If you've been following this month's blog, you'll know we're talking about goals. Last week, we set annual goals then broke them down into monthly and weekly goals. We also got down to the nitty-gritty and decided what days and how many pages per day we'd write.
This week we're talking about accountability, or what I refer to as: keeping track of your awesomeness! Last week you took on a tough challenge. Setting goals can make the strongest writer quake! So pat yourself on the back for getting through it.
How can you be sure you'll stay on track, though? Many writers have periods of great productivity followed by long periods of doubts, writing woes, and plain old procrastination. How will accountability get you through all the stages of writing? It's so easy to not write when we're in a funk.
One powerful motivator is to track your progress. Do you remember that free calendar I mentioned last week? (For those of you just joining the blog, you can print a free calendar by clicking here: http://www.printfree.com/Calendars.htm) Use it to write down how much you got done that day. For example: I wrote 9 pages of my latest novel last Monday. Once I finished writing, I jotted down "9 pgs" under 1/12/09. You can also mark time spent researching or whatever you do related to writing that day.
Another great idea is to keep a writing log. I keep one for each novel I work on. It can work well for short stories or articles as well. A writing log can be as simple or as complicated as you want it. My writing logs are just Word files saved in the same folder as my current manuscript. Each day I write, I log the date, the chapter I'm working on, the number of pages I wrote that day, the total number of pages I wrote since starting the novel, and the total word count of the novel. It takes two minutes. Honestly.
I hope you're not thinking isn't that just more work?
Keeping a written record of your writing progress is like keeping a written record of how fantastic you are. You'll be surprised at the end of any given week to see how much you wrote. You won't feel like a big failure because the proof will be staring at you in black and white.
As time progresses and March rolls around, you're going to look back through your calendar and see all of the Tuesdays you wrote one page. Or you'll know at the end of April that you already wrote over a quarter of your novel. And what about November when your eyes will bug out as you realize that you've already finished your goals for the year!
Join me on Wednesday for a discussion on not allowing your writing log and calendar to languish.
Get motivated! It's Monday!