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Let’s get accountable

June 23, 2013

More than once, I’ve nominated myself as the Queen of Procrastination, usually fuelled by self-doubts about my writing. The best defence against this is to open the manuscript and start working but some days I don’t get that far. Instead I wallow on the lounge, under the electric throw rug, snuggled up to my Qwerty cat, filling my head with the mindless trash of reality TV.

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And yet there is no better feeling when the writing is flowing or the editing is working, or I’m smiling because the scene conveys exactly what I want.

I can’t reach the writing bliss without going through the writing pain and so yesterday I took yet another step to make myself publically accountable for my writing goals.

Last month, I became President of Nambucca Valley Writers Group. I’ve been a member of the group for approximately fourteen years and I’ve been on the committee for almost as long. After my election at the AGM, I asked the other members to think about how the group could support their writing ambitions.

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Yesterday we had a group excursion to The Pub with No Beer.  After lunch, we had our meeting and I asked them questions that they weren’t expecting. I asked them what they wanted to achieve in their writing by the next AGM? How the group could support their goal? What did they need to do by the next meeting? How could we hold them accountable?

I wrote down everybody’s answer. I asked more questions to establish the accountability? And I learned a lot about different members of the group and their various writing projects. The answers will be sent out to everyone to remind them of their own and their writing comrades’ commitment. I will ask for a report from each person at the next meeting. I will hold them accountable.

Making them accountable is also making me accountable.

My goal is to have my current manuscript edited and submitted by May 2014. I’d love to have it published but that is out of my control. (I’m not ready to go down the self-publishing route at this point). By next NVWG meeting, I will have sent the complete manuscript to my critique partners. (And perhaps a couple of gay beta readers, if I could find some willing)

I will lead by example, NOT by procrastination.

I wrote last night – 850 words.

And then this morning, still bleary-eyed and still warm and cosy in bed, I opened my manuscript on my ipad and I edited. And edited. And edited. 16,470 words before I even got out of bed. Another chapter later in the morning. Tonight I sent those chapter to my critique partners.

I’ve spent the last few years treating my manuscript like my high school cross-country race – my friends and I would walk the whole way, throwing cow pats at each other.(I went to an Ag High School, lots of hectares, and cows)  By the time, we got to the finish line, everyone had packed up and gone home.

Sometimes it already feels like the finish line has packed up and gone home. So many writing colleagues have sold this year, so many writing colleagues have released books, and while I’m very happy for them, I feel like I’ve been running the same mile over and over again, the finishing line a mirage in the distance.

Not any more! The finishing line is in sight and I’ve got the energy to get there. (Yawn! Well, maybe not tonight).

Wish me luck!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2013 9:15 am

    Well done! Congrats on becoming President of your writer’s group. It sounds like you are well on your way to being a leader for the others and setting a good example.

    It’s so easy to get stuck in a pattern and feel like you’ll never get anywhere. It’s fantastic that you’ve set yourself a goal, and a plan on how to get there. Your determination and hard work will pay off.

    • June 24, 2013 10:53 am

      Thanks for dropping by, Lauren. Yep, no more dawdling through the cow paddocks. Hehe.

      See you in Freo!

  2. June 24, 2013 7:08 pm

    I love this, means I will get to read more about Cindy!

  3. June 24, 2013 9:42 pm

    Good for you! Accountability is a huge thing for me – I don’t achieve anything if I don’t have externally accountable goals. One day I hope to be internally motivated, but it’s not happening yet.

    (And your cross-country escapades sounds a lot like mine lol!)

    • June 24, 2013 10:13 pm

      I hear you on the internal motivation. But it seems like butt kicking and nagging works best for me. There’s a lady at work who asks me at least once a week ‘How’s that book going?” and she will usually give me a lecture if I tell her it hasn’t been happening. Funny thing is, I’m not sure how she’s going to react to some of the storyline when she finally gets to read it.

  4. June 25, 2013 6:32 am

    Yep, it’s time to take ourselves and our work seriously. Thanks for holding us all accountable – it’s good to feel the group at my back; a little push and a whole lot of support.

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