“You don’t need accountability” generated some interesting conversation. I want to say “on Twitter” but this isn’t really a conversation you can have in 140 characters. A couple of people I engage with on Twitter, who also write about writing and how to do it, have either written or shared related pieces. My goal for this blog is that it becomes a library of useful things, so I’m sharing this conversation to this library.
My goal for this conversation about accountability and related issues is to help you think about what supports your writing and how you can develop a writing practice that works for you.
Pat Thomson, who tweets as @ThomsonPat, wrote a post on her blog prompted by this discussion of accountability. In it she shares her own writing practice as an example.
Read her post: accountability and academic writing
Now don’t get me wrong, I use manuscript targets too. […]
But in reality, most of the time I don’t work to a word count. I do have calendar deadlines when things need to be done. I mostly meet these – but I don’t work to word or page targets in order to do so. As long as I’m writing each day and getting somewhere significant towards completion, I’m happy. Somewhere significant might be a small section on one day and several large chunks of material on another.
She goes on to explain how that works in more detail, with reference to education research on the use of targets and rewards (her field is education), and concludes with this:
But this all leads me to think that perhaps we need to have some conversations to counter-balance those about the usefulness of accountability to academic writing. Conversations where we share the strategies we use to compose, draft, revise, edit and craft texts. Conversations where we share views about the kinds of academic texts that are good to read, the academic writers that we admire and the kinds of writing that they do. Many many more conversations that are about more than word length and pages ticked off… Conversations that are about the stuff we write not just the quantity and speed.
I wholeheartedly agree, which is why I started writing about this in the first place. And it’s not just about what you write but also about aspects of how you write beyond “quantity and speed”. There really is more to a writing practice than that, both as goal and process, which is the basis of my whole business model when it comes right down to it.
I intend to keep writing about this periodically.