Celebrate Your Creativity

Host J. Alexander Greenwood of the Mysterious Goings On Podcast interviewed me a couple of weeks ago and one of his questions and my response, inspired this post. If you haven’t listened to the podcast, go ahead. I’ll wait… Thanks for listening. Can you guess what inspired this post? It was my last comments about my belief that nearly everyone is creative. And that we, society in the USA, don’t value creativity very much. Even a lot of creative people don’t value their creativity as much as they might, myself included. If that’s true, then what are ways you can value creativity more? Celebrate your creativity.

Image shows a colorful fireworks exploding above a cityscape, we celebrate many things but rarely do we celebrate creativity.

We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, new jobs, graduations (particularly this time of year), and the purchase of a new house or car. But we rarely celebrate smaller accomplishments. When was the last time you celebrated writing a page of words? Did you celebrate trying a new twist on an old recipe? Or how about the color you painted on the wall? You wrote a piece of coding that did more than the customer asked is a creative solution. Celebrate.

Why Celebrate the Small Creative Wins?

It’s easy to berate ourselves for mistakes or errors and not just call them failures, but label ourselves as failures. Our caveman DNA means we are on the lookout for problems 24/7. But in modern times, when the problem isn’t a saber-toothed tiger wanting to eat you, we sometimes see ourselves as the problem. And when we don’t celebrate the small wins “we end up diminishing our motivation, and motivation is what keeps us on the right path and gives us the strength to soldier on to the top of the mountain.” (lifehack.org)

You can’t acknowledge what you’ve done if you don’t track your progress. Track it in a journal or on the calendar or by scratching off items on a to-do list. Acknowledging what you’ve done helps you see progress, especially in long projects. Celebrating your accomplishments gives you a dopamine hit, which increases your desire to work on the next step to get another hit. Not only that, when you increase your dopamine, you increase your pleasure and your happiness throughout the day. Celebrating the small successes gets us “addicted to progress” because we want to repeat that dopamine hit. We want to feel that pleasure and happiness.

The progress principle: Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run.”

Havard Business Review

We are wired to respond to rewards… it’s another way how our brain works. So those small-step celebrations boost our self-esteem and our self-confidence. When we feel better about ourselves and our projects, our productivity increases.  

The positive psychology research has shown that celebrating the small wins, the small accomplishments, and more frequently has a bigger impact than waiting for that one big thing to celebrate. It keeps you engaged. It helps you to remember that you’re on a path that’s working and you feel good when you get a chance to celebrate the small thing.”

Denise Stromme, University of Minnesota Extension.

How to Reward Yourself

Collage image including an image of one daisy, two star flowers, and a bouquet of pink and purple tulips demonstrating graduated rewards for your creativity.

The trick in rewarding yourself is to make it meaningful, but also to keep it tied to the progress you’re making. 

How do you do that? You create small-step goals. For example, use things you consider rewards, but it would work something like this: a coffee at the end of the week of successes, an hour of television at the end of the month, and a fancy dinner out at the end of the quarter. 

If you have a goal aversion, tie your rewards to your efforts. Three hours of focused work on the project earns a reward. Six hours win a bigger reward, etc. Up the “ante” of your rewards proportional to the amount of effort or work you’ve accomplished. 

Got it? So what do you use for rewards?

Reward Your Creativity

Photograph of a woman silhouetted jumping for joy against a sunrise demonstrating another way to celebrate your creativity.

Your rewards don’t have to cost money. They do have to be specific to you, feel like a reward to you. Still need examples? There are literally thousands of ways you can reward yourself.

  • Raise your arms in triumph and literally jump for joy.
  • Give yourself a gold star. X number of stars and you get a “bigger” reward.
  • Write yourself a note of praise.
  • A cup of your favorite beverage (like coffee or chai latte).
  • A window shopping trip.
  • TA trip to a museum or zoo or a movie.
  • An accessory—jewelry or scarf or fancy belt buckle or shoes.
  • An extra half hour of sleep.
  • A long bubble bath.
  • An extra hour of reading.
  • An hour of watching stupid pet tricks on YouTube. 
  • Watching an episode of your favorite reality show.
  • An extra play date with your kids or pets.
  • An occasional dinner out can be a reward
  • Tickets to the next game played by your favorite local sports team
  • Play a video game or a game of hopscotch.

One caution: don’t reward yourself when you haven’t done the work. That doesn’t mean you can never have a dinner out or play a video game except as a reward. It means be aware of what your “fix” is. If you get addicted to the reward (a glass of wine, or a favorite food—chocolate anyone?), then your focus isn’t on the goal (finishing the painting or the sweater you’re knitting.) 

What happens when you celebrate your creativity? 

You may feel awkward or dismissive of the celebration the first time you celebrate your creative small step. Remind yourself that your creativity is of value to you and to others. You earned the reward because you did something creative. 

Besides feeling better about your creativity, you are giving your creativity positive feedback. And that positive feedback perks your creativity up and leads to another idea and another. So celebrate your creativity. Heck, spread the joy and help another creative celebrate their creativity. Let’s change our corner of the world and teach ourselves and others how to value creativity.

What’s one way you’ll celebrate your creativity today?

Celebrate and Win Every day

You know that game you play on your cell phone? You get frustrated that it’s so hard or that you can’t win but you play it anyway, don’t you? Do you know why you play the game? Because you get to celebrate and win every day. 

The Science

Whenever you have a positive, rewarding stimulus (like winning a game, or sex, or even a tasty meal) your brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine. It enhances the anticipation of pleasure. This causes us to do more of this pleasurable activity. In fact, dopamine’s nickname is the “feel good” neurotransmitter. 

Dopamine helps with movement and has other functions as well, but brain science is complex so I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty details.

If you would like more detailed explanations you can read watch the short version in this youtube video. Or read this University Health News article.

The downside of dopamine is that it is also released for some people when they drink alcohol or take drugs. This is part of the reason addiction is very difficult to treat. 

Hack Your Body

You can “hack” your body and help motivate yourself by triggering the release of dopamine. If you celebrate even the small wins, you will release a bit of dopamine and win every day. 

How do you do it? Pick three things you accomplished each day. You got out of bed, got dressed, and fed yourself—give yourself a dopamine hit by celebrating what you did. 

Ah, but you say—if I reward myself every day for jobs done, I’ll go broke (or get fat). Rewards don’t have to cost you calories or money. Let me give you an example.

My Rewards Hack

This weekend I finished the edits on Fellowship and sent it to the proofreader on time. Yay! My body doesn’t need any extra calories and my budget has little room for extras so how to celebrate? 

At first, I lazed around. Nice, but not terribly rewarding somehow. 

I’d been planning to write a post about rewards and dopamine. When I sat down to write today’s post, I realized I already had a calorie-free and cost-free way to reward myself. 

Virtual Shopping

I have a Pinterest board where I collect things for my “fantasy home and garden.”

The rules for my fantasy home and garden virtual shopping trip is—cost is no object. It requires over-the-top, let’s-have-fun items. So today I went shopping. 

My Rewards 

Robby the Robot

Image of Robby the Robot, one of my virtual rewards to celebrate and win every day


Seven feet tall, Robby is “created from the same blueprints, molds, and templates used to create the original movie-prop costume.” He is pre-programmed. He’ll rotate his head, spin his gyro stabilizers, and twirl his scanners. Various lights will flash exactly as seen in the film. He can deliver his most famous lines from the movie in that distinctive “Robby the Robot” voice.  You can even project your own voice or connect him to your home theater system. Wouldn’t he be fun at a party?

Live-in Housekeeper/Caregiver

$100,000 / year

This would be a double duty job. No house cleaning for me! And someone to help my husband with meals and activities of daily living when I’m out of town. I plan on lots of book signing tours (if you’re going to dream…) I’ll take two Rosie the Robots, please.

A Private Chef

Image of Emeril Lagasse, my virtual choice for a private chef. a way to celebrate and win everyday.

$100,000,000 (est.) / year

Nutritious, well-prepared meals served to us every day? Now, I wouldn’t want Gordon Ramsey, though he may be a perfectly nice man in person. I’ll take one Emeril Lagasse, please. He’ll come in a prepare one or two meals a day—What’s not to love? 

A House


I love my neighborhood so I’d want rebuild on our lot. It would be a larger, more luxurious house with a basement apartment for my live-in house cleaner. But I’m having a hard time deciding if I’d want a palace or an ultra-modern, Jetson home.

Five Person Exploration Submarine

Image of a red, fiver person exploration submarine--another virtual reward so I can celebrate and win every day.


This baby sub comes with “comprehensive training.” It can descend to a depth of 656 feet and cruise at a maximum submerged speed of 2 1/2 knots (4 knots surface). I can’t wait to see the reefs and sea life around my private island!

A Private Island


Rangyai Island, Thailand is for sale now. It’s 110 acres in size. The island comes complete with fresh water, electric generator, and mobile signal. It’s only twenty minutes from Phuket International Airport. Or you can take a ten minute boat trip to the nearest town. (I gotta admit, the name of the closest city attracted me—but it’s not what you think. The way to pronounce Phuket is Poo-ket.)


The reality is, I can’t afford a single one of those things but it is nice to dream. For me, this virtual shopping trip cost nothing but fun. And that’s where the dopamine comes in. 

If you’re feeling like this isn’t for you, you might want to read “You Have the Right to Feel Good About Yourself.”

Maybe a virtual shopping trip isn’t your thing. But I’ll bet you can find your own virtual reward. Perhaps you already know what yours is. Tell me how you hack your body’s dopamine hist and celebrate and win every day.

It’s Time We Honor Our Indigenous People

Today in furthering my discussion of time, I’m honoring Indigenous People’s Day. What has that to do with time, you ask? It’s time we honor our indigenous people not just with pictures but with time spent learning and honoring. They are people we have abused, misused, and ignored for far too long.

It's time we honor our indigenous people. Not just with pictures but with time spent learning and honoring them.

Did you expect pictures of Native American’s in their headgear or in teepees? This day needs to honor all Native American’s and not all Native American’s wore headdresses or slept in teepees. Learn more at the links below.

If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.  Stephen Hawking


Wikipedia describes what Indigenous People’s Day and how it came about.

If you think it’s about time we honor our indigenous people, check to see if your city has a plan to celebrate. Here is a list of cities and states that celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.

Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Chief Seattle


Did you know there is a National Museum of the American Indians? Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the NMAI cares for one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native artifacts. There are three facilities: one on the National Mall in Washington D.C., The George Gustav Heye Center (GGHC) in New York City, and The Cultural Resources Center (CRC) in Suitland, Maryland.

The website for the NMAI includes a Did You Know page among many other interesting facts and pictures.

Time. Like a petal in the wind, Flows softly by.

As old lives are taken, New ones begin.

A continual chain, Which lasts throughout eternity.

Every life but a minute in time,

But each of equal importance. Cindy Cheney

10 Ways to Honor Indigenous People

Honoring a people or a race for the abuses they suffered and the contributions they’ve made to this nation, this earth, is not divisive. Acknowledgment of our differences and the things that make us the same is important. It’s something that every human being deserves. This article lists 10 ways to honor indigenous people.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

We are all different. And, we are all the same. It’s about time we honor our Indigenous People in America and in the world.

Celebrate With Me!

The redesign of this website is done and I think it looks FABULOUS, don’t you? Many, many thanks go to web maven Laird Sapir of Memphis McKay for her patience in working with me. Completion of the redesign is worthy of a celebration all by itself, but I don’t want to party by myself. Come on! Celebrate with me! Lynette M. Burrows science fiction author; Lynette M. Burrows action-suspense science fiction author


Tell me, what makes you:

Jump for Joy?

Lynette M. Burrows, author, Lynette M. Burrows action-suspense science fiction, author,
Jump for Joy by Xelcise courtesy of fickr commons


Sing Along?

Dance in the Sand?

Lynette M. Burrows, science fiction author; Lynette M. Burrows author action suspense science fiction
Ring Around the Beach by adwriter courtesy of Flickr Commons


“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey

So come on! Celebrate with me. Share what you are celebrating.

Happy Birthday, WANA1011

I am grateful for the calendar. What? Did I just say that? Yes, I did. Without the calendar, I would not be able to mark this week, this birthday. Happy birthday, WANA1011.Happy Birthday WANA 1011 scroll

Did you know that birthdays weren’t celebrated until after the calendar was perfected? Once there was a calendar, then the days had to be named. Historians credit the ancient Egyptians with creating a calendar whose days were named after their gods and goddesses. Each day then had significance – it portended good or bad things.

The WANA1011 Meet

October 3, 2011, must have been a day that portended lots of good things. That was the day I downloaded Lesson One of “Blogging for Author Brand” taught by Kristen Lamb. I wasn’t the only one. There were one hundred of us in that class. All of us had a reason to blog, all of us had heard of Kristen, the queen of social media, author of the best selling book, _We Are Not Alone_. Many of us were writers, some had published, others hadn’t. Geographically we were all over the map, literally.

Following Kristen’s guidance we learned to blog, we learned to use social media: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. I don’t think even Kristen knew what an amazing group of people had gathered for this class. I don’t remember for certain, but I think Kristen started calling us her WANA1011 class. WANA1011 became our hashtag on Twitter and our flag to rally beneath.

The Best Part

Now, I learned a lot of valuable things in Kristen’s class. A year has passed since I started this blog: 365 days, 67 posts, and more than 51,000 words in those posts. All of those are worthy causes for celebration, but there’s something even more important to celebrate. The support, the encouragement, the friendship I have gained from the WANA1011 class, a group of amazing people, far outweigh any price that class could have cost. Happy Birthday, WANA1011!