The Writing Calendar

By Kathy Dunnehoff

I’m a cheater, and I bet you are too.

I hope you’re still reading after that. Let me explain… Humans, all of us, have a great capacity to fool ourselves into thinking that we’re doing better than we are. Did you eat enough vegetables yesterday? Uh, yeah, pretty sure I had a salad. Well, maybe that was last Tuesday.

You see where I’m going with this? As a person wanting health, this inaccurate recollection of how we’re doing can have some serious implications. If your goal is to exercise four times a week, you may think you came close with three times, but the reality may be that you worked out three times this month.

As a writer, this questionable ability to kid myself was not helping me at all, so I decided to hold myself accountable in a new way. I used one of those free calendars everyone gives you in January, and I made a writing calendar. It sits where I write, and at the end of a writing session, I record how long I wrote and what I accomplished. writing calendar

At a glance, it becomes very clear to me how I’m doing. Sometimes when I think I’ve only skipped one writing morning, I’m shocked to see that it’s been two or even three, and I get back at it.

I think a calendar, whether a lovely freebie from a local florist or an electronic version, can become a twelve-month accountability partner in whatever you want to accomplish. Try making one for a habit you’d like to nurture. Exercise? Playing your ukulele? (I need one of those), cooking more meals at home?

I think you’ll find, as I did, that you’re a cheater, but with a little accountability, you can be true to whatever goals are near and dear to you.

 

Accountability Partner

Ann Minnett MWW photoBy Ann Minnett

Most people understand that accountability keeps us on track toward our goals, but it can be tricky. Accountability is effective when worked in small bites toward larger goals. Writing is no exception.

Critique groups (I participate in two) keep me accountable for writing quality and volume. Week by week, my critique buddies make me finish what I start. There’s nothing like a deadline (i.e., critique meeting) to make me produce written pages. Of course, agent and editor deadlines also work wonders. The problem? Sometimes our writing goals loom like immense boulders, too overwhelming to address. For example: I will write a novel by the end of the year vs I will write the first scene of my novel by Saturday.

Path Less Traveled

That’s where accountability partners can help, and lucky me, in keeping with the Mother’s Day theme of this month, my accountability partner is my daughter. She lives on the east coast and for the past three months has experienced change in both her personal and professional lives. She’s a planner, so back in January she asked if I would be her accountability partner through her transitions. Of course!

Every Friday we review our individual goals for the week, progress made, and what we propose for the upcoming week. We support one another and make suggestions when one of is stuck. My goals originally focused on finishing the first draft of my third novel (done!), but recent goals have included making time for meditation and increased exercise. Her goals at first emphasized a comprehensive job search but soon included carving out downtime each day.

I encourage you to find another person who will keep you accountable in whatever you chose to do.