You may be familiar with the mantra many successful romance writers use to get and stay productive. It is “Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard.”
However, as useful as that mantra is, it may also be useful to hold yourself accountable by other methods. Here are a few that work for romance writers around the world.
#1 Social networking. There are hundreds of romance writers, published and unpublished that post their wordcount on social networking sites. Just jump on Twitter and search the following tag #amwriting and you’ll see a number of writers using Twitter to hold themselves accountable. It’s fast, it’s free and it definitely works for many.
#2 Writing groups. This operates along the same system that social networking does. You’re using a connection with fellow writers to hold yourself accountable. Most romance writing groups have a forum so you can do the same thing, post what you’re working on and what you’ve accomplished. However, writing groups can take it a step further and require you to have a certain amount to deliver each month.
For example, my critique group has a 50 page rule. Each month we get together and critique approximately 50 pages from our fellow group members. If you think about it, that’s not a whole lot to produce in a month but it does mean after a few months you have a book written and critiqued.
#3 Good old fashioned journaling. There’s something to be said for writing down your goals, breaking them up into smaller daily goals and then tracking your progress and success. Athletes do it with exercise logs. Nutritionists and physicians recommend it when you’re trying to lose weight. That’s because exercise and dietary goals can be difficult challenges.
Well guess what, so is writing a romance novel. It’s a challenge! Use a journal to help stay on track to reach your goals. I use a small planner I bought at Target for about $5. It has a place to write notes each day and a weekly view. And it also provides a place for note taking. I pulled out my handy dandy labeler and stuck a label on the front that inspires me and place the journal in the middle of my desk. Each day, regardless of what I have or haven’t accomplished, I write it down.
And guess what, it works! It helps you stay motivated to accomplish something for no one other than yourself.
There are also wonderful tips and advice on how to stay motivated and reach your romance writing and publication goals in “Writing For Love and Money.” Whether you’re struggling to achieve your goals or you’re the queen (or king) of discipline, consider using one of these methods to hold yourself accountable. I use all three!