long way in motivating me to work even harder — on my writing, my marketing, virtually my whole writing career. My granddaughter Leah recently asked me if I was going to get rich from my book. I smiled and told her no, and explained that wasn’t why I wrote and published, that I love writing and telling a story and am just happy people are reading my book. The rewards that motivate me are not as tangible as money.
I was contacted recently by Prudence Brighton, a freelance writer who wanted to interview me for a feature article in The Lowell Sun. This was my first interview as an author. Yesterday, I had a telephone interview with Angie Sykeny, a reporter from HippoPress, a New Hampshire weekly. Discussing and answering questions about A Better Life, talking about the story, the characters, my writing process, my background, was an incredibly motivating reward.
I am forever grateful to and motivated by everyone who takes the time to read and discuss my novel, my blog, and the articles that will soon appear in The Lowell Sun and HippoPress, with hopefully more to come. I was wrong all those years ago when I believed motivation had to come totally from within. There can be a beautiful balance.