Ac-count-a-ble: required or expected to justify actions or decisions; responsible
I was nervous about coming out of the closet as a writer. Before anyone knew, it wasn't embarrassing if I failed. It didn't matter if I finished manuscripts and submitted them to agents or editors.
When I finally came out, my family and friends were encouraging. And now that I'm blogging, the support has multiplied in amazing ways. Making it known that I'm writing and seeking publication also made me accountable. Some benefits of accountability are:
- Motivation: if we know that other people are keeping track of and monitoring our actions, we're motivated to produce. When we belong to a critique group, we're encouraged to write fresh pages. This keeps us moving forward.
- Improvement: when we're accountable, we work harder. When we work harder, our writing improves. No matter where we are in our writing lives, there's always room for advancement.
- Relationships: accountability promotes good working relationships. Our critique partners trust us, and vice versa. There's a sense of teamwork around each project we work on together.
- Courage: it's not easy putting ourselves out there. We pour our hearts and souls on the page, then offer it up for a thumbs up or thumbs down. This helps strengthen our body armor.
When we're accountable, others are watching us. The good thing is, people are there to lift us up when we fail, and they'll help celebrate when we succeed.
How about you? Do you find that being accountable helps with your writing?
photo credit: google images
ergh... it's made the waiting that much more difficult. (all the, "when's your novel getting published" questions by well-meaning, but uninformed friends... ;o) <3ReplyDelete
Definitely. Especially because my kids know what I do and what my goals are. They cheer me on, so how can I even think about not following through?ReplyDelete
Have a great week, Julie!
Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse
I was never "in the closet" with my writing, but for those who are, you make a good argument for them to come out!ReplyDelete
Yes yes yes!!!! If not for the public accountability of nano, I would have never been able to write a whole story!ReplyDelete
I'd always wanted to but fear hammered me down. Accountability is a priceless motivator not to just do it, but to do it well.
Love the post!
Well, I probably could write in a vacuum, personally, but having others around definitely makes the journey more enjoyable! And it IS encouraging, not to mention valuable to have critique writer buddies who give hard but friendly critiques to help my writing improve.ReplyDelete
Every time I get a call from a friend, the first thing, okay, the second thing they ask is how the work is going. This & the fam keep me on my toes because having nothing to say would feel awful. So, I'm always plugging keys, reading manuals & studying the craft.ReplyDelete
Sure, definitely. I always tell my husband my writing goals for the week. It helps keep me on track because when he asks me about my day, I want something to show for it!ReplyDelete
Yes. Accountability makes a difference, though those who haven't been through this process don't always understand why everything takes so long! (You mean, your book isn't done already? ACK!)ReplyDelete
Yes, Julie, being accountable helps. When people close to me ask me how far I have progressed in my current WIP, whether I have anything published recently, what am I currently writing, I feel a sense of responsibility. If I have not written anything new or have given in to distractions, these questions plunge me back into writing.ReplyDelete
It has definitely helped with my writing. Accountability motivates and pushes me to keep going and getting better.ReplyDelete
You are awesome, you know that? Such a great post. Except that part where you trust your critique partners... He he he. :P Just kidding!! I feel very fortunate to have you!!ReplyDelete
I haven't told most of my family yet, but my fellow writers/bloggers/tweets help keep me accountable :) Thank god for you all! LOL.ReplyDelete
Yeah, now the pressure's on for my next book!ReplyDelete
Definitely. I think most writers start 'in the closet' and eventually peek out!ReplyDelete
Great post! And so true. I don't tell *everyone* that I write--but I've told just enough people to make it real, make me take it seriously, make me treat it like a "job." My blog especially. If I miss a post I feel like I let my followers down. Keeps me going. :)ReplyDelete
Julie, I can so relate to this, I could have written this post myself. (Though not as well or as concisely.) :) I agree completely. I am so glad I "came out" as a writer. It was so scary at first, and I think I still would rather hide occasionally because for some reason I'm more bashful about writing than anything else. But I love the accountability being "out" has brought me - and I do write a lot more than I did as a closeted writer.ReplyDelete
Thanks for a great post.
It took me ages to tell people that I was a writer. Afterward, the support has been amazing and I feel more motivated.ReplyDelete
I still don't tell most people I'm a writer. My friends/family know (everyone who's important to me), but if I met a stranger I wouldn't volunteer the information until I got to know them better.ReplyDelete
The blogosphere is an incredibly supportive, welcoming place. I may have fizzled out this last year if not for all the fantastic support.
Ummm, not sure the word 'accountable' is the term I'd use but perhaps 'invested'...like you, I was a true closet writer and before, it didn't matter if I wrote or not because no one was there to read, approve or disapprove. Now, I am care that I do a good job and I want to stretch myself.ReplyDelete
I know that it's most important I do this for me, but it's also nice to receive affirmation.
Thanks for posting this...and agree with Vicki, the blogosphere is incredibly supportive and it's a treasure to share myself!
Oh, yes, accountability makes a difference. Higher expectations, standards may lurk at the back of the mind, a carry over from those school days. The editor now replaces the English teacher with a red or green pen.ReplyDelete
My husband would rather I go back in the closet since I'm focusing more and more on my editing client and less on my own writing. Oh, well. That's life, right?ReplyDelete
To be accountable to others I would have had to have shared the fact that I write. Not so much :)ReplyDelete
I still don't tell people, but I don't hide it anymore. I guess I still follow the "don't ask, don't tell policy."ReplyDelete
The only people that know are family. And I don't think they care, except for my wife.
I think the reason I don't tell people is because I don't want to be known as the loser who was always working on a book but was never published.
Isn't that really the heart of it? No one wants to be pathetic.
I think the best thing has been the relationships I've formed with other writers, but I do sometimes wish so many people didn't know I'm trying to get published. It seems like I never have a good answer to "how's your book coming?"ReplyDelete
I don't mind everyone knowing I'm a writer, but I keep the submission process private... except for my bloggy friends. Having to tell everyone about rejections is grueling to me. I won't divulge that bit of info til I've found an agent.ReplyDelete
Otherwise, I need my fam and friends to know I'm a writer... it explains why I'm such a scatterbrain. ;)
One of the most joyous things in my life is to finally give myself permission to say I'm a writer. I've been writing since I was nine when I decided to write a book based on this great movie I saw, THE JUNGLE BOOK. Little did I know Mr. Kipling beat me to the punch.ReplyDelete
Absolutely! I was a closet writer for a long time and I didn't feel as pushed to be productive. However, I do feel the added peer pressure sometimes cramp my creativity. I just have to find that happy balance between support and deadline stress. :o)ReplyDelete
Great topic, Julie! Thanks!
I am sure coming out will make you more accountable, but how do you deal with people after you have written the book, and before the book is accepted/ edited/ published.ReplyDelete
I don't understand the process myself, how can I expect others to?
Hi Julie, I agree with you on the importance of accountability. And I think it takes different forms--deadlines, critique groups, even committing to posting several times a week on a blog! However, through being accountable, there's the side benefit of developing great relationships with other writers and people in the publishing industry.ReplyDelete
I know that joining a Critique group boosted my accountability as a writer. We write each week and see where we are at with our progrss.ReplyDelete
with my fellow writers its easy for me to open up because they understand the process, my hubs has had to learn the process fast but the rest of my family? egads they drive me nuts with the whole "have you heard back form the editor? whats taking them so long? you should call them" I know they are trying to help but someone should write a book for every writer's family titled things you do not say to a writer even when you mean well.ReplyDelete
Hi Julie thanx for coming to my blog it really great to meet you.
I couldn't agree more! If I were alone in this, I highly doubt I'd still be at it. The rejection alone would have squashed me like a fly. But thanks to the world of blogging, I've made so much progress, learned so much, and made some great friends!ReplyDelete
I think so! I was never really in the closet with my writing but it definitely helps to have my loved ones supporting me along the way. Accountability is part of the reason why I started blogging. Blogging, and reading other writer blogs motivates me to keep going.ReplyDelete
Accountability is key for me. Without it, I can come up with 1000 excuses a day. Part of the reason I started my blog a year ago was to reinforce that accountability.ReplyDelete
Today someone asked me, "So you are professional writer then?"
I took a deep breath and said, "Yes." That felt huge. I didn't even dread the inevitable, "So what have you published?" question as much.
I love accountability! I find it is great on Twitter. When I'm keeping track of daily word count, I usually try to find someone who is also in a first draft that I can hold accountable for daily goals. I also have my crit. partner and that really helps for my editing accountability. Knowing she's waiting to get my chapters keeps me moving. Great post, Julie!ReplyDelete
Being accountable helps. Now that I'm published, I have fans expecting more books and yes, I'm accountable. But all is good. I enjoy it.ReplyDelete
I sure do. Nanao is a great example. I do not strive for the 50,000 word count as I already have a couple MS in the works. But I do accomplish much in terms of research and dialogue. So setting goals with a sense of meeting goals works for me, even if I don't attain the goal. Hope that made sense.ReplyDelete
I thrive on accountability. I hate to let people down or have people know that I haven't met my goals. That's probably a slightly bad thing, but it does help drive me!ReplyDelete
Absolutely - especially when I'm in a critique group. They hold me accountable like none other. :)ReplyDelete
Definitely, Julie. And I find that the more I claim I'm a writer, the more I identify with it. It's wonderful!ReplyDelete
I do. I tell a few crit partners what my plans are for writing so they're out there, and then I'll feel bad if I don't live up to my own expectations!ReplyDelete
The two things that have kept me at this and given me support are blogging and my critique group. Without them, I would have given up long ago. So not only do they hold me accountable, they celebrate with me and cheer me when I'm down.ReplyDelete
Hi Julie: My name is Ivy and I am a new reader to your blog. Nice to meet you. Have a great writing day.ReplyDelete
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