Monthly Archives: December 2017

Results for This Year’s Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Some of you might know that this year, for the second time, I have submitted one of my books with the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. As in last year, I haven’t won anything.

But once again the grades and the feedback from the judges was amazing!

Here are the results:

Entry Title: 5 Minute Perseverance Game: Play Daily for a Month and Become the Ultimate Procrastination Breaker

Author: Victoria Ichizli-Bartels

Judge Number: 39

Entry Category: Inspirational

A few quick notes~

  • Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.
  • The 1-5 scale is strictly to provide a point of reference; the scores are meant only to be a gauge, and are not a cumulative score, nor are they tallied or used in ranking.
  • A “0” is not a negative score. Our online review system only recognizes numerals during this portion of logging evaluations.As a result, we’ve substituted a “0” in place of “N/A” when the particular portion of the evaluation simply does not apply to the particular entry, based on the entry genre. For example, a book of poetry, a cookbook, or a travel guide would not necessarily have a “Plot and Story Appeal, and may therefore receive a “0” – indicating that the rating was not applicable.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 0

Character Appeal and Development: 0

Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary (Judge, 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards):

5 MINUTE PERSEVERANCE GAME by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels is an inspiring book that, if followed, will help people with the tendency to put projects off to accomplish their goals in five-minute increments. The style of writing is friendly and non-judgmental and will uplift those who read it with its encouragement alone. I like how the author feels like a buddy as well as a teacher. This book is suitable for all ages, so whether you’re an adult finally admitting you procrastinate, or if you are a parent with a child you need to encourage to get things done (such as cleaning their space!) then this book can be useful. The cover design is colorful and creative. The slimness of the volume will encourage people who need the book. After all, it takes more than reading to tackle a problem! The call to action on the back will get readers moving. I like the author bio and picture. Her background is intriguing and we feel we can trust her to help us! For some reason, this book seems to scream for illustrations. We read 18 pages before getting to the actual game, though I do appreciate the encouraging talk. The game itself isn’t really a game, but simply the suggestion of working in five-minute increments to accomplish a task. But the buildup will help motivate readers, and that’s a good thing!”


You can imagine my excitement and motivation when I saw that my book got graded as outstanding in all relevant categories in its genre. The commentary it got gave me more insight what the judge found valuable.

I am immensely grateful to all who helped this book come true. Some of these supporters got a separate e-mail from me with the news some time ago. But I would like again to shout out to the brilliant editor and amazing cover designer for this book, Alice Jago, who is also an exceptional illustrator. I am excited that we will continue working on many future projects together. If you are a self-publishing writer and look for a cover designer or illustrator for your book, I strongly recommend Alice’s services.

A small spoiler-alert: the next book on gamification will have illustrations also inside the book. With this, I am following the judge’s advice above. I can’t wait to see how this will evolve. The content development is well on the way. Check out the following categories on the Self-Gamification blog to find out more:

Business Blog Category Becomes Self-Gamification

I would like to inform all subscribers to my blog posts in Business and Writing blog categories on the changes that I made today.

The blog Business changed now to Self-Gamification, the term I use for the gameful approach I use to project, time and my life’s management.

I try to approach all areas of my life gamefully, and this includes my work and my business. Therefore all former Business blog posts remain in this category. Apart from that, I moved the 5 Minute Perseverance Game blog posts into this main blog category. They won’t be under Writing category as they were before, at least most of them won’t be, because the 5 Minute Perseverance Game and other derivatives of this game have to do more with project and time management than purely with writing.

I hope these changes won’t bring any inconveniences to you and will continue to bring value to you as well as make you smile and help enjoy whatever you do.

Please don’t hesitate to ask me whatever questions you have on this. You can contact me at

P.S.: There is more to come on self-gamification. And I am excited to share these projects with you in the coming year.

P.P.S. from March 20, 2018. I have renamed this blog category into Self-Gamification and Business to include the pure business sub-categories of this blog into its title.

Credits: Photograph © under the keyword “dice.”

Contributing to Mekon’s Bitesize on Business Rules – 13: brDoc Schema: Why is there a brDecision Occurence outside of the brPara?

When you read an earlier issue of S1000D, you come upon a question disguised as an affirmative sentence, stating what a project has to do. But you still recognize it as a question, which you have to answer when defining a business rule. Since the Issue 4.0, these are even more distinguishable since they start with the words Business Rules Decision Point.

But when you look at the new business rules document (brDoc) Schema, defined in the S1000D Issue 4.2 you will see that there is a construct to markup a business rules decision without a decision point preceding it. What does that one stand for?

In this month’s contribution to the Mekon’s BR Bitesize series, I address this feature in the article brDoc Schema: Why is there a brDecision Occurrence outside of the brPara? Click on the title of the article or here to find out more.

(Credits: Photograph © under the keyword decision)

Why is a Simple Scoring System Enough for Gamifying One’s Life; And Results of the November Round of the 5 Minute Perseverance Game

A note beforehand: This blog post applies both to writers and entrepreneurs, and therefore I am attributing it to both Business and Writing blogs on my website. Thus, if you signed to both of these two blogs, then you will get the notification about this article twice. I apologize for this inconvenience.


When I share the 5 Minute Perseverance Game with others, people often ask me how I reward myself in this game. When I tell them about the simple scoring system I use, they ask me “Is that all?”

First time I was asked this question and looked confused in reply, my friend clarified and gave a few examples how she does it: by eating a small piece of chocolate or at the end of a big task, she buys herself something.

I heard similar scenarios many times and even read about them.

After getting similar questions again and after writing last month’s article (5 Minute Perseverance Game: Results of the October Round and Editing plus Revision by Someone else), I stopped and contemplated. Why was gathering points enough for me? Why didn’t I see an occasional espresso I make for myself several times a day as a reward for the project work? Why did I consider it and other similar rewards instead as sweet indulgences and even as activities worthy of giving myself additional points?

After some thought, I realized what that was. If I would reward myself with something material or costing money (like a trip to the Bahamas or to a cinema), then I would not regard my projects as a game, or a part of a game. I would see them then as something hard to do, something requiring considerable effort.

When we agree to play a game, either a board game or one online, we usually don’t expect a material reward. I am consciously leaving the gambling aside here, since the stress factor there take those games out of the true game definition, or at least makes them another type of game altogether.

When we agree to play a board game, for example, with our children or our partner or a friend, all we want to do is to score more or less than he or she does, depending on the definition of the win in that game.

Seeing that made me realize why points are enough for me as a reward. Because I experience my day as if it was a game. It doesn’t mean that I don’t concentrate on the task at hand, but I loose (for growing part of the time) that wish of only getting things done and thinking poorly of the assignments I have to address. Enjoying what I do starts to prevail and with that (without explicitly intending) also the rate with which I manage to complete tasks increases.

Thus the condition for this game to have success is your willingness to design the game, its rules, test it, play it, follow those rules you have outlined, and through it, be willing to have fun.

Please note, I didn’t mean that you should expect to have fun. We often approach various suggestions we get testing them whether they would be fun for us, usually intending to prove that that can’t be the case. But what indeed makes a game or any activity fun is the willingness to have fun and to experience this feeling.


And here, if you are interested, are the results of my 5 Minute Perseverance Game for November and plans for the December round of the game.

I scored in total 925 points in November. That made 160 points more than in October. Out of these, 455 were the bonus points, which correspond to 89 concrete deliveries, postings, etc. These correspond to 37 more than in October. There was one day when I managed to attend to at least to one project in each activity area. That compared to 1 more than in October.

I noticed that I was more diligent with recording the points and bonus points in November. It felt as if I slowed down a little and became more aware of what I managed during the day. But the gathered score and accomplished tasks show otherwise. They seem to imply that I completed more than the previous month. The paradox, however, is, that it didn’t feel like I had worked harder. It felt as if I had more fun than the month before. Here we go again: the success of the game, the feeling of satisfaction as well as the success of the projects resulted from allowing myself to have fun in the game.

After re-evaluating the projects and developments in them, and after noticing how my activities and priorities changed lately, I again came up with eight areas of activities for the December round of the game. The projects areas have been re-shuffled and switched places, as well as their components, but the number of all is still eight. That seems like a good number to keep me positively challenged, but also allow me to have an overview of various aspects of my life.

Here are my project areas for December month:

  1. Finish the first drafts of two books which are both about 80 % done
  2. Book marketing
  3. Training and consulting projects
  4. Tools page development
  5. Family, my business, and other admin matters
  6. Free time, fun, health and movement
  7. Voluntary work (technical and creative)
  8. Other writing projects (This is mainly to catch all those floating free ideas and help them not to go unnoticed).

What about you? If you take a look at what you do or want to do during a regular day, what would those areas of activities be for you? Consider both weekdays and weekends. How many of these areas can you identify?

Credits: Photograph © under the keyword “a treat.”

What is this blog series about? You can find this out on its first blog post called 5 Minute Perseverance Game – Moving my Favorite Game to my Writing Blog.

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels