Questions to answer:
1. Do you give yourself a goal at the beginning of each week?
Each Sunday night I write out the goals I want to accomplish for the week. I need a guide. A map. My goals help me know the direction to go.
2. How do you try to reach your goal?
It’s easy to let writing time slip away, to let other more ‘important’ things get in the way. So decide how you will accomplish your goals. If I know I have big stuff ahead, I break the ‘stuff’ into smaller, bite-sized pieces. I write how I will do what needs to be done.
3. Is the goal attainable or impossible to reach?
You may want Simon and Schuster to buy your book but you can’t control that. You can, however, make your goal to submit to S&S. See the difference? My dear friend, Rick Walton, taught me this. Never give yourself a goal you can’t control. You can control how much you write, if you write, how you rewrite etc. But you can’t control the publishers. Otherwise I would have far bigger advances.
4. Are you giving yourself enough time to accomplish the goals?
Be fair to yourself as a writer. So here’s the deal with me. I always overbook myself in the goal area. That’s okay for me. I like a lot of goals and I like pushing myself hard. And I don’t mind if I fall short. That said, the important goals are always given priority.
5. Are you treating your writing like a job and not like a hobby?
I’m still not writing like a professional. I am not like Dean Hughes who writes eight plus hours a day no matter what or like Stephen King who writes until he reaches his page number goal. I let my laziness get in the way. And when stress gets heavier in my life, I let the writing be set aside as I try to put out flames. If I were a dentist would I skip drilling teeth? No. We are like Independent Study students. There is no one to direct us but ourselves. And we have to see our work as a job–IF that’s what we want. Is your writing a part-part time job? Part time? Full time? You decide and then give yourself permission to treat it as such.
6. Do you still let the little ‘things’ come between you and your writing?
This is so easy to do. Again, if you were drilling teeth and your kid called you at work because her sister was a bother, would you call back?
The truth is, writing is hard. And many times writers welcome an interruption because . . . writing is hard.
Mette Ivie Harrison is very good at drawing lines in the sand about her work. Check her out on her blog. (http://metteharrison.livejournal.com/) She’ll be at WIFYR (www.wifyr.com) this year, teaching the Full Novel Class.
7. Do you know when the best time of day for you to write? Or where the best place for you to write is?
Sometimes, when you have a big deadline, you have to work all day and late into the night to reach the goals your editor has set for you. But on a normal day when is your best time? When are you most creative? When do you get the most done? When can you tune out the rest of life and really concentrate? Find this time, know it and use it. I don’t write well at night. I’m too tried. And so when I spend time trying to create in the late evenings I find that I write slower, not as many words, not as many good words.
Experiment. Find your best time and let people know this is when you sit down to work.
For me, that’s when people are in bed in the mornings. My mom. My girls. Even the dog. They are all sleeping. That’s when I write.
I’m still working to find a house
And I for sure am NOT getting my dream home (thanks for all your good thoughts and well-wishes yesterday).
I’ve sort of run into this scary place where I don’t know what to do at all. Not at all. I have a lump in my throat always.
Many of you may know I am a believer in God, but lately I have felt truly abandoned. It’s a hard place to be but a place I think most people wind up every once in a while. I must have more to learn than others because I have been in this place a lot lately.
My writing has failed as I have used excuse after excuse to not sit down and write because I’m scared.
And the fear is big enough to have immobilized me.
I’m really, really tired.
But, this week Cheri and I met with our Familius editor. We were called to order a couple of times. Me and Cheri. Geez gives us a camera and a mic and we are two funny people. Or two people who think they are funny.
I have one chapter half written.
I’ll write the rest this morning.
And I will do a Skype visit with a school on the east coast.
Because writing is my job.
And I have people to take care of. To support.
The truth is–I love to write. Even when I really hate it.
This is something I have allowed myself recently. It’s important.
Some days are just too hard to accomplish anything because my fear of the unknown. Will I find a home?
So when I feel the burden, I tell myself, “Just one step. Take just one step.”
When things are harder than normal I allow myself to wait until tomorrow.
So, then, how did the week go for YOU? Tell all.
Did you get everything you planned done?
I hope so.
Tomorrow will be better, right?
I mean, write?
5 responses to “Day of Accountability”
Five thousand words instead of fifteen thousand word goal. When it got bad, I found myself singing the word count of my novel to the beer on the wall song. “32,318 words that I’ve done, 32, 318….” At least I got to be in L.A. with my fabulous sister and she could laugh at me. I thought a lot about plot points and what needs fixing. I luxuriated on sand at the beach. (Sister: “Why did I buy expensive beach mats if you’re going to just lie on the sand?”)
I’m good with 5,000 words. Though my goal of a completed rough draft by WIFYR is looking scary.
Carol, hang in there. We all love you. Maybe the house you are supposed to live in, and which is right next to some people who are supposed to be in your life, is not ready yet. People moving out and painters. But I pray it will be soon. I pray you’ll find a place soon
Well. Of to the airport.
Tuesday is goal-setting day.
by Sunday I am overwhelmed and can’t believe I thought I could accomplish any of it.
on Monday, I clean house, I putter and procrastinate, and then, after I’ve worked it out of my system (the procrastinating) I sit and I write and I get scary lost in the writing.
It’s now Friday, and I’m just holding it together, little by little, waiting for that release when I can actually let myself go and write.
Thank you, Carol. I’m praying you will find THE house. I’m amazed at your kindness and your devotion to those that are yours. Forgiveness, some of it, a lot of it. You help me have a better–what shall I say–a better patience. No that isn’t good enough. You help me to WANT to be better, whether or not I will, well, I think so.
And your writing advice, that too. Thanks, Carol.
That stinks about the house. And that lump in your throat all the time.
I finished my homework for wifyr. I don’t want to look at my pages again until then because I know I’ll correct and change things on my own.
Hello wonderful Carol!
I wish I had wise words for the Heavens feeling shut without sounding like a Hallmark card – however, I’ve been there. Those feelings eventually end and the blessings come, but getting there is so hard. I can say with certainty, it gets better which is tough to believe when you feel you’re on your own. I don’t believe God plans tests for us. I believe He plans the tender mercies along the way. The trick is to keep the music on, dance around when we don’t feel like it and sing our favorite songs. And pray we can keep it together until to good starts to happen again. XOXOXOXO’s