Hi!  This is Writing Boss, a podcast about becoming the right kind of manager for a creative person.   I’m Wendy Kays, and in this episode, I’m tackling the very last part of setting a seven step goal successfully:  accountability.

Decades of research has shown creative people do better work, and are more motivated, when the reason for what they’re doing comes from inside themselves.  Intrinsic motivation, like the satisfaction of solving a difficult puzzle, helping another person, or building a sense of identity are definitely preferable to extrinsic motivators like hoping for the praise of others or making money.

I’ve covered motivation.

In the Progress Principle, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer also report that people’s commitment to their work is “higher when people perceived their work environments more positively – specifically, when they perceived more freedom and positive challenge in the work; encouragement from their team leaders; support from their teammates as well as managers and coworkers outside the team; and fewer impediments in the form of political infighting, harsh evaluation norms in the organization, or biases toward the status quo.”

I’ve covered commitment too.

So why a whole episode on accountability?  Isn’t that the same thing as being motivated and committed? Continue reading Accountability

A Detailed Plan

This is Writing Boss, a podcast about becoming the right kind of manager for a creative person.  Myself.  I’m Wendy Kays, and in this episode, I’m tackling the next to last step in goal setting, developing a detailed plan of action in order to reach my goal of becoming a professional author.

And because they’re so closely tied, I’ll be rolling in the first half of the final step, reasonable deadlines.

This is the step where fear would stop me in my tracks if I didn’t have an audience waiting for a podcast.  Thank you to the handful of people listening.  This is the step I messed up so horribly by making a detailed five year to-do list.  The evil, impossible list that plunged me into anxiety, depression and failure.  Without you out there needing solutions, too, I wouldn’t have been able to face even the research for this podcast.  I would be putting it off indefinitely.

The last thing I want to do is waste yet another year making another plan that results in nothing but disaster. Continue reading A Detailed Plan

Help! I Need Help!

This is Writing Boss, a podcast about becoming the right kind of manager for a creative person.  Myself.  I’m Wendy Kays, and in this episode, I’m tackling the fifth step in goal setting, which is figuring out how I’m going to find the help and advice I need to reach my goal of becoming a professional author.

Media portrayals of writers make it seem like the only person who helps a writer is the writer.

This is fantasy.

Even if you skip the acknowledgments section at the end of every book you read, you know authors take time to thank an army of people who helped bring that book to publication.  The friends, the family, the research sources, the editors and everyone along the way who encouraged and supported the author, gave feedback on drafts, and worked to make that book happen.  Those thanks might bore us, the reader, but those people were vital to bringing us the story we just enjoyed.

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a community of patrons to raise a writer.

What if I am alone, though?  What if my partner doesn’t want to hear about or read anything I’m working on unless it’s published?  What if none of my family or friends know anything about writing or publishing?  Or don’t care?  Worse, what if I’m surrounded by people who are actively discouraging, and think anything would be a better use of my time and effort than thinking up stories and writing books?

Where am I going to find people who love writing and publishing, can help and advise me, and actually want to give me a hand? Continue reading Help! I Need Help!

Skills and Knowledge

This is Writing Boss, a podcast about becoming the right kind of manager for a creative person.  Myself.  I’m Wendy Kays, and in this episode, I’m tackling the fourth step in goal setting, which is making a list of knowledge and skills I need to reach my goal of becoming a professional author.

My favorite joke is the one about the brain surgeon and writer playing golf.  The brain surgeon tells the writer, “Guess what?  I’m going to take a year’s sabbatical and write a book!”  The writer, excited, says, “Really?  What a coincidence…I’m going to take a year’s sabbatical and do some brain surgery!”

This joke gets more and more hilarious to me with each year I struggle to write and publish a first book.  Let alone a series of them.  When I first decided to become an author, I didn’t need to learn anything.  Everything I wrote was golden – precious beyond words.

Now I’ve learned better. Continue reading Skills and Knowledge


This is Writing Boss, a podcast about becoming the right kind of manager for a creative person.  Myself.  I’m Wendy Kays, and in this episode, it’s time to face the obstacles between me, an aspiring writer, and my goal of becoming a professional author.

Making this depressing list is the third step of seven in setting goals the right way.  The way that makes it possible to actually reach the goal.  I want to reach my goal, but I don’t want to make this list.  It’s discouraging to think about all the problems I’ll definitely face all at once, in one sitting.  This seems like a terrible idea.  After all, the list could be so discouraging I might just end up feeling like I have to give up because the list is just too intimidating.

Why do I have to do this?

I have to do this because no matter how adult and mature I may want to think I am, I am still driven by the same needs I had as a small child. Continue reading Obstacles

The Audacity of Wanting

Welcome to Writing Boss.  I’m Wendy Kays.  This is where I’m attempting to become a better leader for myself so I can get my writing work done and actually enjoy doing my dream job.

Last week, I talked all about the steps of setting a goal that I didn’t do, and the emotional and business consequences of doing that terrible job of it.  I hope you took a shot at outlining your goals after finding out there was more to it than what you want and when you want it.

I did.  At least, I tackled step one of setting goals, which is to be clear and specific about what I want.  On paper, this is no problem.  Emotionally, defining specifically what I want is a minefield.  What became more clear than my goal was that the audacity of setting a goal is a whole podcast in itself.  One fraught with self management issues which all fall under the umbrella of fear of failure.

When I was listening to Zig Ziglar this last fall, I not only learned there were seven steps to setting goals when I thought there were only two, I also learned about training fleas for a flea circus.  Continue reading The Audacity of Wanting

Goal Setting

Welcome to Writing Boss, the podcast in which I learn how to be the right kind of manager for myself.  I’m Wendy Kays, a creative person who needs a manager who understands and fosters creativity instead of crushing it, accidentally or otherwise.

This episode is about goal setting.

Up until recently, I was a master at setting goals.  I decided what I wanted, when I wanted it, and then I wrote out an extremely detailed calendar with my ambitious schedule of future accomplishments.  That way, I was clear on whether I was succeeding or failing every day of every month of every year.  I made a schedule for writing, editing and producing books as fast as possible, and then layered each stage of the marketing over the top and then worked in finding beta readers and reviewers and other writers to network with.  The amount of work I planned for myself was so intense I figured out how I could double up to turn family vacations into research trips.

My five year calendar of goals looks amazing, and the idea of having the business I want done perfectly in order at every step in less than three years is very, very exciting.  In five years, I’ll be as far advanced in my writing career as the people who’ve worked decades to get where they are.

Yeah, I’m a master at setting goals.  Until I actually have to deliver at that breakneck pace.

Now that I look back after learning something about how creativity actually works, my goal setting skills are way less amazing. Continue reading Goal Setting

Board Room Boss Performance Review

Here it is, your chance to be a fly on the wall of the Writing Boss conference room and hear the performance review of my inner boss at the outset of the podcast.

This is the first Patreon bonus episode, brought to you in the main feed as an apology for posting the Setting Boundaries episode a week late due to illness.

Thank you for sticking with me!

Setting Boundaries

Hi, I’m Wendy Kays, and this is Writing Boss, the podcast about being your own better boss.

Because this episode is a week late, I need to start with an apology.  I’m no stranger to podcast hosts running due to illness, but this week, I was that host.  It seems my area is one of the last to get the nasty flu that went around this year.  I’ve had colds and flus before, but never one that drained my energy so totally it affected my ability to think.

So forgive me if my voice is on the weird end of the spectrum as I try to record this all in one take – so I can fulfill my promise to cover personal boundaries as a social skill we need as writers to manage ourselves and our business more professionally.  Because boundary skills are critical to the emotional balance you need as a writer to do your best work.  It’s a huge topic, so today I’ll be covering the basics of why we need them, what they are, and how to manage them. Continue reading Setting Boundaries

Building Trust

Hi, I’m Wendy Kays and this is Writing Boss, the podcast about being my own better boss as a creative person in my own business.

I’m determined to bridge the gap between the way I’m mismanaging myself and my writing business now and the way I should be doing it.  But after the last episode on motivation, it’s clear I need to step away from research on managing creativity in the workplace skills and address the personal skills I need to actually make those work skills useful.

It’s common to assume individuals either have people skills or they don’t.  However, looking through the list of strategies a skilled manager uses to motivate employees, a whole list of people skills popped out at me from between the lines.  Some I have, some I don’t.  At least, not with myself.

What people skills?  Well, the big ones are building trust, setting personal boundaries, creating clarity, and keeping ego in check.  What’s the point of learning the management skills if I can’t trust myself to keep commitments to me, know how to organize my business and creative work so they don’t interfere with each other, and be honest and compassionate with myself?  The people skills are key to my success.

So this episode is about the first issue:  Trust.  Building trust with myself and with others isn’t just an outer game of reputation I play at work.  It’s something I have to start taking seriously and putting work into if I feel anxious about it.

So how do you build trust with yourself?  Can’t you just decide, hey, I trust myself.  No biggie.  Check that off the list? Continue reading Building Trust