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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG - Month End Performance Review





This is my May post for Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group, which as always features a group of writers helping other writers.  To read more posts, click here.  

When I worked for corporate America, each year before review time, we were required to write goals for the upcoming year.   Early on in the game, my husband taught me a valuable (albeit cynical) lesson.  “Make sure it’s a real goal.  But before you submit it, make sure it’s one you can achieve.  At next review time, you don’t want to have to explain why you didn’t.”

I must have had some of that in my heart when I announced my April writing quest in my last IWSG post. I planned to write 1000 words a day for at least five days a week on my first draft of my WIP,  for the entire month of April.  If I factored in the two week-days left at the end of the month, I’d write 22K by April 30.  Adhering to my husband’s guidelines, that number was a real goal, and achievable.   I could have raised the bar higher, could have gone for 1000 words seven days a week, or 1500 a day five days a week.  But I know myself.  Too much pressure stresses me out.  So I announced my modest proposal here, and went at it.  

Now I've reached review time.  In spite of a few instances when life took away my opportunity to write, and a couple of days when I managed a mere 200 words, my total word count for the month comes to over 26K (just on this project, I didn't include any other writing) which, in corporate parlance, exceeds expectations.  This brings me about 20K away from the end of my first draft.

What does any of this have to do with IWSG?  Well, one of the most difficult things about being a writer is holding ourselves accountable.  It’s so easy to say, “I like to write.”  We can like it all we want, but we can’t be writers unless we write.  No one however, is going to stand over us and watch, no one is going sit us down for a year-end review filled with financial incentives.  No one is going to stop us if we fritter all our time away Googling obscure facts, or writing Facebook or Twitter updates.  Borrowing a phrase I used to use to my staff of corporate recruiters, it's up to us to drive the bus.  It takes digging deep, setting goals and going after them (and in my case broadcasting them here at Middle Passages).  Bottom line, we are all responsible for discovering what works for us and using that tool to move forward. 

No matter how we do it, success is more likely to come when push ourselves beyond our comfortable limits, in other words, when we force ourselves to exceed our own expectations.

P.S.  A hearty thank you to Alex Cavanaugh and his A-Z challenge which triggered my April writing quest as a result of my desire to challenge myself "differently." I am so pleased with the result!

13 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations on sailing over your goal!
I'm a lazy writer, so I need the prodding of things like NaNo and BuNo to get me moving. But once I set that goal, I'm determined to see it to the end.

I.B. Nosey said...

Writers have to WRITE? Wait, let me check on that...*whispers in aside* Gander, is that true? Huh? Oh. Oh, yeah. Makes sense. Guess that's why they're called WRITERS, heh heh.

Lady, you're good! :)

Jan Morrison said...

Excellent good! I so concur - writers write, waiters wait and whiners whine. Let's write shall we! Just finished a synopsis for my current wip and it went fabulously fast - think it must be because I finally wrote a book with a discernible plot! Now to go write my post for this day ...

Carol Kilgore said...

You're an excellent bus driver! I need to take lessons :)

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Wow! Well done!
Years ago I read an article called "Writer's Write." He said as a writer he met people everywhere who told him how they wanted to write. The difference between the wanters and the writers is "writer's write." It totally became my motto when I needed motivation. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Congrats on setting your goal and then reaching it.

M. J. Joachim said...

That's a lot of writing! Good point. We need to hold ourselves accountable. We need to set realistic goals too.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Wow! Good for you. Sometimes we forget to make ourselves a writing to-do list, and that may be just what we need to get ourselves in gear. Great advise.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I took the A to Z Blog Fest as an excuse to take off blogging last April and wrote about that much in a first draft of a book that would land me a great deal before the end of the year. So I wish you the same luck with this one!!

Come to think of it, I spent this April entrenched in intense editorial revisions for that same book. It's getting to be a habit, then! April = Intensity

Keep on driving that bus, Liza!

mshatch said...

That is a lot of words! Congrats on making a goal, sticking to it, and achieving it :)

Lynda R Young said...

26k That's awesome!!! And you're so right. It's up to us to drive that bus!

Gina Gao said...

It's awesome that you achieved your goal! Great post.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Reena Walkling said...

I agree, when it comes to writing, we have to push ourselves beyond our expectations. Love writing, but man o man, it can be painful most times finding the words.