Thursday, February 28, 2013

28 days of writing accountability

Three weeks ago I wrote here about starting a writing "challenge" - write every day for at least 30 minutes, and then report in to my accountability partners. The 28 days have finished, and I have written more than 20,000 words. It's rough first draft, sure, but I doubt very much that I would have written nearly that much in the same amount of time. More importantly, I'm creating a writing habit.

What has come out of the challenge for me? First of all, a sense of writing as a component of each and every day. An important component. After all, I'm supposed to be a writer so I should be writing - right? But too often life and other things get in the way, and too often we (I) put writing off for another day. It's sadly too easy to discover that "writing day" hasn't arrived in several weeks or more. So I found that every morning I was already working out when I would write. I tried to make it early, but some days it was the afternoon. Still, if I had something on in the morning, I was aware that writing would be happening later on.

I also have been working on something completely new, in a genre I have only written short stories in before, so it's a bit scary. There have been many times when I've hated what I've written and, at any other time, might have tossed it away and given up. The 30 minute commitment has kept me at it. I have to admit it wasn't until around page 55 that I allowed myself to go back and read the first pages! And I didn't hate them quite so much. But now I have pages to revise.

The other part of this is the accountability.  When I had done my 30 minutes, I had to email the others in my accountability group and tell them. A simple "30 minutes done" was all that was needed, and they did the same to me. The one thing that many of them have said is that they produced far more this month than they would have otherwise, and like me, became far more aware of making time to write.  Some have done double writing to make up for missed days. Not one of us has given up.

I've just started a second lot of 28 days, and some of my accountability partners are joining me again. Some have been talking about what they achieved, and have found new partners to get inspired with. You can start this with just two of you, on any day you like. Give it a go - you might surprise or even amaze yourself!


Marsha Qualey said...

Love the idea of accountability because otherwise we storytellers might indeed tell ourselves a different story about how the day went. So, I'm going to do it, probably first with a daily walk accountability project,as you did, yes? And congrats on those pages piling up.

Sherryl said...

Marsha, at the time the walking seemed more achievable and I really needed to exercise and not be locked into a gym thing.
It is quite astonishing (to me, at least) how this 28 day thing kicks in. Mr Harper advocates one thing at a time, for 28 days. That's it. But you have to commit. I'm pretty short term a lot of the time so it appealed. After 3 lots of 28 days, a day without walking now makes me very twitchy, and I can already see that the same thing is working with the 30 minutes of writing. And I'm glad I type fast because 30 minutes can produce 2-3 pages every time!

paul's pen n paint said...

I have read that it takes 21 days for form a habit. Your 28 day, 30 minutes writing, at a time, on a daily basis is GREAT. I must try this for myself. The fact that you send your daily "30" work off to others for accountability is the "icing on the cake".

Sherryl said...

Paul, they also say that around 90 days will make it something you cannot go without doing (which is why I get twitchy now if I haven't walked!). Let us know how you go.