Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Being Accountable

“Accountability breeds response-ability.” - Stephen R. Covey

Yesterday, I teased Charity about disliking NaNo and then essentially writing 58,000+ words in 35 days... but the fact is, her feat was amazing to watch. I have to admit to being just a little bit jealous that she did it on her own.

Sadly, I need NaNo. I can set goals for myself all I want, but without the accountability to someone else, it's far too easy to watch them slip away without being accomplished. Sometimes, it's true, that the goals must change for some reason (I'd intended to finish my mystery by summer, but have switched my focus to something else), but sometimes you just stop working on that thing.

And no one notices except you.

I've been posting daily writing accomplishments in an unused classroom at WVU for the past couple of months. Originally, there were seven or eight other ladies in there with me. It was a great motivator -- to have to 'fess up to whether you'd worked on writing and/or achieved your personal goals. Having to put it in writing for all to see is a wonderful way to keep moving forward. But lately, the number has dwindled. In fact, for the past couple weeks it's only been three of us and in the past three days... only me.

I'm still posting, because I like to put what I did, or didn't do, down in black and white, but I'm not sure how motivated I'll be to continue doing so if there's no one to see.

It's not that I accomplish nothing if I don't have someone looking over my shoulder. I do. But I certainly push for more when I have to account for my time to someone else. Don't we all?

What about you? Are you more motivated when you have to show someone else what you've done, or are you great at doing it without the outside accountability factor?


Allie Boniface said...

I think just about everyone is a little more motivated when they have to account to someone else. But I can actually motivate myself pretty well most days (it's the Type A personality)...plus lists are my best friend, so when I can finish something (1000 words a day, or whatever) and cross it off, it feels pretty darn good.

anno said...

Having the chance to show my work makes the process more fun. Also, when I write for myself, I can devolve into a very sketchy kind of note-writing where I wave my hands and say "well, I know what I mean." Unfortunately, later,I often wonder what my intentions were. So having readers helps keep me honest.

Charity said...

Well, it was closer to 50,000 words in 35 days, since I started with 8,000 words in the manuscript. I think it’s a matter of each writer finding out what works for her. Last year, I was lucky enough to find a revision process. This year, I wanted to try to find a way to generate more words.

Gay said...

Hey there, Maria--

I'm still there with you! I've just had computer problems that have made access a bit spotty, but consider me to be "Big Sister" looking over your shoulder. I'll get around to holding you accountable sooner or later. :wink:

Keep going, girl! I wish we still had more company, though.

Chris said...

Writing is one of those things that if you don't write the novel no one other than yourself is going to know any different. It's not like if you don't take a bath everyone would smell the stink. So for me keeping a public record of what I have written that day is the only way to stop myself from lazying around getting smelly.

Writing the first draft in 70 days with Dennis Foley
is really helping me stay focused and the support in the group is exceptional. The problem I have though is I'm not doing any other writing. My blog is old and a prompt group I work with is wondering what has happened to me. So now I have to learn to do more.

Keep posting your accomplishments. It really does help to get you to the end result.