Thursday, January 19, 2012

Accountability--that elusive business partner.

posted by Teresa Slack, a super busy writer with a 9-5 job, a growing direct sales business, and a mad passion to get a book contract by the end of the week.

All these recent posts about settings has really got my creative juices flowing. Most writers agree that those first moments in the planning stages in a book are the most exciting. It's like falling in love. You're still learning about your characters. You might not even know the hero's name yet or why the heroine is afraid of the dark. You are just embarking on your journey and you can barely contain your excitement long enough to sit still at your desk.

Of course you must also choose a setting that works with the story. I once did a book signing in Fleming County, Kentucky. The other writers around me started talking about all the local legends and stories they'd heard growing up. My favorite was the haunted jailhouse. I can't remember where the jailhouse was, but I definitely wanted to check it out.

All the way back to Ohio, I could barely keep track of the story ideas stirred up by listening to those other writers.

Here's my question--once you get your idea and you've chosen a setting and you figured out a few of your hero's quirks and insecurities, what keeps you writing? Do you have a crit group that demands you produce a certain amount of words before the next meeting? Do you belong to online writers' groups? Or are you your best taskmaster and won't cut yourself a break until that daily goal is met?

I recently joined an accountability group on FaceBook called 1K1HR. The point is to announce to the group when you plan to start writing. There is always someone online to join you so you keep each other accountable. At the end of your hour--or writing session if you go beyond an hour--you let the group know how you did. It also works if you're in the editing or research stages of your book.

I need accountability. Someone breathing down my neck. If you are the same or just like connecting with other writers, check out the group. 1K1HR is a closed group so you have to ask to join. Or you may decide to start a similar group with friends.

What works for you? What keeps you writing? Please share. I need all the accountability I can get.


Molly Noble Bull said...

I love to eat; so I need accountabilty when trying to lose weight. Weight Watchers is the only road for me.
However, I love to write novels. I've never had writers block in my life. What I need is time to write. I have a lot on my plate.
Interesting article, Teresa.

Caroline said...

Oh, my. If I don't feel the pressure to get it done, I can be as lazy as the next person. I try not to set goals which overwhelm me, but reasonable ones I can attain & feel pleased about.

Renee Yancy said...

I just might have to check this out.

Teresa Slack said...

You would love the FB group. It's cool knowing someone is out there writing along with you. It's not a competition, just a way to cheer each other on. I'm like you, Carole. If I don't have a deadline, I keep putting it off. Speaking of which, I should be putting my tax stuff in order this weekend, but we have til April, right?

Linore said...

Hey, Teresa!
I'm a lot like you; having pressure is really good for me. I have days when I'm wonderfully disciplined but others where I just keep putting out fires (the "urgent") and never get to the "important," which is writing. I also have days when the important thing isn't writing--it might be one of my kids or my husband. Life happens. I love the idea of 1K1hour. I even joined--I just forget to try it out! Thanks for a fun post and a good reminder.

Teresa Slack said...

Linore, that's funny. I have only logged on a couple of times, but just being a member has made me more aware of not wasting my writing time. I've done more in the last two weeks than I did all thru Dec.

Linore said...

That's great, Teresa! Keep up the good work. : )

Jeff Reynolds/Becky Reynolds said...


This is a great blog. Thanks for sharing it.

I'll admit -- I do have a hard time keeping on my novel writing, because of other demands for the most part. Other times, I'm distracted when I should be writing. For example, I probably spend more time critiquing others work than writing my own.

Two ways I'm exercising accountability through the ACFW is through critique groups (one large, one small) and the two novel tracks (writing and editing). The latter seems to be more for record than achievement -- I set the same goal for both groups every month for several months now, and achieved one of the two last month though failing the other times.

Thanks again, and hope you have a blessed day.