Friday, April 1, 2011

Achieving Writing Ambitions with Accountability

A lot of us have writing ambitions for where we want our careers to be at specific times in the future. You may even be like me and have those goals broken down into small obtainable steps. The problem is, not all of those goals are introduced into our reality. This is where accountability comes in.

Accountability to others, that is. Telling someone important to you what your writing goals are, and asking them to check on you, puts it all out there. It introduces the need to achieve ambition into our lives in a very real way. There are now stakes attached, an incentive to perform.
"Accountability breeds response-ability." 
                                                           -- Stephen Covey
It somehow feels like you are more 'responsible' to get it done. "I want to" turns into "I have to." So we do it.

Establishing someone to be accountable to can have you responding to ambitions as tasks, not just nebulous future goals.

I found an inspiring accountability post to share, by Scott Dinsmore at Reading for Your Success. Very thought-provoking and provides an easy goal break-down format to follow. One subhead succinctly sums up the whole point of this post: "Share Your Goals and Create Your Reality."

So--deep breath--here are two goals I hope to achieve this year. Feel free to hold me accountable.

Increase writing community involvement

Ambition: Connect more with fellow writers/bloggers for enrichment, enjoyment, advancement and sanity.  
- Regularly join blogfests. Like, I dunno, the A to Z Blogging Challenge. :)
- Comment more on blog, forum and group posts 
- Connecting in-person by attending at least one writing conference per year. 
Accountability Method: Best I can think of for this is you'll be seeing me around more. Less lurking, more communicating. For the conference, I'll post about it on this blog.

Branch out into diverse writing markets

Ambition:  To actively search out enjoyable opportunities, being less passive in my career.
- Search out submission guidelines for publications/websites I enjoy.
- Query two a week, building up to 10 per week.
Accountability Method: I'm going to update my progress on this blog, at the middle and end of every month.

So, what writing ambitions do you have for this year? Who do you tell, to stay on track?


  1. Last October I made a 10-year plan. It's much more specific in 2011 than it is for 2019, but it'll evolve.

    I found that once I did that, I didn't need to tell anyone else. I had created a path, and once I had that, including my reasons for wanting that path, it became easy. I've never been so busy... or so happy, since I created it!

  2. That is awesome (and awe inspiring) India!

  3. My husband and I have just started writing down our "goals" and marking them off as we complete the steps to achieve our ultimate goal.

    Great post!

  4. Goals--well, as far as my writing, I kind of take things a book at a time and a step at a time. I know that my writing goals for this year are to a) write the sequel to my current novel and b) for my co-author and I to finish writing the fourth book in our fantasy series.

    Some other goals for my books depend on waiting on my publisher, and then the goal becomes "Look, my publisher is sending proofs! I need to finish this round of edits."

    I have blogging goals this year, though--they sound a lot like yours. I want to be able to connect with more people and more writers, and I'm working on that. :)

    I have some amazing family and friends who I talk to about my various projects, and that always helps. Sometimes they prod me along. "When are you going to finish this? I want to read it." Or, "How's this book coming?"

    Thanks for the post!

  5. @B's Mom - Thanks! I love checking off lists. Sounds like you have a built-in accountability partner. Wishing you luck on accomplishing everything!

    @Laura - Connecting is so important when we spend so much time in our own heads. It's great that you have friends and family that take an interest!

  6. With so many choices, you and I chose the same A word of the day, albeit from different angles. Accountability is important in most every aspect of our daily lives.

  7. @MA - I saw that--just came from WWI! I liked your take on the subject.

  8. Accountability is a great way to get the blog challenge going. Kudos, Tamara! I look forward to seeing what comes next. Cheers!

  9. Great way to work in all those wonderful A words!

  10. I started on the write 1 sub 1 challenge last month, and I think that is a perfect goal to have as a writer, to write one story a week and to submit one.

    On my bucket list I have: I want 3 books with my name on it on my shelves. I am self publishing one of them this year, so thus far I am doing great.

    I really should make a long term plan though. But short term I am good to go! :)

    kudo's on a great first A to Z post from a fellow A to Z poster! Love your use of a wordle as a header!

  11. @leslylsmith - Thanks! I'm enjoying reading what everyone else came up with myself.

    @Talli - Lol - I was afraid it was overkill! ;)

  12. @Sylvia - Sounds like a good goal to me. Congrats on your book! Wordle is my go-to solution when I can't find a pic. Gotta have a graphic!

  13. Great start to the challenge, Ambitions and I are no strangers, I had an ambition to have a poetry book published and it happened, Looking forward to reading some more from you,

    Thanks for the comment.

  14. Great post, and a motivation to me too. I look forward to more posts!

  15. So true! That's why joining a writing group two years ago has helped me finish two novels and a short story!
    (= A-Z is cool.

    (My writing group )

  16. Hi, Tamara,

    Making lists help me achieve my goals, as long as I continue checking the list. Putting stuff in black and white does have a way of making us more accountable. Having someone to share goals with is even better.

  17. Ooo...I must do this. I have to finish my novel!

    Great post.

  18. I am a list maker, just need to keep them in a book. I make sooo many! I love your wordle~

  19. Accountability is so not my friend. I need to get my act together and get some writing goals written out. Once I do that, I'll share them on my blog - most of my blog followers are hardcore and will badger me to death if I stray of course. Okay, maybe not, but they do believe in me...which means a lot.

  20. Goals are important. I do write them down and share with my cps!

  21. I'm on track! Next book revised and with test readers and critiquers now.
    Hope you're enjoying the Challenge!

  22. One of my writing ambitions for this year is to finish writing novel #2. My family holds me accountable because they want to see me published as much as I want to see me published. Also, I belong to a local writer group who holds me accountable.

  23. I found this through the A-Z Challenge. My ambition is to keep with this blog challenge. :)

  24. My ambition is to write for a big name gaming site. I just keeping write what I love while searching for opportunities.



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