I am my own boss.

Christina Katz, at The Prosperous Writer, sends out a weekly e-zine in which she writes about the 52 Qualities of Prosperous Writers. This week’s topic is Accountability.

I don’t have an agent. No publisher is knocking at my door begging me to sign a contract for a book not yet complete (does that even happen in real life?). I don’t get paid to write –yet. So, what makes me accountable?

Why keep writing?

I spent years dreaming, thinking, saying out loud, “Some day I want to be a writer.” My mother believed in me. Not concerned if I could tackle story structure and character development, or if I could decipher theme and irony, she asked me to pen a story about her. If she were still living today, and reading this blog, she’d make me accountable. It’s hard to say no to your mother.

The day I signed up for my first writing class – no, strike that – the day I sent my first nonfiction piece to a legitimate literary magazine, I named myself a writer. Since then, I’ve had visions of quick success, flashes of failures, and heavy doses of reality. I wondered if I would ever be a serious writer. But, not once did I consider returning to the days of not writing.

Accountability keeps me engaged in what I love.

This blog makes me accountable. Every Wednesday, I write on the Word of the Day. No one pays me, and I happened to choose a day of the week when my time is always scrunched. Still, I post a flash fiction, a short essay, something.

Writing salons keep me accountable, and connected. If I’m too quiet in a group, someone sends an email, because – as writers – we know that silence can be a deadly.

And, oddly enough, Twitter makes me accountable. When I tweet that I #amwriting, I commit myself. I doubt all 109 of my followers are waiting, with bated breath, to read the end result of whatever it is I am #writing. But I’m a people-pleaser, and I can’t bear to think I might leave even one follower hanging.

Accountability.

Christina Katz is right when she says:

You understand that your success is contingent upon this ability to be dedicated to your work and you don’t shirk your deadlines or commitments or take them for granted.

What makes you accountable?
[tweetmeme]

Advertisements

20 responses to “I am my own boss.

  1. I can say, that as one of those 109 followers… I am always waiting for your next piece.

    And YOU motivate me to write. And keep me accountable. It would be a long, unbearable walk to Bolton if I just quit.

  2. Great question, Christi. I don’t know for sure what keeps me accountable. At first, it was the sheer pleasure of writing, despite all the moments of torture, self-doubt etc.

    At this point, I think it’s some combination of pleasure, a few short stories published, seeing improvement over the (many!) years, having told everyone I know that I’m a writer, my husband and plain old stubbornness.

  3. Not until recently have I held any accountability as a writer. The desire to write was never dulled but just misplaced in priority thanks to other professional avenues I’ve taken.

    Getting involved with other writers through Twitter and being inspired by things I’ve read on blogs like yours, has helped me reestablish some accountability. Thanks for that!

    I’m a rusty pen, a keyboard with stuck letters, a chapter one, but I’m happy to have others like me to inspire me and push me to improve and get that rust off.

    • kfbunny,

      For me, the connections and resources I found on Twitter was completely unexpected, but so needed (and welcomed).

      I’m glad to have you on board here and glad you’re finding inspiration to write more.

      I love the description of your writer self!

  4. Christi, You’re so right. It’s so helpful to have each other for accountability. I also found that jotting down how many words I write each day helps me hold myself accountable. I know I need to write down that number at the end of every day and I don’t want it to be too low or empty! So it does motivate me to keep going!

    • I agree Jody! I’ve been toying with putting a daily word count on my blog. 😉

    • Thanks, Jody, for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      I joined Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s 500 word a day challenge for accountability reasons. I do well to stick to the 500 mark, and sometimes go beyond it. But because I often write by hand, I never measure exact word count (hope I can still keep up the 500 word/day challenge badge).

      I like the idea, though, of really keeping track of words – especially your idea, Cathryn, of posting it on the blog – for accountability and for motivational reasons.

      I might be surprised at how many words a day I actually write!

  5. Very good post. What makes me accountable? The story itself. It’s a good story — it needs to be written. It’s not always easy, in fact right now it’s really hard, but it keeps calling me. I don’t always meet my goals, but I do keep writing. Slow and steady wins the race. I hope.

    • Mary,

      Your comment made me think about an article I read today in the April issue of The Writer: a reprint of an essay by Madeleine L’Engle called “Focus on the story, not the readers.”

      She says, “…while I am writing, I am not thinking of any audience at all. I am not even thinking about myself. I am thinking about the book.”

      And, later, “The same thing is true in listening to a story as we write it. It does not make us any less writers, this strange fact that we do not think about our writing as we are writing; it makes us more writers.”

      It’s a great article from a great author. I love The Writer!

      Good luck on your story. I think slow and steady is the key (persistence, that word again…)!

  6. Like you, I want to be a writer, but it’s not easy. However, I don’t believe in any impossibility. We are all capable of achieving anything we want in life.

    Success takes time, patience and perseverance. By not giving up, the impossibility is conquered. 🙂

    • Walter,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I completely agree with you: patience and perseverance! I hear those words more often than not in the writing world!

      Good luck to you and your writing endeavors!

  7. thank you for stopping by too Christy!
    THere’s a movie called ‘Shortcut to Happiness’ , in which Alec Baldwin’s writer character makes a Faustian deal with the devil (Jennifer Love Hewitt). The devil grants him 10 years of success, fame, hedonism, etc…but after 10 years, the Alec Baldwin character laments that it wasn’t worth it because he didn’t really earn those 10 years of success.

  8. Hey, I came here through Christina’s blog. I posted about accountability too. I quoted her in a different spot. Funny how different parts of an article strike a chord with different people.

    Laura

    • Laura,

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. I read your post on accountability and left a comment there.

      I love reading what others pull from the same article, or story for that matter. Seeing an essay or a story through more than one set of eyes gives me a deeper understanding of it.

      Thanks again for your comment!

  9. Pingback: Writing Roundup, March 19 « Uncategorized « Jen's Writing Journey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s