This month on my blog, I’m talking all about productivity and focus for writers. I find my own productivity increases tenfold when I have something to hold me accountable. Many courses I’ve participated in have recommended finding an accountability partner as a way of making sure you stick to your deadlines. It’s also a great way to make new friends.
When I wrote Keep More Money, I had weekly meetings with my accountability partner and we tracked the progress both of us had made on a spreadsheet as well as set weekly goals for ourselves. But an accountability partner doesn’t have to be someone who is working on the same type of project you are. My friend, Josie, and I get together online to talk about how things are going in our businesses even though we are in different industries.
There are three types of accountability that seem to be pretty common in the writing world:
Critique partners, and
Let’s take a quick look at each one and how it can help you be more productive while keeping you accountable for reaching your goals.
Writing groups are a great way to get motivated to actually write. You are far more likely to write if you tell someone you’ll meet them at the local coffee shop and spend a couple hours there working on your current project. The type of writing group that works best will vary depending on the type of writer you are. Maybe you prefer a group with only one or two other people, and that’s totally fine.
A critique partner is someone who you can trade work with. They agree to provide feedback to you in exchange for you providing feedback to them. This works well if you find someone that writes at the same speed as you do so you’re both ready to trade work at the same time, but it isn’t an absolute necessity. Many critique partnerships work well even if the writers aren’t evenly matched in writing speed.
What a writing coach helps with varies depending on the coach. Most will help with project organization, setting up a writing schedule, and accountability check-ins. Many will also read your work and provide feedback. Their job is to help you focus on your writing in whatever way works best for you. They provide an objective perspective and act as a mentor and cheerleader.
Don’t know any other writers?
If you’re just getting started in your writing career, there’s a chance you haven’t met many writers or maybe you don’t know any other writers that live in your area. Why not ask a friend if they’d like to be your accountability buddy? Even if they aren’t a writer, there’s a good chance they have something they’re working on that they’d like to be held accountable for completing.
The point is, you should experiment to find out what works best for you. My own personal strategy is to set a deadline whenever possible. Self-publishing is nice in that I can publish whenever I want to, but if I don’t have a deadline I’m working towards, I will allow myself to take as long as possible! Setting a deadline is a must, and I have to let many people know what that deadline is; otherwise, it will pass by and nobody but me will be the wiser!
Do you have a favourite accountability method I haven’t mentioned? Please share it in the comments.