Get ye some accountability!

ac·count·a·bil·i·ty: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

Over the past five (!) months, since I have been staying home more than going out, I have developed a new appreciation for a sometimes-overlooked writing tool: accountability.

The first step in achieving any goal is articulating it to yourself. The next is putting your intention into the world by articulating it to others. The final step is asking another person or a group of people to hold you accountable for progress toward your goal.

Accountability works for me. I would not have finished my previous two novels or numerous short stories without the ongoing support of my writing partner, Lisa Meltzer Penn. We’ve been writing together for years. A few years ago, our weekly sessions morphed into Shut Up & Write sessions, growing our one-on-one accountability to a group. She and I recently deepened our support of one another with weekly check-ins and dedicated shared time to work on specific tasks, like querying agents.

My two critique groups also have been invaluable, not only in giving feedback on my works in progress, but also in prodding me to come up with something to submit for critique each month. Since January, I’ve added my participation as a Shuffle Collective resident to my widening circle. We meet twice a month and several of us also have begun weekly writing sessions. And most recently, I have been taking advantage of Albert Flynn DeSilver’s free weekly writing classes on Fridays.

Of course, working with an accountability partner isn’t limited to writers. Anyone can do it. Whether you want to read more books, commit to an exercise routine, or change your diet, finding like-minded folks to share the journey will help you get there—potentially a little quicker and usually in better spirits.

A workshop series for writers who want accountability

In just about a month, Jennifer Browdy and I will hold the first session of our online workshop series, Birth Your Truest Story. We’re incredibly excited to bring this extended version of a shorter-form offering to any writer who wants a non-judgmental space where you will feel safe to discover your most tender voice, so that your truest stories can take root and blossom. Using birth as a metaphor for writing (and no, you don’t have to have given birth to benefit!), we’ll explore the fears that hold you back, how to create allies (internal as well as external) to support your project, and the details of narrative arc, character development, and editing.

The group will be limited to 12 participants, so sign up soon to ensure a spot if you’re interested!

Not sure if the workshop is right for you?

Join us on August 23 for a free introductory class on Sunday, August 23, 10 a.m. PST, 1 p.m. EST.

What to expect* in the workshop series

In these short videos, Jennifer and I discuss our intentions and how we will structure the series to help writers “gestate” their projects…

… in the “first trimester”

… in the “second trimester”

… in the “third trimester”

*There’s a well-known book among mothers-to-be called What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

6 thoughts on “Get ye some accountability!

Add yours

  1. You’ve been a great accountability partner for me! First, inviting me to join your critique group, then Shut Up & Write and then the CWC Board. This has inspired me to find more ways to use accountability in moving my writing forward!


  2. I am forever grateful for your invitation to join your critique group and the Shut Up & Write group and the CWC Board…AND most of all, being an inspiration and chief encouragement officer for me! Accountability on all levels really works.


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