Are you accountable for your time? I wasn’t. I have never been a great judge of time, and my entire life I’m inclined to run ten minutes late, or even worse when I’m overwhelmed. I have a tendency to take onto too much and then be the eternal optimist that I can get it all done. This is what goes through my deluded mind–I AM SUPER WOMAN see my cape!
Um, not really, Hillary. Get over it! Much to my dismay I don’t have any flying abilities at this time, although that would solve my being late issue. And the truth is that the not-being-a-great-judge-of-time can be an asset for a writer. I mean I can really get lost in my work or my research, and I think that’s really cool. But here’s the big but when you become an author (read: published), it’s not just about producing pages and writing, it’s also equally about promotion. That means doing school visits, speaking at conferences, networking with bookstores, tweeting, blogging and generally getting your name out there. And luckily for me I like writing in my blog. It feels like some kind of release, some way for me to virtually connect with other writers, readers, booksellers, educators and librarians. And it’s has become truly fun recently because I do it regularly. Here that? Weekly. When I was haphazard about it, I always felt guilty about my blog. Like it was a dirty secret because it was so neglected.
You wondered when this post would loop back around to being accountable for my time, didn’t you? And here’s where it does. When I wasn’t being accountable for my author time, I would write and write and write until I had some deadline (such as picking up my kids from school). This would leave me for little time for author-y things like writing in my blog, so it just wasn’t happening. In fact, the only time I was doing author-y things was in around a book launch. Then after the book launch was done, it was back to writing.
But, eureka! I have seen the light.
I mean I knew all about the light, but I just didn’t want to go there. As an author, you really, really, really have to do both—promotion and writing–or employ others who do both for you. I always want to do my own writing, but I needed help in the business department, so in January, I joined an accountability group. That means you tell a group of other professionals, I’m going to do so and so and such and such, and then you all check in with each other once a week to make sure that you have done it!
And it works.
I mean at first it was all about shame. I wanted to make sure that I did what I said I was going to do because I didn’t want to look bad, but now I actually want to do everything. I actually feel this pride in getting the work done. That means I actually really love writing this post and telling you how I feel. Yeah, that’s another thing. I’m working—the honesty thing. If I can’t be honest with myself or learn how to write honestly then how can I write well? I think that should be another blog post, don’t you think, but let’s get back to accountability.
So you are saying, but, Hillary, old pal, great friend, that sounds all great and swell, but I can’t afford an accountability group. And I say, you don’t need to pay. You just need two or three others in the same boat (they don’t need to be writers). Even one would work and just agree to meet once a week. For my group, we write up our wins and what we want to accomplish for the week and share using Google docs. We also have an annual larger meeting where we set our goals for the year. Now look, if you don’t want to deal with the group thing then you can certainly pay for this service. There are some wonderful business coaches out there who are really great at setting this up for you.
So, if you are like me, and have some goals you’d like to accomplish for 2012 and beyond and have some wee issues about being truly accountable, then give an accountability group a whirl. I think it works and the proof is in this post.