Accountability with creative writing

OHB

Crazed Writer
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Jan 5, 2019
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somewhere in time and space
#21
I prefer for no one to know what I'm writing or when I'm writing. I've had issues in the past with people nagging me to finish things, and it made writing stressful for me. It also made me rush through things I really should have spent more time on. Nowadays, I set aside at least two hours each day for writing and try to do as much as I can in that time while keeping in mind that some things are going to take longer than others.
 

Susan Boulton

The storyteller
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Mar 15, 2006
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#22
Sorry to hear that, Susan.

Writing's mostly a solitary pursuit, but things can get awkward when collaborating with others, (publishers, artists etc), if things go awry.
It is what it is. It wasn't the collaborating, it was having to deal with the problems not of my making. It made me re-address everything to do with writing, my approach, what my goals really were, and what I intend to do in the future. Having the joy sucked out of what you love doing really is pants.
 

Steve Harrison

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Dec 9, 2014
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Sydney, Australia
#23
I hold myself accountable by 'committing' to one writing session per week, if possible, and to writing at least one sentence if I do manage to get to the keyboard. The result is that I am a massive overachiever and the fact I can write a novel in about a year under this unrelenting regime impresses me considerably.

I used to have unrealistic expectations about my writing, as my busy non-writing job and family/social commitments led to severe frustration and a long period - over a year - when I was completely blocked. I realised that as my salary increased and work commitments grew, writing would have to take a back seat and if I wanted to enjoy the activity, I needed to take the pressure off. It worked and I now feel I have a happy, contented and balanced life, with the added possibility of one of my books hitting the big time.
 

AlexH

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#24
Like a few others, I don't like leaving things unfinished so that's a motivation (he says with about 100 unfinished stories). I attend a writing group that often writes on the night from a trigger so I'm not short of things to work on. Tonight we had 15 minutes and I was one verse short of writing a villanelle (a poetic form I'd never heard of before). Two writers finished!

Where I struggle is in the editing, so I pay an editor a month in advance. If I don't work on existing stories it's a waste of my money! I often leave it until the last day. and I've been up editing/writing past 3am on a couple of occasions. I don't want to pay an editor forever (in fact, I'll stop at some point this year), but I'm also learning a lot.

I don't have a modern games console and don't watch much TV or film, which probably helps.

Mozart wrote 41 symphonies and Haydn over 100, yet only a handful are regularly played today. Bach wrote a full cantata for every Sunday for three years (okay, he recycled a few bits here and there) yet, again, only a handful are played today. Their regular work helped them refine their craft and create, from a catalogue of hundreds of hours of music, a few stunning pieces that have endured for centuries.
That's a good point. Sometimes I worry that 3 of my stories are way better than the other 30 that are finished or almost finished, and I don't want to disappoint people if they read one of the good 3, then one of the others.
 
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The Bluestocking

Bloody Mary in Blue
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#25
I prefer for no one to know what I'm writing or when I'm writing. I've had issues in the past with people nagging me to finish things, and it made writing stressful for me.
This is why my family will never know I picked up the pen to begin writing again. I just tell them I work on Saturdays. Which is actually the truth - writing is work (though it is work I enjoy immensely).

Too much pressure - especially from my mother who would keep nagging and thinking that telling me to aim for major literary prizes is a way to motivate me.

Nope, my family can [insert your choice of four-letter word here] off as far as my writing is concerned.

My family is also one of the reasons why I've selected a pen name for when I get published. No need for them to go get my books and then come back to point out everything that's "wrong" with my stories in their eyes (while thinking that the criticism is a favour to me "for your own good").

Oops... got sidetracked with a rant...
 

The Bluestocking

Bloody Mary in Blue
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#26
You two are to blame for being too social.

There's a reason I live in a cavern in an isolated island in the North Sea.
I'm not a very social person, actually - I'm an introvert who tries to wiggle out of most social gatherings unless it's with good friends (and I do, for some reason, have a lot of good friends).

I also tend to try to beg out of family gatherings because my aunt/grandma/mother might say: "Dinner's at 7pm but come at 6pm because we need you to help out with the final dinner prep. And could you stop by the bakery to pick up the cake before you come. Don't you dare rush off after dinner, we all never see you so you jolly well stay for dessert". Translation: 4pm - 10pm (6 hours) gone. Worse if it's a family lunch. So I dodge and my huge extended family (I have 10 uncles and aunts on one side alone) have now realised that I can only be dragged out for major birthdays, major festivals, and genuine medical emergencies. Everything else is met with a dodge. My family - being the typical Asian family that does NOT understand the meaning of "boundaries" - thinks I'm odd because I'm an introvert who doesn't like going to parties and being in the noisy multigenerational family gatherings that are full of people talking all at once and loudly to boot.

It's just that since Saturday is technically my only proper day off due to being a rather reclusive workaholic (I work from Sundays to Thursdays from home and Fridays are for running errands and tying up loose ends), everyone wants a piece of me on Saturdays.

I have to play Dodge The Invitation a lot in order to carve out time to write...
 
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OHB

Crazed Writer
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somewhere in time and space
#27
Translation: 4pm - 10pm (6 hours) gone... I have to play Dodge The Invitation a lot in order to carve out time to write...
Not to derail the thread here, but this is one of the reasons I moved over 800 miles away from my family. I only see them during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and at an annual tribal gathering (if I can take off of work). I do Skype with them about once a month but for no longer than two hours at a time. It's easier for me to focus when there's no social life to distract me from writing.
 

AnyaKimlin

Confuddled
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#28
Knowing I have to have a 500 word piece ready for my writing group, on Tuesday nights, has got me over many a writing hump. Even if all I produce is a poem then I have something ready. I actually think without ForWords (a lovely group) and meeting up with some commissioning editors at XPO North last year, I'd have given up writing completely when I was blocked for about a year. Writing short pieces or editing old ones kept me going until I located the source of my block and I was able to unblock the drain.
 
Joined
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#29
I've made writing a habit, and I usually write for 2 hours a day. Sometimes a little more. I started a fantasy/sci-fi critique group that's grown over the years, and meeting and socializing with other writers in it helps motivate me. When I get a positive review, that motivates me a lot, too.
 
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#30
Perhaps the best bits about my writing group has been the opportunity to read my work out to an audience, watch facial expressions as I read it out and with my fantasy, I found it useful to get a mixed eye run over it. When I had it so my group could understand it then I knew I had it right.

My current work is interesting, as at least one lady is not keen on the swearing and violence.
 

Vaz

We're in the pipe, five by five.
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#31
I do enjoy the solitary lifestyle of writing, and enjoy locking myself away to write, but, I think I would finish more stories if I was part of a writing group. Sometimes I just need some pressure - or a kick up the backside to motivate me to get it done, even when I don't feel like it.
 

AlexH

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Staffordshire, UK
#32
I do enjoy the solitary lifestyle of writing, and enjoy locking myself away to write, but, I think I would finish more stories if I was part of a writing group. Sometimes I just need some pressure - or a kick up the backside to motivate me to get it done, even when I don't feel like it.
There has to be a few in Liverpool?
 

Scookey

Author of the AD2045 sci-fi series
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Dec 14, 2018
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#33
What an interesting mixed bag of replies here. Personally, I am with those who set their own deadlines and remain self-motivated enough to do so. Have worked in house as a copywriter and, sure, there were imposed deadlines for that work and, in that case, they needed to be imposed deadlines as was doing the writing for someone else. When it comes to my own writing though, the only person requiring me to do it is me and if I can't be motivated to achieve my own goals, then I have no place in the world as a creative writer and might as well give up and get a 'normal' job. One that actually pays by the hour - now that would be a novelty... :D
 

monsterchic

Captain Satanpants
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Wisconsin
#34
I come from sort of a different boat, as I don't publish my stuff for money (thanks fanfic). I've found that my fic friends have been invaluable for my writing. My discord server helps a lot, too. I've got a channel for pre-released stuff where me and the other authors can get some feedback or ask for hype if they need it. It helps with feeling excited to get out and write every day--which I try to to--because motivation is often my biggest struggle. So when I've got people rooting for that next chapter, it's easier to sit down and bang it out.

Again, doesn't probably work as well for novels, but that's my two cents heh
 
Joined
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Standish, Michigan
#35
I've been writing off-and-on for about seven years or so now. I'd write for a time on one of my in-progress novels and then set it aside for months or even years at a go until I'd get 'unstuck' on whatever was holding me up. I still haven't finished those projects yet, but I will. I wrote slowly because, at the time, it was nothing more than a hobby with the idea of maybe publishing if I ever got them finished. That all changed about 2 years ago when a high-stress situation at my then day-job made me look more seriously at writing. I needed an escape and writing gave that to me. I wrote everyday, every spare minute I could find. My need to find any possible way out of my job kept me accountable in my writing. It was finished within four months (two months of writing and two months editing, formatting, and designing the cover). So far, this is the only book I've finished/published, but that experience has helped me stay motivated to continue writing and hold myself to at least general deadlines. My second book is taking longer, but, after some interference from life, it's moving again and I've been able to write a couple thousand words a day. I now have a world that I've created and I want to see where it goes as much as any reader. (I don't plan my writing to the nth degree; I know generally where I want to go with a story, but I let it flow on its own as to how it gets there). This is part of what keeps me accountable. There is, however, another thing that keeps me accountable to write and that is a friendly competition with my brother who is also working on a novel (he started his first actually). As soon as he knew I was working on a book, it became a competition to see who would finish theirs first. So far, I'm winning :D. Current score: me 1; brother 0. We tag each other on Facebook every now and then with our current word counts.
 

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