the kinetic pen

wired by words

An Accountability Trick for Writers

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You experiment with a lot of different approaches when trying to get a 7-year-old to focus. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. I’m not sure about the one I was about to use  with my daughter yesterday – it would’ve been embarrassing to us both if anyone overheard and would’ve made me feel more militant than motherly – except to say that I’m going to see how it works on myself and my creative writing schedule.

So here goes. The first question:

“What was the expectation?”

The answer might be “To work on my book for three hours straight,” or “To figure out where to tuck this vignette.”

Then the accountability kicker: “Rate your performance.”

(Isn’t my daughter lucky that I kept this one in my head?)

I’ll use a scale from 1 to 5 to keep it simple, and keep a daily record in plain sight on my desk. What I like about this is that some days, because of work demands, I know I won’t be able to do much more than edit a few paragraphs. I’ll make that my expectation, and once done, I can give myself a high score. The exercise will help me keep a positive focus on my project while not beating myself up for having some slower days.

I’ll circle back around to this idea in a future blog, once I have some results. In the meantime, what accountability tricks do you use?



Author: thekineticpen

Freelance journalist working on a narrative nonfiction book about a woman who, after the freak death of her husband, decides to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to deal with her grief and finds a second chance at love.

One thought on “An Accountability Trick for Writers

  1. Robin, I use (free app) that tracks your computer activity and gives you a weekly summary of time spent as well as measures you against the goals you set. I know some days are more productive than others so viewing it a week at a time is helpful. You are right, establishing an accountablility system that works for you is essential.

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