Howdy, howdy! I was really having a hard time deciding what to write about when a friend sent me a text thanking me for being the voice in her head asking if she was at least thinking about writing. It gave her the nudge she needed to stop at a place after work and take a little while to have a cup of tea and write some words. She hadn’t written in a while, but she wanted to, so I told her I’d pester her every day or so until she started writing. The second day of pestering and she’s already making time for it. That’s what happens when you’re held accountable for things like this, you make time for them.
I don’t know about you, but I always work better with deadlines in place. At school, I could knock a ten page paper out in one night if I had to, as long as the research was done ahead of time. Deadlines meant grades. In the real world, missing deadlines affects the pay from the day job. In other words, deadlines carry the threat of consequences. But what’s going to happen if you don’t finish a novel? Unless you have a contract with a due date, nothing will happen. So, how do writers overcome this lack of a threat and finish things? We hold each other accountable.
In the beginning, I didn’t really understand how holding each other accountable would work. After all, if I don’t push myself to finish something, why would someone judging me for it be motivational? Turns out that guilt is a powerful tool. If I set reasonable goals with people and don’t reach them, I feel guilty. I don’t care if the end of the world pops up, if people know I planned on doing things and failed, it sucks. It also helps that I’m mildly competitive, so failure and losing are not an option. I won’t be the only one to not meet my goals.
According to people I’ve done this whole accountability thing with, it also works by legitimizing their craft, especially when they have jobs. They have trouble taking time out of their schedules to write because they feel like it shouldn’t be a priority even when they secretly (or not so secretly) want it to be. Having someone who will pester them and encourage them gives them an “excuse” to make time for writing.
So, even when deadlines aren’t an option, we can still motivate each other by holding each other accountable. We might not receive any real negative consequences if we don’t meet our goals, but we’ll have to live with the shame of disappointing our friends. Who has time for that?
Do you have any friends who pester you about your creative outlet? Does accountability work for you? How? If not, what do you do to stay productive and motivated? Leave a comment here or on my social media pages to share your thoughts!
Until next week!