Writers–myself included–are a lonely sort.
We loooooove to work alone. Solitude is our friend. Even now as I write this article, I’m sitting at my kitchen table (alone) at 6:40 am on a Saturday morning. My family is still asleep. It’s blissful.
While solitude is often necessary for getting words down on a page, completely severing your working-self from others can actually be detrimental to your career.
Although being accountable to another writer has added benefits, your partner, a friend, or sibling can all act as wing-people to keep you and your writing on track.
Whomever you choose, there are just two traits he or she must have:
- High expectations of you
- Something invested in your success
If they don’t have high expectations, you won’t feel compelled to be more productive under their watch.
If they have something invested in your success (a spouse might profit from your earnings, a fellow writer might be able to piggyback off your success, etc.) they’re more likely to keep you motivated.
Here are 5 ways accountability can help you be a better writer:
Procrastination is one of the biggest evils writers (or would-be writers) face. It becomes so easy to pick up on something else that needs to be done rather than focus on the one thing we want to do and know we should be doing:
If you must report to someone at the end of the day, or even at the end of the week, with how much you’ve accomplished, you’re going to:
- Feel obligated to keep on task
- Be reminded that time spent procrastinating it time wasted
- Feel embarrassed if you let them down
Less procrastination means more time. More time means better productivity. Writing faster can help you:
- Get more writing gigs
- Make more money
- Have more opportunities to market yourself through guest posts or by becoming a regular contributor on another site
- Develop your skills
- Work on multiple projects at once (blog, freelance and write a novel, all at once, etc.)
Get Critical Feedback
You want someone who is honest enough to tell you the truth about your writing. Someone who won’t just give you the same old, “You’re wonderful!” line. For an accountability partner, choose someone who’s willing to look over your work regularly so you can:
- Learn about your areas of strength
- Identify areas for improvement
- Pick up on errors you wouldn’t have otherwise noticed
- Get a reader’s perspective (as opposed to a writer’s perspective)
Share Writing Opportunities
Remember, you’ve got to give if you want to receive. If your accountability partner is a fellow writer, you’ll not only get more reliable feedback about your work, but you’ll also:
- Keep one another abreast of potential writing gigs
- Be able to introduce one another to fellow contacts in the writing world (other writers, agents, editors, etc.)
- Have the chance to collaborate on projects, either in print or online
Establish Emotional Support
When you feel all is lost, you’re going to need someone to talk to. Someone who understands what you’re going through, and someone who knows what you have invested in your writing. It’s necessary to connect with someone with whom you share mutual emotional support because:
- Making your way in any field of writing is difficult
- You’re going to face rejection. A lot of it.
- There will be times you want to give up
- There will be times you feel you have little-to-no talent whatsoever
Who Will You Choose?
I sincerely hope you already have someone you can lean on for writing support. In case you’re stuck, don’t forget you can always join a local writing group or connect with other writers online.
No person can be an island. Find someone to help you be accountable, and watch your writing grow.