Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I still want the sticker, dammit

Election day has come and gone. Sort of. In Oregon, we’re still waiting on the final tally in a disturbingly close governor’s race, but voting itself has ended.

Voting is an interesting endeavor in this state. Since 1998, we’ve voted exclusively by mail. That means we have no polling places, no long lines, no hanging chads. You get your ballot in the mail well in advance, and if the mood strikes, you’re free to cast your vote naked in your kitchen three weeks before election day.

Despite that freedom, guess what I find myself doing the morning ballots are due?

There I am, sitting there in my car, waiting in line for my turn at the drive-through ballot drop-off.

It’s not that I’m indecisive. I’m quite politically active, and always know the candidates and measures well enough to cast my vote early.

It’s not even that I’m lazy (though truth be told, I am).

What it comes down to is the sticker. The one that says “I voted.” It’s the equivalent of the gold star at the top of your paper in grade school, and dammit, I want one.

Alas, they don’t always dole them out. Yesterday was one such morning, and it made me a lot sadder than it ought to.

There’s something about that tangible atta girl that I crave. I’m not talking about the little gifts you buy for yourself when you achieve a milestone (though I’m a big fan of this method of motivation).

I’m talking about little acknowledgments from other people that you’ve accomplished something.

OK, so filling out a dozen little bubbles on a ballot isn’t a huge accomplishment, but it certainly extends to writing. When I type “the end” on a manuscript or finish a particularly grueling scene, I still crave that little gold star.

It’s one of many things I love about having critique partners and writing buddies. We can cheer each other’s accomplishments, offering stickers and encouraging words to celebrate major and minor feats.

Do you crave little rewards or acknowledgments to mark major accomplishments in life or in writing? Please share.

While you’re at it, please let me know how I should break it to my agent and my agency sistah that I failed in my bid to get them elected to the Soil and Water Conservation District in my county. I fear they’ll be crushed.

17 comments :

Linda G. said...

Let's cut to the chase -- did I win? Will I have access to a slush fund? Because I could use a slushie. ;)

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I did notice that Facebook had a sticker button yesterday you could use if you voted, so maybe that counts. I'm the same way with donating blood. Our blood bank gives out stickers that say "Be nice to me I donated blood today". They even give you "I tried to donate" stickers if you are too anemic or something. Alas, I didn't get to vote yesterday because our polls closed at 6 p.m. and I didn't get home from work in time. So I don't get to gripe for another year.

Patty Blount said...

Since I was a little girl, stickers and other positive reinforcement have always worked wonders on my attitude.

Now that I'm OLD (Harley!), I am pretty good about providing my own positive reinforcement but it's still great when it comes from an external source, like a boss, a peer or - *crosses all appendages* a group of teens critiquing SEND.

I didn't get an I VOTED sticker, but I did get a phone call from my son who said, "Mom! Guess what!? I voted for the first time! It was cool."

That was some positive reinforcement, let me tell you.

Candyland said...

I need the rewards too. They make me feel accomplished. Without that damn sticker, you're nothing, Tawna. Nothing, I say.

Matthew AT Banning said...

I usually settle for the Barracuda (my beta reader) to snap my Chapters when I'm done with them. I love getting back her sarcastic replied on how good my chapters in my book are.

Lately ... She's been too busy to sent them back :'(

Matthew Rush said...

I knew I could count on you to toss some nudity in. I'll now go back and read the rest.

Matthew Rush said...

Hmm. I won't get into my own personal politics online ... but I will say this: Being from Seattle, which, while being a little more urban than Oregon, is still the beautiful, emerald, granola, liberal PNW, and now living in the sea of red that is north GA? It's a little frustrating. I don't vote by party, but around here everyone does. And it's pretty much just the one party.

Not that the other one is much better ... and now I am getting into politics. What am I thinking?

I do hear you about the rewards, it is nice to get some recognition, but personally writing is pretty solitary for me. Especially novel writing. I mean I share some short stories and stuff online, and it's nice to hear what others think, but it's weird with my novel. I don't share it with anyone unless I really respect their opinion and I want some real honest feedback.

End rant.

Thanks Tawna!

Lisa_Gibson said...

Bummer man! I even get a sticker in my mail in ballot. Yay! :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Douglas Morrison said...

ICE CREAM! My personal gold star, at-a-boy. ICE CREAM! Is also my way of consolation. ICE CREAM! On St. Swithun's Day, Ground Hog day, Tree Day, Doug Got A New Tire Day... I think I'm in a rut? ICE CREAM!

Great blog as always!

DougM

Leigh Royals said...

I don't care for the sticker, only because I don't want to get into politics at work. (Medical field, run into too many patients.)
But when I got home, saw on my daughter's homework that if she brought in an "I voted sticker" she'd get a treat, I felt like I let her down. So, on that note, I agree with the reinforcement.
Oh well.

lora96 said...

Intrinsic motivation is kind of crap. I need the stickers.

I usually go vote at 7am so I can wear my sticker to work and pontificate to my class about how important voting is while I show off my smugness.

This year I had to go after work but I *did* get the sticker. And my mom was voting right after me, popped her ballot in the machine and went to leave. I grabbed her sleeve and went, "You wait right there, missy, you didn't get a sticker!"

cuz those are IMPORTANT to those of us who need praise for participating in the governance of the republic.

Dr. Goose said...

The only sticker I don't like wearing is the name tag with my scribbled hand writing. It means I'm in a room full of starngers.

Susan Spann said...

Maybe you could send THEM a sticker? (I'm thinking of one that says "YAY, I didn't get elected to public office!")

By the way - I not only like my sticker, I wear it. It goes back to my son's kindergarten, where the kids considered it a status symbol to have their parents come to pick them up with an "I Voted" sticker. I had to go back out to the car, unfold mine (fortunately I hadn't tossed it) and come back in with proof I had voted before he would leave with me.

I haven't dared to come home without it since. (It's been 10 years. It made a lasting impression.)

Tawna Fenske said...

Linda G, I'll call the County Clerk's office tomorrow and see if there's been some mistake. I think you'd make a fine Soil and Water Conservation District representative!

Teri Anne, aw, I missed the Facebook sticker? I'll have to remember this when the next election rolls around.

Patty, my mom used to put a new sticker in my lunchbox every morning. Best. Thing. Ever.

Candyland, how about if I mail you a sticker and then you mail me one?

Matthew AT Banning, yes, but does she put a little gold star on her favorite pages?

Matthew Rush, there have been brief periods when we've kicked around the idea of moving to a state where the cost of living is lower. No matter what, we always end up deciding that we'd never be happy in a heavily red state.

Lisa, they send you a sticker in the mail? Lucky!

Douglas, do different flavors go with different accomplishments?

Leigh, well you don't have to say HOW you voted :) Pythagoras actually works in an environment where everyone always asks, and his politics don't generally line up with what the organization as a whole believes. A little tricky sometimes.

lora96, steal me an extra sticker next time, OK?

Dr. Goose, or it means you're back in pre-school. That seems likely.

Susan, good idea giving them a sticker. I'll have to make one up!

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I like this post. I think that everyone wants recognition, because it's one of the things that makes us feel that our accomplishments mean something.
I think if I accomplished something in life or in writing it'd be nice to get a free book that I end up liking. Whenever I read good books it makes me want to keep writing.

Douglas Morrison said...

Here is just a short list:

Full Throttle Sherbet – When I cut exotic woods… and I have ten fingers afterward (Warning: may cause teeth grinding)

Fudge Ripple, with Bifidus Regularis – When I want to be just a “regular” guy

Key Lime – After a Jimmy Buffet marathon (hammock included, outside: optional)

Rocky Road – after a date with an Ex (adding Advil sprinkles: optional)

Mocha Madness – When I finished editing Devin Briar (My left eye still twitches…)

Strawberry – When my Mom calls

Chocolate Wonder – During my Mom’s call (I put her on speaker, and say “Really?” every ten minutes)

Drano Surprise – When my Mom’s call hits the two hour mark

Caramel Crunch – After Google analytics said I reached my 40th country, keeping my schedule to rule the world… If I could only get Togo!

:-) DougM

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