festival fireworks

Last year as I wrote this column, I became increasingly aware that I was repeating many of my old patterns. When I revealed my age-old list of value resolutions and re-graded myself on it, one cluster of resolutions stood out as the most unresolved. That would be the grouping centered around time management and productivity. Their leader being “I will spend more time taking courses of action, and less time talking about them.”

That one really spoke to the heart of how I had been “doing” things for the past long while. Lots of talk, little action. More bluster than muster. Too much plan-do, not enough can-do. Lots of yakkin’, not much mackin’. I could go on, but…

Oh alright, a few more. Too much jawing, not enough clawing; a whole lotta “gonna”, but not a lotta “done-a”; lots of “trying” but not much applying; and let’s see…I want to end strong…too much wishin’, not enough fission! No wait—too much hoping, not enough coping. Oh, and too much dreaming, not enough…um…scheming? Seaming? (I probably should have stopped at “fission”.)

Where was I? Oh yeah: doing too much blabberating, and not enough elaborating. We were talking about my accountability festival.

Because 2011 is the year for getting things done, right? We’re all pumped, right? I sure hope we are, because I have us on record committing to a lot stuff already.

In my last column of course, I shared my 2011 mind map, and its 24 points of light (i.e., major projects). Oh and by the way, if you chose “Less than two weeks” in the “How Soon Will Lance Add To That Mind Map?” office pool, you can collect now. The new tally is 26 points of light.

I’ve never even laid out my goals for the year in such organized fashion to myself—never mind publishing it on the Internet, where hundreds of thousands of social media mavens could pick up on it and focus the blazing spotlight of Internet attention my way.

(Seriously, mavens. Go ahead. Nobody’s stopping you.)

Having committed to that much of a leap in public accountability, it wasn’t super-hard to decide to join in on January’s Script Race, when I heard about it just hours before it started. That’s where screenwriters (or wanna-be screenwriters like me) “race” to finish a screenplay during the month—primarily for bragging rights, and for an excuse to actually get something done. The Script Race people post each writer’s progress up on a scoreboard, and tweet the results to all the “race fans” on Twitter. It’s all about accountability and constructive peer pressure.

While I didn’t enter the race to win (and officially “lost” on day 3, when 2 different entrants finished their scripts), I have no intention of being the guy who enters the marathon and doesn’t even finish. I plan to be the scrawny little dude with heart who limps his way across the finish line in the rain, with just one shoe on, proving to Suzie from school that he’s more man than all the football players put together, and she doesn’t know what she’s missing! Or something like that. Her name might not have been Suzie…

But a mere two commitments does not an accountability festival make. I’m not an official festival expert, but my gut tells me a festival is at least three or four. So, not one day after my dark horse entrance into the Script Race, I called myself on another of my nagging avoidances, and seized upon WordPress’s “post daily”  challenge to bloggers. It might sound crazy, but I have at least that much blogging that I need to do this year anyway, so WordPress’s public campaign was exactly the right commitment at the right time for me.

My fourth public commitment coincides completely with the posting daily one, so it’s a bit of a cheat, but really…is three things a festival? Don’t you need at least four?

Just to make extra-sure I don’t run afoul of any Accountability Festival regulations, I have also thrown my lot in with the S.H.I.N.E. 111-Day blogging challenge. Same basic deal—I committed to blogging once a day for 111 days starting on 1-11-11. It’s just another group of folks I’ll be publicly answering to about my goals and whether I’m reaching them.

Which makes, at this point, a lot of groups of folks. Put ‘em all together and they would indeed be enough folks to populate a decent-sized Accountability Festival. Or at least a nice little Commitment Carnival.

I’m still not done putting myself out there and publicly proclaiming my goals and commitments. I’m going to continue to update my public 2011 mind map as the year goes on, I’ve already penciled myself into the next few Script Races, and I’ve already begun to work my nearly 1000 “followers” on Twitter into my web of entangling alliances. (And I think at least a couple dozen of those people actually read what I post there.) There is virtually no escape for me now.

Of course, I’m going to make sure to remember the main purpose of any good festival—to have fun. And get free handouts from table vendors. And buy t-shirts. All while keeping your eye on the prize and reporting in regularly on your progress to your accountability groups.

One thing’s for certain: with all these check-ins and balances that I’ve got set up, and with so many people brought into the loop on my ambitions for 2011 and beyond…if I somehow fail to achieve most or even some of my lofty goals, there will be one person, and one person only, to blame: you!

Lance Brown can be found at http://lancebrown.org. Archives of his column can be found here.