Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Figuring It Out – Accountability

One of the best things about being a published author is that you work for yourself. You make your own
deadlines. Your own working hours. And set your own vacation schedule. There are no yearly evaluations. No one breathing down your neck. No time clocks to punch in and out of.

There’s just you!

Now it’s all up to you. And if you are like me, it’s so easy to fritter the day away on the internet. I mean there are so many options to amuse yourself from Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and some new-to-me sites like BookLikes and Wattpad. So how do you stay on track?

If you are self-pub’d, you set your own deadlines for the next year. If you are traditionally pub’d, the deadlines will be pre-arranged in your contract. Then you have to break it down from there.

I like to take the number of days until I need to have the next draft completed, allowing room for editing, and divide that into my word count to determine my daily word goal. Then I throw it all onto a spreadsheet like this one:

But still, I have to write the words to put on that spreadsheet. I do much better under peer pressure/accountability. ;-)

Sprinting is a great way to achieve the public pressure to keep your fingers tapping on the keyboard. If you search on Twitter for #1k1hr you’ll usually find someone around to join you. If you aren’t familiar with #1k1hr, it means 1,000 words per hour. Or as close to it as you can get, sometimes you can go over. Those are always special moments.

I have a writing partner that sprints with me five days per week. She’s great! Luckily our schedules coincide so it all works out. I will admit that we don’t always go for hour sprints. More times than not it’s usually 90 minutes per sprint. But we also fit some life in there such as laundry and lunch. ;-)

I write so much more when we work together as I know that I have to tell her how well I did with each sprint. Sure I could lie, but what good would that do me. And how bad would I feel. So I keep my butt in the chair and I type, just like I’m doing now. And it’s amazing what we achieve together.

So my advice is to find a source of daily accountability for yourself. The added pressure has really made a difference for me. Sure I can write without it, but I also can procrastinate the day away. And I have sooo many books that I want to write. So I really need to be efficient. I’m still not great at it as I have so many balls up in the air. But every day I strive to do better. Some days I succeed, other days not so much.

But the reward is so sweet, such as the release of my third book, SAFE IN THE TYCOON’S ARMS. It released last week and it is great motivation to keep on writing. And if you are curious, I’m working on the draft of book #6. It’s the first book in a duet, due out sometime in 2015. And I’m just as excited about it as I was about writing my first book. ;-)

Now it’s your turn. If you have any questions on your mind, feel free to ask them. I won’t promise that I’ll have an answer, but I’ll do my best.

Until next month, happy reading and writing!!!

Jennifer Faye’s new release, SAFE IN THE TYCOON'S ARMS, is available now! Find out what happens when Kate meets up with New York’s Bachelor-of-the-Year. Online at Amazon, Amazon-UK & B&N as well as other locations.

Jennifer would love to hear from readers. You can contact her via her website.


  1. I am not a published author yet and have a day job. I've found a consistent time to write, but lately it's been being eaten up by blog posts, book reviews and chores. I keep telling myself I'll write consistently during this time when I get those other things caught up, but I never get them caught up. Sigh.

    My question is, what tricks do you use to protect your writing schedule? Do you have an alternate writing schedule/plan for when life intrudes?

  2. Hi. The non-writing but related stuff NEVER goes away. I was up until 11:30 last night trying to catch up on social media. Finally I told my husband that I was caught up...for that particular moment. Since there is no end to social media unless you withdraw from it, you have to guard your writing time and do as much as you can on social media on your free time.

    I do email/social media in the mornings. Then household chores/exercise. And by 11:00 am I'm in my writing chair ready to go until the middle of the afternoon. After that I do whatever pressing matter needs attention, sometimes social media and sometimes a writing deadline.

    And then in the evenings I try to catch up on social media before I call it a night. Basically it's finding what fits into your schedule and knowing that you'll never be caught up on social media, it just keeps going.

    Hope that helped a little. Good luck with the writing!!! :-)

  3. From MarcieR

    How do you determine your daily word count? I'm assuming you have a formula based on when your book is due?

    Do you tell yourself your book is due sooner than it actually is? Or do you base your daily count on the "official" due date?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Marcie! :-)

      I determine my word count by taking my deadline and subtracting 2-3 weeks for editing, then taking the remainder of the days and dividing them into my total word count. If I know I have something planned on a Saturday or such, I will gray those out on my calendar and not calculate them into my daily word count.

      If you look on my spreadsheet, off to the right, you'll see I have some calculations:

      The first line has the # of words to go as of that particular day so it's adjusted daily.

      The next line calculates how many wds I have left to write divided by the # of days until I have to start editing.

      And the final line is the percentage I have written...the part that always picks me up when words are hard to come by. ;-)

      As for deadlines, I always deal with the actual date. I've worked as a statistician for years. Deadlines were a fact of life. If you missed one, it didn't matter the reason there could be thousands of dollars in fines and other penalties. While in that position I also issued my own deadlines to others when I was collecting data. I know what is to expect information on a certain day because I had to then consolidate their data with mine and turn that information around. So I don't mess with deadlines. This is a business and I treat it as such. And if the day comes when I can't in any way make a deadline, I'll let me editor know asap so she can do what she needs to do on her end. Because we all know that some things are just out of our hands. So being prompt and upfront helps everyone.

      You are quite welcome. Hope the answers were what you were looking for. :-)

    2. From MarcieR

      Perfect answers!

      Thank you.

    3. Yay. Glad I could help. Wishing you the very best. :-)

  4. Replies
    1. Hi Angela. Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)