Are You Looking for an Accountability Partner?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Recently in the Premium-Green discussion group, a member asked how she could find an online accountability partner for her writing. She'd been doing well with querying and submitting, but felt she needed that extra kick in the butt. We've all felt that way, haven't we? Here are a few simple steps to help you find an accountability partner and hold each other accountable.

Join a Writer's Community

First, you will need to join a writing group geared toward the type of writing you want to focus on. If it's fiction, then find a fiction list-serve in Yahoo or Google Groups, or join an online forum, such as Absolute Write. If it's freelance writing, communities like Premium-Green and Freelance Success, for example, have very supportive members. There are a ton of writing groups to choose from (too many to list!), so take time to try them out and find one that fits your needs.

After you've become familiar with the group and found another member with similar goals, ask them if they'd like to be your accountability partner. Most writers in groups are looking for the support of other writers to help them realize their goals. The person you ask doesn't have to have the exact same goals as you do, she just needs to be as dedicated and motivated as you are. She has to be serious about her career as a writer. And if you can, choose someone more experienced than yourself.

Set Up a Google Calendar

After you hook up with an accountability partner, set up a shared calendar on Google. Fill in your deadlines--whether it's word count, page count, or due dates for querying, submitting, promoting, and article writing. You can set your calendar to private, so only you and your partner can see each other's deadlines. You can also set up your calendar to send you email reminders before the deadline passes. I usually set it up for a day in advance to remind me that I better get my butt in gear and finish the project!

Follow Up: Make sure you both follow up with each other (by phone call or email) whenever a project is due. You can also add comments to their calendar dates on the detail page to continue the discussion. That way, you have a record of it on the calendar. And, when you know someone else is looking at your calendar, you're less likely to ignore it! And if you do ignore it, you know your partner will send you an email or call you to kick your butt.

Annette and I have several calendars going at once. I can see hers, and vice versa. Also, Team WOW! uses a Google Calendar for our blogging schedule. Sometimes we miss our blog days, but you can be assured that we hear about it! For instance, I missed my blog day last Sunday because I was having computer problems. While that is a legitimate excuse, I still feel bad about it because all my teammates know it was supposed to be my day. That proves it's working!

What About Twitter?

I'm not a tweetie-pie, but it seems like Twitter would be the perfect forum for an accountability partner...if you don't get sidetracked. LOL. Perhaps, someone should make a group for NaNoWriMo on Twitter, or for freelance deadlines. If there already is one, let me know! Maybe, I'll get hooked!

The most important thing about an accountability partner is...

Wanting it. There are many platforms and creative ways you can hold each other accountable, but you have to want it. If you simply wait for someone to tell you what to do in life, you'll never get anywhere. You need to hold yourself accountable to some degree first. Then, you can show up as a successful partner to someone else.


Annette said...

I'm a Google calendar junkie. I've got 14 that cover every aspect of my daily and weekly schedule.

My writing, my book blog, my critique group, WOW business, WOW editorial, WOW blog, WOW Premium Green, My WOW To Do, personal/family (for birthdays, hair appts., etc.), bill/payment deadlines, exercise class schedule, FlyLady housecleaning schedule, major deadlines, and my son's work and college schedule.

They are all on one page and show the tasks/appointments in different colors that correspond to the particular calendar.

If I didn't have the Google calendar system, I'd be completely lost as to what is happening on any given day.

Although, I must admit, the housecleaning, exercise, my writing, and my book blog calendars get ignored often.

Anyone want to be my accountability partner for those tasks?

Joanne said...

I like the last paragraph. You have to hold yourself accountable first, esp as a writer where it's so easy to be distracted from the craft. Once you're committed, the creativity and platform fall into place.

Lolita Flowers said...

Writing is deemed a solo dance and yet there are so many players, untold cooks by the time the reader gets to the final page....i like the concept and yes personal organisation is key....but alas like the self-employed will attest the the onus is on the writer, first and always...

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