A Contract With Ourselves

I was supposed to post earlier this week, but was in a pain killer state of existence and did not want anything to show up on the internet that I wouldn’t remember putting there 🙂

I have three children – they are 7, 9 and 11.  The 11-year-old is going into middle school next year (freak out!!!) and as such, we are re-negotiating boundaries and expectations.  One of the benefits I have of teaching high school is I am very aware of what makes kids rebel against anyone and I have been trying to incorporate this into my parenting – if rules are too strict, if there isn’t room for discussion and negotiation, the tween/teen will shut down, tune out and in some cases rebel. 

When he didn’t follow through with his commitment to let us know where he was yesterday, my initial reaction was to ground him for the weekend.  But then I remembered it was the first weekend of the summer and I really don’t want that to be the mood for our summer break, so I told him that if he were to create a contract that outlined his responsibilities when he is hanging out with his friends and consequences if he doesn’t follow through with these responsibilities, after discussion I would give him a chance to prove he deserves our trust.

I got thinking about myself as a *child* writer – child because I have really only been seriously at this for less than a year, and I’m learning the lessons, scheduling, time management, etc.  Sometimes I have a tendency to be too hard on myself when I screw up, don’t write, whatever, but equally, I need to hold myself as accountable for my actions as I expect my son to – I need to create a contract with myself along with the consequences if I don’t follow through on my responsibilities to myself as a writer and my book.  As with parenting, I imagine there is going to be some trial and error, realizing if the expectation is realistic and really cracking down on the consequences for myself. 

But on the flip side, I should be a more responsible and productive writer, which at this point is the ultimate goal.

What are you doing to keep yourself accountable to yourself? 

6 thoughts on “A Contract With Ourselves

  1. Sometimes I am very accountable and other times, well, not so much. Things that have worked well for me are setting weekly goals (I do better with a weekly goal otherwise I give up when I miss a day) or setting a word count I need to reach before I can check my email/twitter/etc. I also respond really well to bribing myself. Usually it's something like seeing a movie I'm excited about opening weekend, but only if I finish the draft/revision by a certain date.

    My problem is being consistently responsible and not letting myself slack off after reaching my goal.

    Good luck!

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  2. Parenting and writing advice all in one! I love it! And I think you're treating yourself like a professional if you have a contract with yourself. (Although I am a “child” writer too.)

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  3. Oh, how fluid parenting is! Good for you, though…that's a great idea what you did. AND I love how you tied it to writing!

    Accountability. It's one thing to have others hold you accountable for thing, but writing is such a personal and private endeavor, that it's difficult to find the same sort of accountability.

    I'm obsessive and hold an anvil over my OWN head most of the time, so I usually will push aside most anything to get stuff done. That being said, if I've taken a break from writing, or I'm at the finishing stages of a novel, I have a difficult time getting back to it. Mostly due to fear. Somehow, if I'm not writing SOMETHING at least every other day, a little voice tells me I've lost my ability or whatever I sit down to write won't be good enough.

    Then I have another conversation with myself on the power of editing 😀

    Good for you, though…no matter what…just keep writing!

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  4. Hello Tasha – very interesting post. Sometimes I think I do have high expectations of myself, which ends up setting myself up for a fall. I need to find that balance I guess. I used to have a 'to do' list and I think I should go back to doing just that – one that gives me a challenge but is also achievable. I look forward to following your blog. 🙂

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  5. Hi Tasha,
    Thank you for joining my blog. I joined yours as well. As a writer, editor, and blogger, I face extremely busy moments where I want to quit everything and do nothing. However, I tell myself that I chose this career and I must go on. I also owe it to my readers 😀 since they're my audience. Hope to see you around. Cheers!

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