Accountability – The Key to Success – Diane Stark

Every Sunday evening for the last year, I’ve spent a few minutes planning my writing week. I look at the deadlines I need to meet, my never-ending writing To Do list, and my non-writing related responsibilities for the week. Then I make a list of what I think I can realistically accomplish that week. I set daily writing goals, which are designed to help me meet my weekly goal.

Plan your work and work your plan. It’s good advice. The only problem was that I wasn’t exactly following it.

Oh, I had the first phase down pat. I did the planning part faithfully every Sunday night. But half-way through the week, one of my kids would get sick or I’d get drafted to help with the fundraiser at my kids’ school, and my writing plan went out the window.

So the next Sunday night, when I would sit down to plan again, I had to incorporate at least half of the previous week’s goals into the next week. It felt like I was spinning my wheels and going nowhere fast.

I was complaining about my planning problem to a fellow writer. As part-time writers, we agreed how easy it was to allow everything else to squeeze out our writing time. “Email your plan to me,” she suggested. “I’ll make sure you follow it.”

And she has. This past Monday, I received an email from her that read, “What are you working on today?” On Tuesday, she sent me one that said, “Are you following your plan?” And on Wednesday, well, you get the idea.

She’s like the proverbial angel on my shoulder, pestering me – in a good way – to stay off Facebook and meet my writing goals.

Since we’ve started being accountable to one another, we’ve both been writing and submitting more each week. We’ve both gotten acceptances from brand-new markets. And for the first time in a long time, my Sunday night planning session included moving forward, rather than trying to finish tasks from last week. Now that was a great feeling!

All writers, but part-time writers in particular, need an accountability partner. Find someone to hold your feet to the fire – and your rear to your computer chair. It’s made all the difference for me.

Diane Stark is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. She writes about the important things in life: her family and her faith. She is the author of “Teacher’s Devotions to Go.”

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