One of the things I learned in the past year is that being accountable–to myself, or even better, to others–helps me be productive. It’s all very well and good to set a goal, but if I’m never accountable to anyone, what does it matter if I don’t reach that goal?
I’ve used a variety of techniques to help me develop a sense of accountability. The first is a spreadsheet, where I not only record what I write, but I also can track how well I’m doing graphically and with daily, monthly, and annual totals. It reminds me of the graphs that come with checking in daily for NaNo, and help drive me forward. I did, however, have to learn to accept that there will be zero days, and minimum words days. I can’t let them make me feel bad.
I have people I tell how I’m doing on my non-salable projects. Every day I talk about what I did the day before, and how it furthered my goals. Every single day, even if the answer is I did nothing. Learning to admit it actually helps. Because I can be excited about writing 5,000 words, and I can be bummed about writing nothing, but in the end, I’m taking note of it and moving on.
So, since I’m back on the wagon and writing original YA work again regularly, it’s time for some accountability here, right?
Today I took an old novel I was working on and printed out what I had so far. I’ve started to read it (there are 15 chapters) and take notes on what pieces of I want to keep. The goal is to create a completely brand new outline from the old bones, and start writing from the ground up. There are concepts I want to preserve because they worked, and concepts I need to toss out. It also needs a subplot or three for depth, and way better pacing.
I only made it through not quite one chapter today, but my goal is a chapter a day until I’m done. That’ll bring me right up to Christmas and my vacation, at which point I will shift to writing an average of 1k per day. Some days will be more, some will be less. But the important thing is, it’ll get done.
And I’ll keep you posted, because that will help me. Accountability. There will even be neatly rising numbers once I start on the book, and maybe one of those pretty percentage graphs. *grins* Whatever it takes to get the words down. Whatever it takes.