The Good, the Bad and the Really, Really Ugly

Thursday, February 15, 2018
I'm going to start in the middle and work my way out. (Did you really expect me to do something in a traditional way? Really?)

In January I got a brilliant suggestion from J. Glenn. I was in a rut with a manuscript--I was using the coulda-woulda-shoulda excuses instead of actually getting off my scared and cellulite-ridden rump and doing something like working on it so I could submit it. ("It" is my manuscript. Certainly, I need to work on my rear end, but where would I submit it?)

I needed to be held accountable.

If you'd like to read the post, here it is.

J. Glenn encouraged  prodded shoved me into being part of an accountability group. I threw the idea out... and nine writers took the bait. We planned on beginning in February. I got help from a tech-savvy friend--they insisted a Google site would be easy to set up and would serve our needs.

Well, it wasn't. I sweated (not just figuratively) as I went through the same steps for each writer as I created a page for each of them. You'd think doing something over and over would result in me being able to do it without my hand being held... but you underestimate my level of nincompoopness when it comes to computers. Eventually it was ready to roll out.

Unfortunately, it was not as private as I thought it would be. People who were not part of the group could stumble upon it. Because we didn't want our mutual butt kicking to have an audience, Google sites wouldn't work. I had to find another way to do it.

I think (finally) we've found something that's workable. Dropbox Paper allows comments to be made. Only invitees can see the docs. There were some hiccups. For example, I could only invite a certain number of people each day when sharing documents. It took several days, which meant that for a couple of days, a writer or two did not have access to their own document. Also, when cutting and pasting the goals from the Google site into the Dropbox, I screwed up and put the wrong goal onto a writer's page. She got compliments on it--she even noted what a wonderful goal it was... but she also noted it wasn't hers.


The good part? Already I'm seeing incredible connections forming. Writers commenting, "I know an agent who deals with projects like this... I could introduce you" and "What about such-and-such series? It might help you structure your novel" and "I'd love to be your beta reader when you're ready." That's what's going on with the whole group.

And what about me? How has this group impacted me (in just a week or two)?  Well, my manuscript (from 2016) has been gathering dust for months. My first goal: check the tense consistency of the first 25 pages. (I changed the tense midway through and even though I thought I'd gone back and fixed things, I wasn't sure.) Twenty-five pages isn't much, but right now my WIP is single-spaced, so it's about half of the text.) Of course I found other minor things to fix as I checked on the tense consistency. Good news: I've checked over the first half of my manuscript, and plan on doing the rest as my next week's goal. Just the public declaration, "I'm going to ______" got me moving forward.

How about you? What big, year-long goal do you have about your writing?  Don't you want to be nudged forward?

Sioux Roslawski is a procrastinator, along with a teacher, freelance writer and dog rescuer. She's now part of a butt-kicking accountability group, so basking in procrastinating is no longer possible. If you'd like to read more of her musings, you can check out her blog.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Sioux ~ Thanks for writing this update for everyone who is thinking about starting an accountability group! Since I'm in it, I'll just add that I find it pretty motivating so far. I think I'm piling on a little more than I'm able to finish on my weeklies, but I'll figure out the balance. I enjoy reading everyone's goals and commenting on their progress. We're having great discussions about submitting and publishing. I also like Dropbox Paper! It works well, and yes, it is private. Thanks for creating the group. You're the best! I'm glad you knocked out the tense consistencies last week!

Mary Horner said...

Sounds like a great group, Sioux. We all need a little accountability now and then, good luck!

Val said...

I have no goals, and prefer to hang back rather than be nudged forward. But I commend you for harnessing your nincompoopness and making this group work! I wish you all the best in hitting your goals and making the right connections.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Well, I learned about Dropbox Paper so I'm already smarter today than I was yesterday. :-)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Angela--And yet this week I've not done anything towards accomplishing my weekly goal. I guess I need to get busy this weekend... ;)

Mary--Thanks. I think I might need it during some of the weeks.

Val--You want me to get hit? What did I do to you? ;)

Cathy--It's so easy to use, even I can manage it without getting too snafu-ed.

Margo Dill said...

I appreciate you updating us! I know Ang is really enjoying it. Really trying to finish a novel this year. My progress is slow.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--A novel is a like Mt. Everest. It's hard (sometime dangerous--how much butt-sitting is involved? How much chocolate does it take to keep the writing momentum going?)

What's the novel about? And is it for kids or for adults?

Renee Roberson said...

Well, Sioux, you know all this butt-kicking has done me wonders. I've had a YA I wrote during 2014 NaNoWriMo sitting on my hard drive with the only edits on it being in my head. Because of this group, I have officially revised the first 30 pages and made a few major (hopefully positive character developments) because I don't want to look like a slacker! I feel like I'm finally on the right track and have tacked on a few other "what the heck" goals like shopping reprints to motivate myself even further. It's definitely turned the bad into something good, I believe!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--You, a slacker? I don't think that idea would enter anyone's head.

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