How Writing Groups and Goals Keep Us on Task

How good are you at staying on task? At self-monitoring your writing schedule? If you’re like me, then the answer to these questions is not as good as you’d like to be.

How about accountability? I know I’m better at that.

When I have a meeting with either my writing group or with my critique partner, I know I have to get writing done so they have something to read … and I do it. A chapter or two is a bite size chunk and very do-able. Even more so when you know others are counting on you to have it done for their critiquing pleasure. Not some faceless editor on the other side of the country, but a real live person who will be looking at you with their hand out waiting for you to give them what you promised.

When left to my own devices, I can find a million ways to frivol away my writing time on non-writing activities or even writing activities that are not writing. But, when I have a weekly or bi-monthly meeting arranged with a certain expectation of productivity to accomplish, I get-r-done!

Sure, the meetings take time and that is always a precious commodity, but when weighed against my productivity when I’m not accountable, they are worth it. Period.

What about goal setting? I’m not always great, but definitely better if I have a daily goal written down and ‘staring’ at me. I’m a list maker, to the point of neurosis, so if I have a daily to-do list that says ‘write X number of words’ or ‘write X scene’ today, I will make it happen more times than not.

Sometimes deadlines may feel overwhelming, so smaller writing goals are easier to accomplish. It’s often more productive to say, ‘I will write this chapter today or this week’, than it is to say and accomplish, ‘I will write this book in the next six months’. That seems so far out there and so much to do, even insurmountable, especially to those who are new or new-ish.

It’s November and that means NaNoWriMo, and many are out there writing their way towards that 50k goal. Some by having a daily word count goal, others by just writing their asses off every chance they get in bursts of productivity. I do better on this one when I have a daily goal, but I have yet to ‘win’ and reach that 50k goal. I think it’s lack of preparation, but that’s another post.

Do you find that goals and groups keep you on task? What other ways do you maintain your accountability?

5 responses on “How Writing Groups and Goals Keep Us on Task

  1. Colette

    The goal groups and writing groups help me connect with other writers, and I wouldn’t be as far as I am without them. Our fictorians goal group has been one of my favorites, and probably the only one I’ve stuck with for so long. I feel like I have friends here, and I want to be telling them good news as often as possible.

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