The Importance of Accountability

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. – George Orwell

Writing is hard. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. As with all things difficult, where one is tempted to give up and run screaming through the streets when you just can’t take it anymore, it’s good to regularly check in with others who are on the same journey as you. Here are some of the ways I keep myself on target.

In-Person Writer Groups

I’m lucky enough to have a pretty active writing community nearby. My town even has a writer’s guild. Search online and see if you can find other authors nearby. Shut Up & Write is a great organization for this. They host regular meet ups where everyone introduces themselves, checking in on current projects, then writes uninterrupted for one hour (or longer). It’s a great way to meet a variety of people who all have a passion for writing.

Facebook Groups (WITH GOALS)

The key here is ACCOUNTABILITY. While there are plenty of Facebook groups dedicated to writing, very few have weekly check-ins. Sacha Black runs a group called 13 Steps to Evil – Villain Masters, which has a regular check-in on Mondays.

Accountability Buddies

Pick a writer, any writer, and agree to check-in with one another a couple of times a week. I had a buddy after NaNoWriMo last year. We communicated via Facebook and entered our word counts every day in Google sheets. The only problem was that it got harder once I started editing and he fell off the writer bandwagon. If I had to do it over again, I’d probably use a different tracking mechanism and add a few more people for increased accountability.

Word Count Trackers

If you’re not stuck editing, I highly recommend a joint word count tracker like I mentioned above. If someone has nothing input for a few days, you can send them a PM asking what’s up.

Critique Groups/Alpha Readers

If your writing is relatively solid, you may choose to share your manuscript as it’s being written. I personally wait until I at least have a complete draft, but I know several people who use critique and alpha readers very early in the process. It works because you have someone breathing down your neck (hopefully) waiting for the next chapter.

For myself, I found this gives me a much-needed boost during the editing process. Editing is rough, and seeing your story land with people is a real incentive to keep going.

Copyright © 2019 Val Neil. All rights reserved.

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