A little over a year ago I wrote a post about the benefits of having a writing accountability partner. I had a writing buddy and we would meet once a week at a coffee shop to work on our books and it worked out really well… until he got a new job AND got married and his life got too busy to meet up.
That’s okay, I thought. I’ll just keep up the routine and finish my book. I have that time carved out and I’ll write as usual.
I got this!
Um… No. Really not.
In fact, I had, for all intents and purposes, completed the book while working with my buddy (whose name is actually Bud, so I think I’m VERY clever when I call him my buddy). There was still some editing, getting beta readers, tightening up some plot stuff, adding a bit of color, left to do.
Amazingly, all that stuff is still sitting out there waiting for me to finish up. I mean really? The damn thing is 95% finished.
But I ain’t got no-Buddy. (Like I could resist THAT line!)
Until two weeks ago.
Make New Friends*
I was talking to two of my fellow coaches – both women so I don’t know why I feel compelled to use “fellow” but sister coaches sounded kind of weird. Anyway, they are both writing books and even though we’re all self-motivated over-achievers, not one of us was finding time to get the damn things done. So I proposed an accountability meeting once a week to check in.
We’re only one week in but we’re already making progress. I had a new structure for the book I am working on and even though it means re-writing the first couple of chapters, it’s going to be a lot stronger. One of the coaches had completed a couple of chapters of her book; the other had added around 4,000 words to hers.
PROGRESS! Well, really…
Because we can’t show up and say we didn’t do the work.
It would be embarrassing. And in a way, it would be letting the others down because they took time out of their schedule to do the work. It’s disrespectful, in a way. We all work on our books so we don’t look like schlumps come Monday.
It’s weird that we will do more for others than for ourselves.
It’s also kind of cool. It says something very nice about us. (Or maybe we just want to look better to others, which is not as nice a thought, but it still works.)
And, as is often the case when you put someone else’s needs before yours, you find out that you benefit, too. Because when you are there for people, most times they will be there for you.
Not everyone. Not all the time. But most times.
In two weeks, our little accountability meeting has moved us into writing mode, even though we are busy and life gets a little crazy and in the way. And it feels good.
Accountability: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
As it turns out, carving out time to write is a present to ourselves.
When you think of all the stuff you do each week for other people (the boss, your family or friends, even going out of your way a bit to help a stranger) or just for the daily drudgery of life maintenance (laundry, yard work, dishes, taking the dog to the vet, etc), you wonder when there will be time for you. (“Calgon, take me away!”)
Often when you look back over the week you discover that you didn’t take any time for yourself. At the end of the day you collapsed on the sofa and binged-watched Netflix because you needed something mindless for a while.
And then you’re frustrated with yourself because you’re not getting your writing done or your business marketing done or any of a dozen important projects that you REALLY DO WANT to complete.
Having an accountability structure in place keeps you on track to follow through on all those good intentions. (Which then allows you to binge-watch Netflix guilt-free.)
Accountability is Worth Its Weight in Gold
I coach business clients in a rather high-end program. The number one aspect of the program that people really appreciate? Accountability. They like checking in with someone once a week or twice a month and going over what they were supposed to do vs. what they actually did. The truth is, even in business, we tend to be those kids who wait until the night before to write our book reports or do that science project. It’s no different with entrepreneurs and writers. My accountability group meets on Mondays. I’m slamming stuff out over the weekend to make sure I can say I did something. My students are often working through their task list the day before our session is scheduled.
That’s okay. In fact, it’s good. Because you know what? Shit gets done. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it the night before. You got it DONE.
Which is why they pay good money to a coach.
Your Accountability Partner has to be One Tough Bastard
Most of us work alone, either as writers or entrepreneurs. Our friends and family might be supportive, but unless they do what we do, they just don’t get it. And they don’t understand why an accountability partner is important or really what role that person needs to play in your life.
Your accountability buddy needs to be a person who doesn’t cut you any slack and who has a finely honed BS detector when you offer up excuses instead of results.
Not everyone has the time to be a good accountability partner. Or the incentive. And, if our accountability partner is “just a friend” who lets us off the hook or who is only semi-interested, there’s really no accountability.
That’s why people hire coaches to keep them on track. The coach is paid to care about whether or not you follow through. That’s their job. But coaches can be expensive. Now, that can work in the client’s favor—when you put out hard earned money for something, you tend to follow through.
I’ve discovered there’s a balance of time, money, and level of commitment. You need to pay something, but it also needs to be affordable. You need to put aside the time to honor your commitment to accomplishing what you set out to do. You also need commitment on the other side of the table from your coach or accountability partner to hold you to your course.
And a little peer pressure always helps.
Give It Three Months
If you find you’re not meeting your goals, that life always seems to get in the way, I have a solution for you. We have a new accountability program starting in just a few weeks. It’s a three month commitment and we’ll help you set the goals that you want to achieve in those three months. Maybe it’s writing a book. Or getting your marketing plan together. Or actually putting strategies you have for your business into motion. In fact, this particular group is going to be accountability with a focus on marketing. Yes, there’s an educational component to it, too.
Why three months? A number of reasons. First, three months gives you time to complete a more substantial project or get a whole bunch of smaller tasks and projects done. Second, it actually takes more than 21 days to form a habit. On average, it takes about 66 days. Simple habits take less time; more difficult habits take more time. Third, we want you to be committed for a long enough period of time that you can actually see the results having accountability brings to your business. We want you to proof your own pudding.
If this sounds like a program that can help you, send me an email: Barbara@BarbaraGrassey.com and I’ll send you information on the program as well as a brief application form to see if you and the program are a good fit for each other. We are working with a small group of people who are committed to setting goals, staying on track to completion, and most importantly, helping each other stay on track. If you’re tired of working solo in a silo, if you’d like to be in a community of like-minded people who are moving their businesses forward, then you are most likely right for this program. Send me an email. And yes, I know that everyone says, “Seats are limited” but in this program, we are limiting the number of participants. So, make your first move towards being accountable. Don’t procrastinate. Barbara@BarbaraGrassey.com
*Extra karma points if you sang “But keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”