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An Accountability Partner Helps You Get More Writing Done

freelance writers create communicationOne of the ways I keep writing is with the help of my accountability partner. You’re getting to know her – she’s Helen Chang who writes a weekly column here.

We have a standing telephone appointment with each other every week with the aim of supporting each other in our writing businesses. We do that by gently holding each other accountable to our goals. Like bookending, it’s another tool that can help freelance writers.

Each week we call each other and tell each other:

  • What we accomplished last week.
  • What got left undone.
  • What we intend to accomplish this week.


An Accountability List

Last week my accountability list looked something like this:

  • Stretch daily
  • Workout 3x
  • New client A
  • New client B
  • Existing Client A
  • Existing Client B
  • 2 blogs m-f, one on s, s.
  • Best selling book idea
  • Market abw
  • Weekly marketing plan
  • Center email
  • Service
  • Bill paying
  • Really get my  numbers straightened out

Reporting to My Accountability Partner

  • Stretch daily – 5 days
  • Workout 3x – twice and think I’m going to reduce it to twice for a while
  • New client A – working
  • New client B – working
  • Existing Client A -working
  • Existing Client B – working
  • 2 blogs m-f, one on s, s. – done
  • Best selling book idea – waiting
  • Market abw – done, but not well
  • Weekly marketing plan – yes, sort of
  • Center email – yes
  • Service – no, moved to this week
  • Bill paying – partial
  • Really get my  numbers straightened out – finally got it really started.

I keep these lists in a single word file, adding the current list on top so it’s easy to find.

There’s something magic about knowing I’m going to be reporting to Helen. She always congratulates me on what I’ve gotten done and encourages me if something lingers for several weeks. I work to do the same for her.


It generally takes about 10 or 15 minutes. Once and awhile we’ll take longer, but only if we’re sure the other is up for it. We’re almost strictly business in this call.

I suspect a virtual accountability partner would work too.

How To Choose An Accountability Partner

I want my main accountability partner to be:

  • Another women (okay, call me sexist on this one of you want.)
  • Another writer roughly in my genres.
  • Someone who I knew would keep her agreements to talk on a weekly schedule.

I actually meet with two other women once a week who are not writers but are in business for themselves for a combo coffee klatch and accountability session. It often works out that one of us well need to talk more than the other two, and we honor that need.

Obviously there are lots of ways to give yourself a bit of an edge.

How do you keep getting the writing done?

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Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Hi Anne,
    I just wanted to tell you that the last time you posted on this topic, another of your commenters, Ronda Levine (at http://www.writingresearchediting.com/ ) and I ended up giving it a shot together. We did not know each other before, she lives in CA – I live in Europe, but it turned out we are very sympatico, keep each other on track, and have even ended up referring work to each other! How cool is that???
    .-= Paula Swenson´s last blog ..Don’t confuse Service with Servant! =-.

    • Anne

      That’s way cool. Are you still working together?

  • I started the blog challenge (I think I might even have found it here!) that Arlee Bird at tossing it out set, where for the entire month of April, I post a post every day except Sunday, alphabetically. So far I’ve been doing okay. I have to do it before midnight or it doesn’t count (that’s my own goal). I sometimes need to ask my chat buds for suggestions on topics!

    I’m trying to get back into writing every day. After I finished the bulk of my novel’s editing, my job got really hairy and it’s very hard. I go home so tired at the end of the day that it’s difficult to even do my exercise, or type. Hopefully I’ll get used to it. I have a sequel and another book to write ASAP!
    .-= Elizabeth West´s last blog ..Karma =-.

    • Anne

      Good for you… and there’s always, I think, another book to write.

  • Fantastic idea. I used to have this with one of my IT consultancy businesses. I’d talk to a colleague who ran a similar business in a different city every two weeks. It can make a huge difference, because even if you are a procrastinator like me, if you slip, it’s harder to tell someone else than make excuses to your own self.

    If you are just getting started with this, I would recommend you use Microsoft Onenote or Google Docs instead of Word. It’s more structured, and can then be linked to specific tasks.
    .-= Karl Rohde´s last blog ..Creative juices not flowing? Give the other side of your brain a workout! =-.

  • How I wish I could have an accountability partner. In my case I always motivate myself to keep me writing. I keep my eyes on my goal no matter what discouragements goes my way. 🙂

    • Anne

      Walter, sometimes it’s as easy as asking another writer – and good for you for keeping on keeping on no matter what!

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