Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Who Keeps You Acountable?

In summer, schedules are shed along with layers of extra clothing, and the only routine I can count on are daily piles of laundry resembling the Texas Hill Country. Younger kiddos wake with the sun, while teens don't rise until eleven a.m. or so--just in time to abide by the letter of family law, technically claiming they got up in the morning. Breakfast is eaten any where from sunrise until noon.

Q. With the lack of structure, how can I maintain a writing schedule in my topsy-turvy home?

A. Establish accountability.

Oh, those words were so easy to type . . . But so hard to do.

Q. So how can we really become more accountable?

1. Find a partner. From weight-loss plans to 12-step programs, it's well known that a buddy or mentor helps you reach your goal. If you don't have a partner, see if there is a local writing group you can join. American Christian Fiction Writers or Romance Writers of America both have local groups across the country. If you're in a rural area or small town without a group, try joining an online critique group.

2. Commit to a daily word count or page count.
When you reach your quota, reward yourself. If you fail to make your quota one day, make it up the next. Keep track of your forward motion. Momentum builds. As you see your word count grow, you'll want to squeeze in more writing time to make even more progress. If you miss one day, be really diligent the next one. Missing one day, then another without consequences, and you're quickly making excuses not to write.

3. Work through a writing craft book. If you've got a writing partner, this is a great activity to do together and another way to be accountable. If you don't have a partner yet, it can help with accountability by tracking your progress. Writing is a skill that can be learned, but it must be practiced. Two great books from multi-published, award-winning authors are Susan May Warren's From the Inside...Out: Discover, Create and Publish the Novel in You! and James Scott Bell's Plot & Structure.

What are you doing to stay accountable to your writing goals during the lazy months of summer?

~Roxanne Sherwood


Beth K. Vogt said...

What am I doing to stay on my writing course this summer? I'm calling you on a daily basis, Roxanne!
And I'm staying connected with The Ponderers, a wonderful group of writing friends. (More on The Ponderers to come in a future post.)
And I am keeping up with my regular critique groups--in between everyone's vacation schedules.

Scoti Springfield Domeij said...

I feel compelled to write, if not on my computer, on napkins, envelopes, or anything I can grab to catch a thought. It also helps to be in a weekly critique group. The deadline of the group meeting says, "Write and submit."