Life, Work-in-Progress, Writing Process

Self-imposed accountability doesn’t work for me. The deadline has to be real.

I always thought that I needed a deadline to get things done. But, it couldn’t be a self-imposed deadline. It had to be a real deadline with real consequences. For the most part, this is still very true. I’m motivated to be productive by the idea that somebody else is waiting for what I’m working on. It does not work if I put my own deadline on the calendar to say “okay, by December 1st I’ll have my next draft done.” Because, as I understand it anyways, the only person waiting for that draft is me…and I can totally disappoint myself by not following through ๐Ÿ˜›

I think that’s why I like starting up my serials before I’ve actually finished the full book (shocking secrets revealed!). It makes me sit down and write with a certain routine to ensure chapters get out on time. With NaNoWriMo, I could see the counter and since I shared that I was doing it, people asked about it. I feel like I’m accountable for following through with the project.

The fact that my currently resting novel has several drafts finished feels like a miracle. So I thought about it a little harder and found the answer. I started it in a workshop, wrote the rest in NaNoWriMo, and even continued editing thanks to ANOTHER workshop. I work better with real accountability leading the way. I need a dedicated community or person or platform waiting for routine updates in order to finish my projects.

Sometimes I wonder if my creativity is taking a hit with the accountability and deadlines. Wouldn’t it be more conducive to let the writing happen naturally, when I’m inspired and the words are pouring out? Yes and no.

I do fair amount of sneaky writing between working on my “real” projects. I’ve got three or four other projects started with various scenes written or planned out. Those scenes often spring up randomly and come out in hours of writing at a time. They consume my brain on my drive and any “boring” moment where my brain is unoccupied.

But, I’m not ready to commit to having accountability with those, so they remain a secret. Locked in my document fault until their time to shine comes. But when they finally are pulled from that vault, I now know I need somebody to keep me accountable.

So for all those in my writing groups, the workshop communities, and the friends and family that ask me about my books, know that you are an essential piece of my process. Nothing would get done without you.

Thanks to all of you for keeping me accountable. Even if it’s just liking a couple of posts. ๐Ÿ™‚


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