Be Accountable … to Yourself

Posted on Jan 9, 2014 by   5 Comments | Posted in Blog · Uncategorized · Workshops


Sally J Walker

Sally J Walker

Jack London reputedly locked himself in a room for three days and came out with the completed manuscript of CALL OF THE WILD.  His family was destitute with no food in the house.  He was motivated by desperation.  I know of a struggling screenwriter who devotes a Friday evening through Monday morning to the first draft of a new screenplay then spends the next three months polishing it. Author Nora Roberts pounds out a novel just about every month and Diana Gabaldon takes years to release one of her lengthy, detail-rich tomes.

 Most of us can identify with any of these examples in one way or another.  Why?  Because creativity boils down to motivation, the need to translate what’s in the mind to a tangible form.

Here are some critical questions to ask yourself:

  • What motivates me?
  • How strongly am I motivated to make writing a priority?
  • Am I willing to discipline myself day in and day out to attain a goal?
  • When critical life issues intervene, am I capable of mentally adjusting and getting back on track?
  • What part of my writing process and daily routine beats me down with its drudgery . . . when I would rather be writing?

Who wouldn’t love to be financially successful enough to pay a personal assistant to the handle the tedious tasks like research, social networking, marketing details, bookwork and < groan> line editing.  Most of us must look to those matters on our own.  And it can all become daunting . . . unless you can joyfully play the Accountability Game.  Yes, I called it a game.

Remember the thrill when you FIRST realized you could write?  Most of us knew we had a lot to learn but the “fire in the belly” excited us every time we poured words onto a page. However, reality eventually intervened.  Rare is the writer who has never grown tired of the demands of the art form.  We found out we can never let our guard down when it comes to those elementary school Rules of Grammar.  As we became more competent and stretched ourselves we discovered the Rules of Storytelling necessary for a story to be understood.  And when we were introduced to marketing our work, we encountered Genre Rules (as in the expectations of readers who are devout aficionados of a specific genre).  Day in-day out attention to all this has been known to chip away at a writer’s initial enthusiasm, but it doesn’t have to.  If you want to play the game badly enough.

 Remember that adage “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.”  When we turn our motivation toward the light of knowledge every single day, we can be like a morning glory flower opening to the revitalizing sun.  We can race through the drudgery–the I-have-to-do-this stuff–to play with words once again.

 You will never know everything about your craft (or about life itself, for that matter) and therein is the perpetual challenge of the Accountability Game.  You must honor the life force within you screaming to create.  You must perpetually learn, discipline your foibles and excuses, and identify what motivates you in order to play your word game.

 You can do it if you want to do it badly enough.  Perhaps you aren’t destitute like Jack London or as driven to be as prolific as Nora Roberts, but does that matter?  What really matters is that only you can tell your stories.  No one else can.  Acceptance of your own Accountability Game status readies you to move into the next phase:  Taking control of your writing as if it is a pragmatic business and actually enjoying that challenge, too.

 Coming up in February for FF&P, I am offering my course, “The Business of  Writing” that addresses the steps of this process.  Here is where the tenuous amateur turns into the determined professional.  Here is where the Accountability Game takes a serious turn that demands another round of learning, self-discipline and self-examination.  Are you ready to play?


with Sally J Walker


Hosted by
Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers
This Four Week class starts February
For more information  & to sign up
click HERE


5 Responses to "Be Accountable … to Yourself"

  1. Comment by Cathryn Cade
    January 9, 2014 12:14 pm


    You’ve made a believer out of me!

    I’m now writing full time, my latest 2 sfr books are selling well and yet I find myself struggling with the discipline required to produce on a schedule. I do think the craziness of the Christmas holidays has a lot to do with this, but life always throws us curves.

    I’m a creative soul, not a machine … but want to run a well-oiled business machine. And there-in lies the difficulty. Sometimes it feels like mixing oil and water and expecting them to remain homogeneous.

  2. Comment by Lisa Kessler
    January 9, 2014 2:51 pm

    Great blog post!

    Sounds like a super upcoming class too…

    Thanks for being here!

    Lisa Kessler

  3. Comment by Rebekah R. Ganiere
    January 10, 2014 2:55 am

    Great Advice! I know sometimes as writers we can get bogged down in the day to day things for forget our focus. But this really great advice especially as I am entering a year where I have made it a goal to release a bunch of books! I need to remember my motivation and not get sidetracked. Thanx!

  4. Comment by Jessica Aspen
    January 12, 2014 12:02 pm

    Terrific post, and very timely for me. A rough fall, sub-contractors who were late, and my own “day” job issues have all thrown major speedbumps in my production schedule, but in the end I’m the one I have to look at in the mirror and explain things to. I’m the one who has to pick up everything and get back on track. The good news is when it works, I also get to pat myself on the back and say, “Good job!” Looking forward to hiring that assistant someday!

  5. Comment by Rhonda Hall
    January 17, 2014 11:18 am

    Of course, excellent post Sally. If it works out, I think I will take the class.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: