Monday, August 30, 2010

Accountability: Do You Need It?

Photo found via my good friend, Diane
I was very pleased over the weekend to write around 4,000 words on my novel. In fact, I had to force myself to quit at 11:30 last evening so I could go to bed and not be a zombie at work today.

I've been having trouble motivating myself, so I decided to ask a few of my writing friends if they wouldn't mind doing a little bit of a challenge over the weekend. Mine was fairly simple: finish chapter six. Well, I did that and continued on, loving that I was actually writing again instead of just talking about it. Too often I go in fits and starts with my writing, and if I could just get my writing brain on an even keel, why, I'd be a happy gal (I suspect if I ever find the secret formula to this, I will be rich).

I'm also happy to report that I will be part of a three-person, face-to-face critique group starting in September, and that will give me additional accountability.

Maybe I'm just one of those people who needs the accountability from other people in order to get myself to work.

What about you? Do you need to be held accountable to other people or just yourself where your writing is concerned?


  1. Good Post! I don't really need to be held accountable by other writers, but I can't force myself to write either. The three person, face-to-face crit group does sound awesome. So I hope it helps keep you accountable-lol.

  2. Not other writers, but I do write far better when there is something like a submission deadline ahead of me. If I have all the time in the world and nothing expected or pressing, then I can very easily get lazy. I do love deadlines for precisely this reason. And it's another reason I like nano. I would think other writers and/or a group would also work as a sort of pressure. Your critique group sounds pretty neat! Wish I had one to go to near me!

  3. Wow! We're seriously on the same wavelength here. I just blogged about this exact same topic this past weekend. Yay! I'm linking to this post for sure :)

    Personally I think ALL writers need accountability, even if they're already self-motivated (which I'm not, haha!). It provides you with different perspectives other than your own and lets you see whether your work is doing what you intended.

    Writers spend so much time living inside our own heads that sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees. I may think my MC is brilliant when in truth he's a moron, but a good critique partner---I mean a REALLY good one---will be able to explain not only WHY he's a moron, but how I should fix him. And that's what I need.

    I don't want someone to tell me how fabulous my writing is. I can get my mom and husband to do that anytime. I need someone to tell me when it sucks so I can make it better.

  4. I do better with accountability, but unfortunately most of the time that falls on me to be accountable to myself. I have some online crit partners, but no one really holds anyone else to the fire. I'd love to have a f2f love love it....but there's no one around here but me. My husband guilts me into it if I whine long maybe he's my accountability! LOL

    Love the new blog look, by the way! I keep doing that too, and can't get happy with anything. And I keep piddling with it instead of writing...rrrr. :)

  5. Oh, other people certainly.
    If it were left up to Myself, I would slack off and Me would give up (Terrible threesome is Me, Myself, and I).
    Yes, I write only when inspiration strikes when held accountable to myself, but when held accountable to others, I write much more (and better?).

  6. WHOO HOO! on finding an accountability group--and face-to-face! I used to have my writers group but shut it down last year when I went to work. I miss that! You will certainly be encouraged:))

  7. I crave accountability:) It makes the writing journey feel shared in some respects.

  8. I do! I think the accountability is a key factor.

    That's awesome about the critique group, Melissa!

  9. Accountability really helps. I've been in my f-2-f group for 12 years, and it's not high pressure, but seeing other people produce high-quality writing somehow gets my competitive juices going. (In a nice way.)

    Now, if I could just find the same thing to get me to the gym...

    Congrats on starting your critique group!

  10. Teh challenge of having something for my weekly crit group definitely keeps me writing.

  11. How lucky to have a crit group you can actually see in person! I feel like my motivation is enough for now but I think I could be more productive.

  12. Hi Karen - Thanks for stopping by! There are times I've had to force myself to write - well, lots of times, I suppose. Sometimes I have to give up after awhile because it's just not working; other times, I actually can get a decent writing session out of it.

    DK - When I was a stay-at-home mom and had a lot more time, I hardly got any writing done. Since I started working full-time, I average a novel a year. It's strange how that works!

    L.C. - So glad to see you back! I agree about the importance of a good critique partner who can point out our obvious manuscript flaws. That's exactly what I'm hoping will happen with my new group - brutal honesty.

    Sharla - The gals I'll be working with in the critique group were from a former writing group I belonged to. It's nice because we've known each other for quite a few years. I wish you could find some f2f critiquers there!

    Aoife - Interesting that you perhaps write better when you're being held accountable to others for your writing. I'd love to delve into the psychological reasons for that... :-)

    Terri - Thank you! I'm looking forward to it.

    Tamika - I agree. :-)

    Janna - Thanks!

    Christine - 12 years! Wow! That's a long time. I am always energized after being around other writers, though I don't know if I necessarily feel more competitive or not. :-)

    Travis - Weekly? That's pretty good. I think we are going to just start on a monthly basis, though I hope we move it up to once every two weeks.

  13. T. Anne - I really need another pair of eyes on my novel. I feel like I might be missing stuff, so I'm eager to have others read it!

  14. 4K words! Woo-hoo!!

    I'm a happier person with my writer support group. We meet for coffee, update our status on an online Loop, and support each other's highs and lows. They've made such a difference to me!

  15. Jill - It has a way of making the writing journey less lonely, I think. :-)

  16. Yes, I need it too. Thankful for my crit group and the nudges of close friends. Glad you're getting in a group!

  17. Congrats on the 4,000 words - that's fantastic! My critique partner is currently head down writing her 3rd book which is due to the publisher in November, but I have a Success Team of 3 other writing buddies and we meet every 2 weeks where we go over our set goals (on everything, not just writing) and then set new goals for the next 2 weeks. It's really great at keeping me on track knowing I have to say whether I did what I said!

  18. Angie - My close friends and family (who are not writers) like to give me gentle nudges, too. I definitely appreciate it. :-)

    Kelly - Your group sounds fantastic! And congrats again on getting THE CALL!


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