Are you writing?

It’s the middle of January and if you’re like me you set yourself some goals for 2010.  Some people call them resolutions, but if you’ve read my blog at all you’ve probably noticed a certain fascination (no, I wouldn’t call it an obsession!) with goals. 

I like goals.  They make a pretty list.

They make an even prettier list when I get to cross things off

Some of my goals don’t get to get crossed off, though, at least not until the end of 2010.  Several of mine stretch over the whole year, but they really are weekly goals aimed at keeping me on track and writing.  Here are two of those:

  • Meet with Phyllis 1-3 times a week to write (when we are both in town).
  • Check in with Pam and Annie every week.

Believe it or not, setting these little goals weekly ensures that I get both my writing done and stay on track with my plans for the year. 

How, you ask?  Accountability.

I am the queen of procrastination.  I rule the Queendom, or I will tomorrow, or maybe the day after…

I have learned over the years that when someone else is expecting me to do something (like say a job, a book deadline, a test or paper when I was in school) I don’t procrastinate.  Maybe its the pleaser in me, but I prefer to think it’s my mostly quiet competitive side rearing its head.  “I can do that,” it says. “Watch me.”

And whatever the task is, it gets done.  Sometimes just in time, which is why I say deadlines are my friends.  No matter how much I hate them.  Really, they are my friends, and yours, too.

My weekly goals act as deadlines AND there is someone expecting me to follow through, which means Her Royal Procrastinating Highness has to stop playing mahjong and reading email and get to work. 

I meet with Phyllis.  I get my writing done and so does she.  I check in with Pam and Annie, and I keep on track with my goals and so do they.  It’s a win-win for all of us.

As you can see I have different friends as accountability partners for different things.  Phyllis lives nearby and has a similar schedule to my own.  She expects to see my smiling/grumpy/sleepy face when I say I’ll be there.  Annie and Pam live further away and have radically different schedules than I do, but weekly goal checkins work wonderfully well by email and it’s hard not to “be there” when one of us has already checked in.  It’s in my in-box.  Gotta respond.  Gotta have something good to report.

So, are you writing?  Are you one of those strange and wonderful self-disciplined types or are you a member of the royal house of procrastination (the Dukedom of I’m-too-busy-to-write falls within this realm)?  Have you found what works for you to keep you on track and writing?

If not, the year has barely begun.  Now’s a great time to explore ways to make sure you stay on track and attain your goals for the year.

And if you haven’t set any goals formally, I bet you have informally.  Do you want to get published?  You’ll need a manuscript.  How are you going to make that happen? 

WRITE IT DOWN. 

Do I need to say that again?  Okay…

WRITE IT DOWN. 

Seriously.  Putting it in black and white (or blue, or purple, or green and white) makes it real.  Now share it with someone who will hold you to your goal, someone you’ll be accountable to. 

It works.  After all, I got my writing done today?  Did you?

Laurin

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