Christina Katz sends out a newsletter and maintains a blog and has written books. The book I associate with her name is, Get Known Before the Book Deal. (Um, no, I haven’t read it yet, but would like to.) She is genuinely out to help other writers. Or, at least, that’s the feeling I get from her.

Her newsletter, The prosperous Writer, is not a gimmick to get people to buy her books, and I absolutely love that. (I strongly dislike the feeling of being manipulated by a newsletter or a contest.)  Week by week, she is covering what it means to be a prosperous writer.

And up on the menu last week was, you guessed it, accountability.

I found a line in her newsletter that describes me perfectly.

“Accountable people are completion-oriented. When you are accountable, you are not perfect but seek resolutions to your own stumbling blocks.”

I have critique partners, but not because that’s the only way I’ll get that next chapter pumped out. I’ve never felt the desire to do NanoWriMo in November because I already am highly motivated.

When I haven’t moved forward in my writing, I feel this pressure bearing down on me. And if social engagements (which are a good thing), doctor appointments or snow days pile up, I can get, er, a little grumpy. I call it I-haven’t-done-enough-writing-this-week syndrome. And writing can be either revising or writing.

Now, I just wish I felt that pressure bearing down on me when I see that my closet needs reorganizing.

How do you hold yourself accountable when it comes to writing – especially if you aren’t published yet?

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21 Responses to Accountability

  1. Janna Qualman March 15, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    Love Christina Katz! Another awesome book is Writer Mama, about balancing your kids and writing.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog, Laura!

  2. Laura March 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by Janna. I’ll have to check that one too, eventually. Too many books, too few coins and time. 🙂

  3. Kris March 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Great topic, Laura! I have to admit, when I’ve felt like giving up, my crit group has kept me accountable. 😉 Like, “I need to stay ahead of where they’re reading.” But, as I move down this path, I am starting to feel the grumpiness you mentioned when I don’t do enough. Deadlines help too!

    I’ll have to check out Christina’s newsletter. Thanks for the lead! I subscribe to a few already, but that one sounds really helpful.

  4. Heather Kelly March 15, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Laura–I feel as you do, when I haven’t written enough in a week–grumpy and disoriented. But, I’m not sure I’m as intrinsically goal oriented as you are. I need external prompts, or else I wouldn’t reach the endgame. I would certainly write, but I need to be accountable to others to get to the next step.

    It’s like with my running. I love running, and if I don’t get out for a great, long run, then I don’t feel balanced. But, running alone is a different beast than running with a partner. If I wanted to train for a race, I’d most likely ask a friend to join me. Otherwise, I just run for my own pleasure, which is what I want my running to be right now. But not what I want my writing to be right now.

    Getting to that next level, for me involves the comraderie of others. I guess I need co-workers…

  5. Tina Lee March 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    I’m with Heather on the co-worker thing! I do push myself hard but I find the lack of measurement and proof really disheartening and un-motivating. Blogging and the friends I have made here and setting goals on a daily level have helped a lot. You would think with all the chatting I do of late would have made me less productive. Instead I have been so much more so.

  6. Laura March 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Kris- Deadlines would definitely help!

    Heather – My critique groups definitely helps encourage me when I’m feeling down and my writing wouldn’t be where it is without them. Kind of like going to a conference and coming home super inspired.

    Tina – Glad you’ve been more productive lately. For me, that comes and goes in cycles.

  7. Karen Lange March 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    Great topic. I experience that not enough writing syndrome too…

    I set weekly goals and try to allow for interruptions and stuff, but my system is not foolproof. If it ever gets that way, I’ll let you know. Or better yet, I’ll probably be writing a book about it!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a great week!

  8. Laura March 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    Karen – I think every writer feels that pressure. But I definitely feel it more now than I did when I first started writing. My first year, I was happy with one chapter a week but that just doesn’t cut it anymore. So out went the tv shows – except Idol and Lost. 🙂

  9. Paul Greci March 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    I get anxious when I’m not writing. And, like Heather, suffer when I don’t get my running fix, too.

    I guess I hold myself accountable b/c I actually resigned from my job to give full-time writing a whirl. Basically, I made it my job–unpaid thus far.

  10. Laura March 15, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    Paul – I run every day before I write. Definitely gets the creative thoughts going. And yes, when we look at it as a job (that we’re just not getting paid for yet) I think that holds us accountable. The more serious we are, maybe the more serious of a time commitment we make.

  11. Jackee March 15, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    I get that syndrome too. I just tell my husband I need at least half an hour of kid-free time to write and then I’ll be a nice person again. That way my writing is moving forward, even if it’s only a little bit and I’m through being grumpy.

    Great post! I’m glad I’ve found the right link now! (Though your blogger link still sends me to the old blog.)

  12. Karen March 15, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    I’m reading GET KNOWN BEFORE THE BOOK DEAL right now and I do enjoy reading Katz’s blog too.

    It’s hard when you don’t have a book deal or a contract due date to get your motivated. I think this is one of the reasons my novel may be taking longer — but I do feel the pressure to get it done — at least for my own personal satisfaction.

    I’ll have to check out Katz’s newsletter.

  13. Kelly Polark March 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    I need deadlines. I really need deadlines.

  14. Anna March 15, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    Laura, I feel the same way. If I haven’t gotten enough done, I get really cranky. But sometimes that isn’t enough and, as others have said, I need to impose a deadline for myself. If nothing else, I have to send something to my writing group once a month.

  15. Laura March 15, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    Jackee – I’m glad I figured it out. Before I delete my old blog, I want to make sure those links will even go to my updated one. Haven’t figured that out yet.

    Karen – You’ll have to share on your blog what you think of the book.

    Kelly – I need deadlines too, even if they are self-imposed.

    Anna – I’m glad I’m not the only one. I think writers belong to the same bunch of bananas. (to use an Ellen reference)

  16. Christi Craig March 16, 2010 at 1:58 am #


    I agree, that I-haven’t-done-enough-writing-this-week feeling keeps me accountable, too. It’s amazing how quickly one hour of writing (or rewriting) lifts my spirits!

    And, I love Christina Katz’s e-zine for the same reasons you mention, it’s all about supporting each other as writers.

  17. Laura March 16, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    Christi – Thanks for stopping by. And that’s why I love blogging. I get to write fresh without revising for hours and then click publish. And I love the comraderie. It’s great.

  18. The Alliterative Allomorph March 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    I feel exactly the same way if I don’t write – completely grumpy. My poor fiance, I take it out on him 🙁 I’m not yet published, but what keeps me going is loving it so so so much. Also, even if it takes me 20 years to get published, that’s ok with me (not preferable though!), because it really is something you just get better and better at as time goes by. I leave it in the hands of fate. What is meant to be will be!

  19. Laura March 16, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    AA – great attitude, one I whole-heartedly agree with!

  20. Catherine A. Winn March 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

    I think all writers go through this, when it happens to me I know I have to “refresh” myself.
    Usually that means reading a good book and while reading study the way that author does things. It makes me think of technique, which makes me think of my work, which gets me motivated to get back in the chair.
    But the best way is getting in a good discussion with another writer or two about the craft, ups and downs, and personal goals.

  21. Laura March 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Catherine – It sounds like a good case of, If you give a mouse a cookie… 🙂

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