Sunday, November 17, 2013

Passing The Buck Might Be A Great Plan

Blech. I can't stand being sick. I've had a nasty head cold all week long and I haven't even had a chance to nurse it properly because I've also worked a full 35hr work week. True, a measly 35hrs doesn't seem like much to those who have full-time jobs, multiple jobs, live outside the United States where a day's shift is about 16hrs long, or if you're a parent and therefore are ALWAYS on the job.

However, it's a long, tiring week for me when I just want to curl up in bed and sleep the week away.

Virtually no cleaning was done this week. I attempted three different times, and each resulted in one or two loads of dishes being done and the laundry washed, but nothing else. Pretty much the entire week consisted of me going to work first thing in the morning, coming home early afternoon, and then staying in bed the rest of the day.

Normally I don't mind weeks like this. Since I'm hiding away in my bedroom anyway, I would spend the time writing on my netbook. If I fell asleep, oh well, at least I did more work than I normally would. Otherwise, I just spent the last 8hrs writing!

Sadly, I still haven't found the money to purchase the last few things my father-in-law needs to finish fixing my netbook. So it's still out of commission. I have taken up stealing Hubby's laptop while he's at work, but the rest of the time he's usually on it.

Still, I do have those few precious hours where Hubby's working and I can thief his laptop. It's been a slow writing progress, but it IS progress. I've even added a new step in my writing process. If you're one of my personal Facebook friends you'd already know this, but I now request that everyone "poke me back in to my writing corner" if they catch me messing around online while Hubby's at work - and I therefore have his laptop to write on.

It might be cheating a little bit, but I discovered that I really have no drive to write lately, except for when I make myself accountable. And I also discovered that the best way to make myself feel accountable for writing is to pass the buck - so to speak - to my friends online. I now make THEM accountable for keeping me in check; kind of like a parent making sure I get my homework done.

I tried holding myself accountable simply by having a new chapter up every week, but my ability to write is so limited that I never seem to hit my deadlines. As the weeks slip by with no update my sense of accountability wanes. That's when I realized that maybe it's not the need to hit deadlines that kept me writing, but the knowledge that people KNEW I was writing and expecting me to do just that.

The daily challenges back in July 2012; maybe it wasn't the deadline of getting a new story done by midnight. Maybe it was actually the fact that people knew I was participating in the challenge and were expecting a new story to be posted daily. They knew for a fact that I was attempting to write every day, and they were anticipating that notification to let them know that I was done and the work was up. Same for the weekly challenges over on Writers’ Huddle back in August. People knew I was participating and were awaiting my weekly updates. Granted, the opportunity to win a prize didn't hurt.

The thing though, is that people didn't know the specifics of when I was writing for the Writers' Huddle challenge, so how was this not a case of the deadline alone being motivation to write? Well, because it had a forum connected to the challenge. I could see others posting their progress and I could comment about my own. They were expecting an update from me by that Sunday. If I missed my deadline - if I didn't write that week - they would certainly notice and have a place to discuss that.

Not to say that they would; we had a few people who - due to circumstances beyond their control - missed out on a few challenges. We didn't mock those people or talk down to them or question their devotion to writing. We were understanding and welcoming. We usually eased the person's sense of guilt over missing the challenge.

Regardless, the fact that there were people who were holding me accountable for this challenge forced me to stay on point.

I tried to tell myself that the same was true about my Hey Arnold! and X-Future stories. If I told people that I'd post weekly or monthly that they'd notice that I fell short, and they might not be as kind about it as my Writers' Huddle buddies. Yet, even with a few of you as known readers, the vast majority of my audience are nameless and faceless to me. I really have little knowledge that my stuff is being read aside from the slow tick on the "visitors" counter and the very rare comment.

So, even though I KNOW that you want new chapters and that you're waiting patiently for them; even though I know that you notice the days, weeks, and months fly by without an update; even though that SHOULD be enough to hold me accountable, it just doesn't for some reason.

Distancing, maybe?

But knowing that there are people who can ride me about not writing? That's motivation for me. So, I guess thank God for professional editors and publishers who could harass me in to keeping my deadlines if/when I become a professional author. Until then, I'll try to keep up with this "Hold my Facebook friends accountable" approach.

Eh, it seems to be working so far. I've had a few sticklers. I had an aunt who responded to a comment I made on my sister's wall; telling me to "get back to work" even though the comment was an hour or so before I posted that I was attempting to write. I also have The Bard sending me pokes and "get back to work" messages if he sees me activate in his IM contacts; problem there is that I actually wasn't online whenever he sent me those messages. The mouse must have been bumped or something, making him THINK I was messing around on Facebook.

Oh well, at least I know I can trust my friends and family to keep me in check.
Seems to be working well, too. I almost exclusively wrote while Hubby was at work this week. Because of this drive and the passed-on-accountability I'm doing fairly well with NaNo this year. Granted, that's partially because I'm not strictly counting the words going in to a 50,000 word novel. For this year's NaNo I'm just aiming for 50,000 words of creative writing.

This means I'm counting everything I type for this blog, for the X-Future story, as well as my X-Future roleplaying. I did miss a few days last week, however, and so I'm still about 7000 words behind where I should be. It's still better than last year when I was about 12000 words behind at this point.

I can't wait to see how much more efficient I can be once I do get my netbook back! Whoot!
As for you guys checking out my progress? Well, I don't have the chapter quite done yet, so I'll have to post the link to it next week. You can still keep an eye out, if I post during the week I'll try to remember to tweet about it, and/or post it on facebook.

In the meantime, here's the Snippet I promised you about Trish's run through the latest Brotherhood obstacle course. Devon decided to poke his head around and try it out himself, and so now I don't know if it will become significant enough to keep in his companion story that I'll eventually write. If so, this portion will be sort of footnoted since the story will be through Devon's perspective. Anyway, Devon wanted to really provoke Trish before his run, and so I tagged that at the end of her run; originally the story ended with her collapsing after finishing the course.

So, let me know what you think of the snippet and/or my new accountability tactic. That comment section under each post looks so empty and lonely.

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