How Using Stickers Saved My Writing Productivity

Posted May 9, 2016 by Briana in Productivity / 12 Comments

How Using Stickers Saved My Writing ProductivityI love following other writers on Twitter. It’s great to get to see other authors’ processes and methods for writing productivity. I’ve mentioned how Twitter can be useful for writers before, but in case you’re still not sold on the idea, let me share a more concrete example.
I’m not sure where exactly the idea came from—whose tweet sparked my inspiration—but a year or two ago, I discovered a unique method for increasing writing productivity. Various authors were posting pictures of paper calendars covered with stickers. Often, there were multiple stickers on different days, or different colors with different meanings. The authors using this method usually posted some kind of key with their pictures, revealing what the number and color of stickers stood for. Most of them even used this method for editing.

It seemed so simple that I was convinced it wouldn’t work. I shoved the idea to the back of my mind. I would find another way.

Flash forward to last month. I happened upon a pack of cute summer-themed stickers in Target’s Dollar Spot, and grabbed them up right away. I was in the middle of a writing slump and had tried almost everything. What could the sticker method hurt?

When I got home, I decided on a simple system—one sticker each day I made some progress in my WIP. Even if I only wrote a sentence, that would translate to a sticker. And you know what? It worked.

I couldn’t believe it. Halfway through the month of April, I realized I’d written almost every single day utilizing this method. And now into May, as you can see from the picture, I’m still going strong. I’ve even bought some more stickers to use once these are gone!

Am I crazy? Maybe. Is this childish? Probably. But guess what—it does challenge me to keep writing each day. Every single day, in order to earn a sticker, I have to get words down. And that keeps me going.

The next time you’re stuck, consider trying something as silly as the sticker method. Don’t be too surprised if it ends up working out.

What are your tips for writing productivity? How do you stay motivated to keep your writing schedule?

Tweet tweet:

How do you stay motivated while #amwriting? @brianawrites shares a surprising method that worked for her. (Click to tweet)


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12 responses to “How Using Stickers Saved My Writing Productivity

  1. I’m a fiend for sticker motivation! I wonder if it comes from childhood, where excellent work garnered stickers on tests and gold stars for behaviour and whatnot. Whenever I do 30-day challenges (like yoga), I motivate myself with stickers. When I was a part-time university student a few summers ago, I used stickers to stay on top of things.
    My most important tool for productivity is a bullet journal. I’ve modified the original guidelines found on the bulletjournal.com to suit my needs I think it beats a traditional dated (or undated) planner because I can use it on the days when I need it. I didn’t use it yesterday, which means that there was no wasted or empty space for May 8 in my planner.

    The #WriteChain challenge on Writerology has been keeping my motivated this month, particularly with getting daily writing done. I’m thinking of modifying it, though, so it has a more tangible “chain”–maybe I’ll use stickers in a bullet journal habit tracker!

    • I think you mentioned the bullet journal to me before! I’m definitely interested in trying that method out. I have so much going on in my life and I think it would help me stay on top of things. I definitely recommend stickers, though–they’re so much fun!

      • I just started a bullet journal and I’m using it less for it’s actual purpose, and more for the daily habit tracker. It works best if you a) have something notable happen each day, and b) actually look at it *every* day. My middle of the work-week is busy so that for 3 days all I do is go to work, come home, then go back. So, nothing to note, and I don’t pick up the journal. But, when I do find time to write/read/go to yoga, I color in a square on my tracker — and stickers would work here, too! If I made my boxes bigger. But what’s great is, you’re making it yourself, so next month, I’m just going to draw bigger boxes. Win.

  2. Blaise Haddow

    Reward systems like this make me happy, generally speaking. They can be so encouraging! I personally I have never tried the sticker method (though I am now seriously tempted to) but I’ve recently (as in less than a week ago) become a little addicted to Habitica. There’s something about gaining experience for writing that I think will act as encouragement as I move forward. Are you familiar with it?

      • Blaise Haddow

        That’s fair. I have it on the homescreen of the my phone, so I’m constantly seeing it, and I open it immediately on my laptop. So far it’s working for me, but I don’t have a ridiculously busy schedule at the moment so it may just be easier to keep track of it. How do you remind yourself to use the calendar? I find I forget to update the ones I have.

        • It’s near my desk, which faces my bedroom door. As a result, it’s the first thing I see when I walk into the room. And now, I’ve been using the stickers for so long that it’s become a habit. I feel like I HAVE to keep the calendar updated!

  3. Oh my goodness, I LOVE this idea, Briana! I use check lists a lot and always feel rewarded when I check an item off, so I think this method might work well for me. Plus, stickers are more exciting than check marks haha. I need to try this! Thanks for sharing 🙂