An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Merit Badges for Writers

Why don’t we have these already? At a writers’ gathering last weekend, we  talked about milestones, and how much fun it would be to have achievement badges to wear to our writerly events. Perhaps a sash like a Girl Scout’s, adorned with badges like these:

  • NANOWRIMO win badge, for those who muscle through 50K words of a novel in one month.
  • “The End” badge, for completing a manuscript
  • A badge with a red pen and an eraser–for completing that phase of writing
  • Beta Read badges, one color for acting as a beta reader, another for getting a beta read of your completed manuscript
  • Writer’s Conference attendance
  • In-person agent/editor pitch–very scary!
  • Queries/submissions sent: 25, 50, 75, 100, more?
  • Rejection letters received: 25, 50, 75, 100, more?
  • Genre badges, for completing a book-length manuscript in a new genre. (So far, I’d have only three: cozy mystery, women’s fiction, romance.)
  • Short-story badge, for completing multiples of ten. Ditto poems. Ditto essays and articles.
  • Author web-page up and running. (I’m working on this badge now.)
  • First live author event: book launch party, book signing, etc.
  • 10K hours of writing. Thanks to Malcolm Gladwell, most of us are familiar with the idea that it takes that many hours of deliberate practice to achieve greatness in any field. I’m about half-way there.
  • Maybe a reading badge? Reading in the genres we write helps polish our skills, so we could earn a badge for reading and reviewing, say, a score of good books in the genre. Books in the did-not-finish pile don’t count.
  • How about a badge for 25, 50, 75, 100 blog posts?
  • Entering 10, 25, etc. writing contests
  • Getting an agent
  • Publishing stories/poems/articles in journals and elsewhere
  • Reading your work at an open-mic event (I just earned this one.)
  • Teaching a writing class/workshop
  • And the biggest, shiniest badge of all: Publishing a book!

That’s as far as my coffee will propel my brain this morning. What merit badges can you add to the list? And which entrepreneur will step up and manufacture these? What a great gift for writers!


9 thoughts on “An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Merit Badges for Writers

  1. Olga Godim

    I love the idea. Would have to have a special page on my site for the badges – they wouldn’t fit on the sidebar. Besides, the collection would always grow. Maybe in the footer? Have to experiment. 🙂

  2. Pingback: An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Merit Badges for Writers — Late Blooming Rose | Writer's Zen Blog

    1. admin Post author

      Nice idea for a webpage, but I’m talking about real, physical, embroidered badges you could attach to clothing and wear in public. A great conversation-starter for writers’ events.

  3. Kathy

    Love this! I’m telling you, this idea is gold. You should totally do this and sell on Etsy. I bet you’d make a pretty penny. 🙂

  4. Andrea Lundgren

    This would be so much fun! If someone could make nifty badges, I bet writers would buy them. They’d make great conversation starters, if nothing else.

    If you ever need help on your getting an agent badge or editing a manuscript badge (or getting a cover for a book badge), you might check out our Writers Club here, It partners with publishing professionals to help authors, wherever they are in their journeys, and it offers free editing, cover designs, and query critiques for members. 🙂


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