Writing Accountability

I do like taking stuff seriously that a lot of people look at as nonsense. I enjoy the insanity of that. And I like the commitment that is needed for that.
–Christian Bale

We’re writers. We are invested in our imaginations, our stories, our creativity. When it comes to storytelling, that’s great, but when it comes to meeting deadlines…well, we think about them sometimes. Writers who stick to a deadline make progress, finish what they start, and are that much closer to publication and a career doing what they love—so why is it so hard to stay on track?

Life gets busy, and there’s more to it than writing. It goes without saying that people don’t always have the time or resources to do the things they love. When we do have the time, sometimes we’re just not in the right mindset for writing. For me, I’ll come up with a story and think, “Wow, I want to read that” instead of “Wow, I want to write that.” Writing is hard work, even the fun parts!

That’s why I’m so grateful to my writing friends. We met in college, workshopped together, and decided we wanted to stick together as we embark on the beginnings of our writing careers. Having a deadline and the promise of a class period dedicated to talking about our stories and characters kept us motivated while working towards our degrees, and the post-grad extension is much the same.

Every month, we e-mail each other new writing that we’re working on, be it an ongoing project, pieces we’re hoping to send out to journals or magazines, or even outlines for future writing plans. Knowing that I am responsible for getting my work to two amazing editors keeps me writing even when I’d rather be vegging out!

Find what keeps you accountable. Whether it’s your writing peers, a blog or Twitter feed to broadcast your updates (i.e., “Hit 2000 words today! #score”), or the promise that you will treat yourself to something nice as soon as you finish this draft—seek out a source that will keep you true to your writing goals.

Sure, we all want to be published authors, but writing is a commitment. Writing is hard work. It’s not just the enjoyable task of creating characters or thinking up a good title (both of which can sometimes be just as painful as figuring out a plot). One day, readers could be blasting through your writing, falling for your characters, debating plot twists in forums, and hungry for a sequel or three. Commit to your writing now, and the journey to publication will be that much easier.

Happy writing!

xo P

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