Accounts Receivable

I am a writer privileged enough to have time to write. Many writers must work a full time job (or two) in addition to raising a family. But since I stay at home with my kids, several times a day, in about 5-10 minute intervals, I am writing.

I have never needed motivation to sit down and actually write. I often write when I should be sleeping. I write when I should be cooking dinner. I write instead of doing laundry or breaking up fights between my children. I write when I should be paying attention to my spouse.

But these are areas I DO need to work on: 1. I’m not good enough at it. And I find it difficult to fit in classes or workshops to make myself a better writer. 2. I write a ton, but finish only about 5% of the pieces I start writing. 3. Once I finish and revise a piece, I rarely take the time necessary to actually research publications and send them off.

And here’s where accountability comes in. If I tell people I’m a writer, and call myself a writer, I’m going to feel pressured to follow through on my writing. Recently, a friend emailed me and asked me how the writing was going. It immediately made me think, “Gotta finish that piece.” Another day, someone else asked, “So what are you working on?” I found myself embarrassed that I hadn’t worked on anything for a while, so later that day I started another piece. If someone asks, “Where have you been published?” and I can’t remember where because it’s been a year since I’ve been published, I then get on the internet and start researching markets again. Being accountable has pushed me to finish what I start. And because of this, I tell anyone who will listen that I’m a writer.

How do you make yourself accountable to your craft?

Next week, I’ll write a post on my writing process. And I’d love it if those of you artists out there could share what your process is. Because my writing process needs an overhaul, I think.


6 thoughts on “Accounts Receivable

  1. Hi Anjali,

    Nice to see your new blog.

    My deadlines make me accountable. LOL. I can’t get away from them if I want to get paid. One thing is interesting, is that because I work from home, I find that other people don’t always respect that time as work time. I usually work at set times each day and fit in whatever extra I can as I can. But I don’t think people understand when I say I can’t do something because I am working.

    But for writing that isn’t on assignment, I try to dedicate a set time every week to doing it. Of course, that gets even less respect (even from me), so it is tougher to stay on track. Plus after writing 20 hours a week for assignment, I sometimes don’t want to look at the computer on the weekend. So I need motivation there.

  2. Hi Anjali…I am in the same boat as you as far as wanting to write for a living but finding it difficult to get my start. However, you are ahead of my game in that you worked with Dot Moms and you had Life in the Hundred Acre Wood, plus the other sites you contribute to. I’ve enjoyed your writing for a couple of years now, and I know you’ll make it! As for my writing process….it is a scrambled mess! Like you, I grab what time I can when I can (difficult with two small kids). I have a friend who is working on her third book…she works full-time and has two daughters. She treats her writing as a second job…and she writes every weeknight, without fail, from 8pm to midnight (after the kids go to bed). I admire her discipline…and try to think of her when I want to slack off at night and watch reruns on the couch. Good Luck!

  3. Anything I write, I’m fortunate enough not to *have* to finish immediately, as it’s not my full-time craft. So I have the immense luxury of waiting until that elusive muse strikes me again.

    But, as for the professional front, having clinicians grill you constantly really makes you get your shit together. Also, knowing that patients are likely to put stock in what you say, you want to know as much as you can. I guess my point is, knowing that *other* people will be holding you accountable, rather than you alone, is sometimes a good extra push 🙂

    For the record, I think your writing is plenty wonderful as is (though I can understand ambition in wanting to improve), so don’t be too hard on yourself 🙂

  4. Oh and I wanted to add Anjali, that you are indeed talented. I admire your voice and insight in your essays. I envy the easy flow that you have especially when talking about important topics.

  5. Um, you are good at it!

    As for finding time for my craft? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

    i’m sorry, did you say something about having time?

    I like to sew. I like to cook. I like to read. I get to do one every day and the other two about once or twice a year. Can you guess which is which?

  6. Look at you, being all self-improve-y! No, that’s not a word, thanks for noticing.

    Like your other commenters, I also think you’re lovely and talented, and I think calling yourself a writer is a very cool way of making your self accountable. You might even print up cards (vista print = cheap and fun)!

    Meeting with a writing partner or writing group is another good thing… mine is all writing mamas, and we email ms ahead of time so we can read when it’s convenient and then spend our time together critiquing. So wonderful, really.

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