Do you suffer from the “shiny object author addiction”? Have you started writing a book (or five) but are struggling to finish your first draft? I can totally relate.
As a published author with over 20 books available on Amazon, I know what it’s like to be a busy author, and just how much goes in to writing and publishing a new book, but I still struggle with parts of it. Especially when it comes to starting a new book and actually seeing it through to publication. So many books get abandoned on my hard drive as I run off after my newest book idea.
One of the biggest factors in whether or not my books get finished is my accountability system.
So how do you do that? How do you find an accountability partner or establish an accountability system that actually works?
Establishing an Accountability Partnership
Finding an accountability partner isn’t hard, it’s keeping one that’s a challenge.
You may know someone personally that would be willing to step in and help you out. It may be a friend, family member, or someone from your church or local writers’ group. But if not, you can usually post on your Facebook page or in a group that you are looking for an accountability partner and quickly get volunteers.
This is how I got connected to my current accountability partner. Ironically, someone else posted looking to start an accountability group of sorts, and they started it with six of us. My accountability partner and I are the only two who stuck with it. Even the author who started the group couldn’t keep the commitment.
It doesn’t matter who your accountability partner is or how you find them, what really matters is that you establish accountability. I am committed to checking in with my partner once each week via Skype and we also have a private Facebook group where we communicate throughout the week. We are both firmly committed to that. And in those check ins, we tell each other our goals, and our accomplishments. Sometimes we brainstorm ideas or help each other out with a problem, but for the most part we support and encourage one another to reach our goals.
If you don’t have a one-on-one accountability partner, you could try public accountability such as posting on your FB page how many words you wrote each day/week. Or sharing a book update on your blog or with your email list once a month. If you have a prayer list, you could stay accountable to them. This works really well for some people, and doesn’t work at all for others. Personally, I need a real person (or three) who are willing to apply pressure when I’m slacking off.
Creating an Accountability System
Whether you have an accountability partner or not, you still need to create a system that holds you accountable. This means you must have goals and consequences. If you don’t make a deadline, or meet your writing goals, then what? What is the consequence?
If there is no consequence, you aren’t really being held accountable. For me, my consequence is putting in extra hours when I would rather be doing something else. Whether it’s staying up late, or skipping a social function to meet your goals, having a consequence is important.
A successful accountability system is made up of three parts:
1. Having an Accountability Partner or Process
2. Setting Realistic Goals
3. Having Consequences
Without all three of those pieces in place, an accountability system is set up to fail. An accountability partner without consequences is just a friendship. Consequences without goals are questionable. Goals without accountability are merely dreams.
If you have been struggling to finish your book, I encourage you to set up an accountability system that will work for you, and get your first draft done.