On Accountability

So you have huge ideas, awesome ideas, ideas so great that you’re sure you’re destined to be the next Great American Author. Well, that doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t put those ideas out on paper for everyone else to see. Maybe when you’re working your gold clad cleverness doesn’t seem as extraordinary. Maybe you don’t know how to connect Idea A with Storyline B. So you stop writing. You allow yourself to get distracted. Months go by; years go by; and you haven’t done anything with those Awesome Ideas.

Don’t let your first book take 8 years to complete like I did. Stop doubting yourself and Just Write. Nobody got published without producing at least a rough draft first.

The best way I’ve found to stay focused and committed to writing is to create a sense of accountability for yourself. Setting a daily page count minimum is useless without giving your inclination to procrastinate a reason to focus. For me, a bargain works best, creating a sense of internal accountability. Set up a deal with yourself. You must write at least two pages, and then you can have a second glass of wine. Today, my deal was: complete the current scene you’re in the middle of, and you can watch your Broncos win the AFC Championship.

Because, let’s be honest, the Broncos have a history of making the Patriots cry.

Some people find success with creating a sense of external accountability. An example of this would be NaNoWriMo, the annual novel-writing challenge in November. Whether you operate best with the social aspects of external accountability or the more personal internal accountability, the reward they offer is the same: an incentive to attend to the very difficult task of Butt In Chair time. (Thanks for the phrase, Jim Butcher.)IMG_20160124_143334852

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