Sunday, August 12, 2018

Holding Myself Accountable

Shortly after moving to North Carolina, my publisher decided to pull the plug on the Crimson Romance line of books. I had been frantically working on the next book in the series when suddenly I didn't have a publisher, a series or a deadline.

For the first time in six years, I didn't have a book due every six months. There was nothing looming over me. I was in a new place, trying to find my way to the grocery store, the library, etc., and now I was faced with the possibility of never being published again. What to do?

I made a list of things to accomplish that week, both personal and professional. Items like getting a new driver's license went alongside writing 1000 words a day for five days. I really enjoyed marking things off the list. It gave me a sense of purpose and of pride when I could rip off the page with everything crossed off.

As I settled into my new life, I continued making a list each week. The list grew longer as I added things to my routine–the fitness club three times a week, physical therapy twice a week, taking care of my friend's mother every other weekend, writing 5000 words a week, applying for part-time work, etc.

Now it's become my routine to make a new list each Monday morning. So far, I've continued my program goal at the fitness center three times a week, I'm starting my second month of physical therapy, my agent and I have come up with a solid plan for my abandoned series and I've finished the first draft of my current work. Things are looking up, all thanks to finding a way to hold myself accountable during turbulent times.

How about you? What is your method for getting things done?


  1. I have long been a great believer in the "Things to Do" list. When I was younger, it was more a matter of trying to take care of chores and errands while still working full time. In retirement, it becomes more important to keep track of things to do that I could easily forget. I have more time, but a weaker memory and less energy. And if I don't take care of an item on the list, it gets carried over to the next week. Some chores take weeks to get accomplished. That's OK so long as I keep putting them on the list. Never underestimate the motivation of guilt.

  2. I love weekly lists. I have two, three in my notebook at all times to try to keep me on the right track. I think when you're in flux, having a goal, especially if it's your own deadline, helps keep the process in motion. It's when you let life just happen that things get lost. Consistency. It's one of my yearly words.