That’s all it takes. I promise. Let me explain.
A few weeks ago I decided to go to two church services. One service is the one my husband prefers, and I want to support him, so I go. But the other service is one that I get so much out of. For some reason it resonates with me, and almost every time I go I find that it relates to my writing journey too.
Today was no exception.
I know, it’s weird that I’m talking about my church life on my blog, because typically writers are told not to discuss religion or politics. But I’m not going to discuss religion–just the message.
Today’s message applies to the business of writing and life no matter what your religious beliefs are, so I’m going to share it with you in hopes that it will help your writing endeavors. I hope to help you improve your writing goals and tactics for success.
Here’s how accountability can work for you:
1. Never outgrow your need for accountability. There have been times when I’ve told my writer’s group, I don’t need weekly goals. I write all week, more than I should–or something lame like that. I think that because I’m writing as often as I can that I don’t need to write down my goals. Wrong. Even the most famous and successful authors will tell you that they have goals and accountability partners. If I don’t have goals then important words don’t get written.
Accountability partners are people who love you, who care enough to ask the difficult questions–what did you get done, what did you do with your time, did you do what you said you were going to do, why or why not?
2. Avoid temptation. By being accountable to someone besides myself I spend less time on FB, Twitter, or chatting on the phone. It’s not like my partners are judging me if I don’t stay on task, but there’s something about making a commitment to someone besides myself that makes me achieve more.
3. Never believe our struggles are unique. One reason we’re not accountable in our lives is because we’re afraid to let others in. Are you? The enemy has convinced you that no one will like you, that you aren’t worthy of friends, or they’ll see you as a failure, someone who doesn’t write as much as she should–all bologna.
Think of why AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and Weight Watchers are so successful. By being in a group where you invite people into your life, into the specifics of your goals, your problems, your fears, you are accountable, you’re opening up to those who can make you accountable. When you’re a loner your success will dwindle because it’s too difficult to be accountable to only yourself. It’s too easy to lie.
4. Pre-plan. By planning NOT to fail you gain discipline and employ the work-ethic it takes to succeed. By setting goals and asking at least four people to “watch your back” and help you stay on the page, you’re apt to be more successful. For that week, day, or month, you think about how you’re going to reach your goals, what you’re going to juggle or put aside to make your word count, so you can save face in front of your friends and family.
5. Social Media. Pastor Denny didn’t talk about this one. I’m adding it. Think about it. How can you use social media to help you gain accountability? How much time will you spend on this as a past time? What if you use it as a tool to motivate others in your support group, or ask others to support you? Think about why it’s become so popular, why you like it. Part of the reason is that it lets others into your lives, lets them encourage you, pray for you, or listen to something you have to say. Let these media be your bridge to others, to help you find the partners you need to succeed.
6. It can be scary. Yes, it can. Who’s going to love you enough to say, whoa, to ask you the hard questions, and invite you to be accountable? If you have the mindset, “I don’t need anyone,” you will probably fail. You DO need others to succeed. Small steps help. By having others to hold you accountable, you invite others into your life. The reason it can be scary is because now we can’t only lie to ourselves, we have to lie to someone else if we cheat on our goals. And who wants to lie to a friend?
Start well–finish well. Finish the race. Start with small steps. Make the decisions today you need to make to take the steps. Be serious about who your partners are. More than four is probably too many. Choose the ones who will ask the hard questions, but love you when you fall short, cheer you on to do better, and pray with you when you fall.
What accountability tricks work for you?