Let’s face it, anyone can say they are a writer but it takes dedication to call yourself an author. It took me a long time to realize that, so let me save you the year or so it took me to come to that conclusion.
I grew up writing. Spent every waking second doing it. If my nose wasn’t buried in a book, I was huddled over a notebook full of fantastic tales and wonderful adventures. My creative juices were bursting from the seams and I knew at a young age I wanted to be a writer. To this day, I have several hefty boxes of half finished stories, journals and plot twists. As I grew up, responsibilities kind of took over and I had to focus on “real” life. In college I took a lot of English Lit classes and every elective I took was some kind of creative writing course. At that point, I’d been told I needed to start choosing a real career path because evidently writing wasn’t going to pay the bills.
I honed in on English, determined to teach and instill the same love of writing that I had as a child. After going to college, I ended up in the teaching field, but not in a place where I was writing or even teaching writing. So, I reverted back to writing when I was stressed or not writing at all. However, I knew that writing was a part of who I was and that without it I felt incomplete.
On a whim, I went back to school. Interestingly, it was during the most chaotic time of my life I went back to my writing. I started writing during my children’s nap time because I had something to say and…
I never felt happier.
I was in love with writing. I needed in my life. But, I still wasn’t actively writing. I was writing when I felt my muse and, let’s face it, my muse was anything but consistent. Even now, I have a pretty lousy relationship with her but we are working on it.
It kind of hit me one day, I was really good at writing papers in college, but when it came to writing my own stuff I struggled. I lacked direction and I lacked focus. So what was different between my term papers and my novels? Accountability! That, and, of course, a desire not to fail. The reality was that I did great with deadlines, in fact, I more than likely finished early. There was absolutely no reason why I couldn’t use the same concept in my writing.
I needed accountability.
Accountability can be found in so many different places. From your best friend or your spouse, to NaNoWriMo (if you don’t know what this is, we’ll get into this later) or creating a basic reminder on your phone, accountability is what keeps you on track and keeps you focused on writing.
Some people are driven by money, others by fame, but we are all driven by some kind of goal. Once you find what you are working towards it’s important to find someone or something to hold you accountable. Because, come on, we aren’t perfect! There are far too many distractions to say that we get it right the first time, every time. Even I, a seasoned and professional/full time writer, struggle with distractions. However, reverting back to my original statement, the difference between causally writing and becoming an author is…
So, check out my post on ways to be accountable and the pros and cons of each kind of accountability. Don’t forget to check my website, on Facebook or twitter for your daily dose of accountability from the Accountability Expert.
I’m curious though, what keeps you writing?