So normally I would have posted on Monday, but I’ve been behind on my goals. I intended to be finished with the revise and resubmit for Silhouette Desire by the 25th and that so did not happen. I’m a little bit of a perfectionist and thank goodness I have a wonderful supportive writing friend in Cynthia Justlin who gave me the stellar advice to just stop already. I’ve almost gotten myself to let go and hit print, which will happen as soon as I stop obsessing about chapter lengths.
Okay, I’m done. I’m printing it this morning.
What does this have to do with accountability and support? Well, everything. I had a goal that I didn’t reach and my A/S partner is taking me to task. A goal is only half realized without someone looking over our shoulder and prodding us occasionally to keep us on track. Without this framework, we fall behind. We don’t finish. I think it’s critical to get some people in our lives who know us, know our goals and know our weaknesses so we can achieve.
All of us operate differently and require different things from an A/S group. One note – this is different from a critique partner or a beta reader (also critical in the world of writing fiction). The people might be the same, but they perform different functions when we’re talking about goals. Our A/S people should know our five-year plan, our one-year plan and our daily/weekly goals so they can kick our butt when we slack off. Or in my case, when I allow fear to freeze up my print finger.
Some of us may work well with a partner who provides nothing but encouragement and support to get us over a writing slump. Some of us may need more gentle direction over what we are and are not capable of accomplishing when we’ve got soccer, PTA meetings and a presentation due Tuesday at work. Sometimes I need a body at my door with a baseball bat, threatening to bash me over the head if I don’t get a move on. Fortunately, a virtual one works just as well for me. J
I’m not just writing and submitting one book this year. I have three more to write and sub. That means I can’t let my timelines slip even a little or I put the rest of the year at risk. An A/S group will stay on top of this with us. The key is to be transparent and to be in constant communication with your partners.
In the A/S group I was part of last year, we used a free forum to post our goals weekly and then during the week, helped each other with encouragement and the occasional “what are you thinking?” A blog account works well as does joining one of the many writing groups readily found all over the internet.
The most important thing is to reach out. Like with writing, it takes time and effort to get the right people in place. But it’s worth it.
What do you need? Accountability or support? Both? Baseball bat?