I’ve had an accountability partner for almost a year now, and I wonder how I lived so long without one. I also wonder how much more I would have accomplished if I had found her ten years ago.
We met online during the 2016 Nanowrimo event. She was one of about ten people active in the Gainesville forum on Nanowrimo.org. We were writing at about the same pace, which was a lot faster than most of the others, and that prompted an email conversation about halfway through the month.
It started out as a friendly competition. We were both trying to get to 80,000 words in 30 days, so we made a friendly bet on who would have the highest word count. I was very motivated to write, but I found that there were several days when I was tired and didn’t feel like writing anymore, but I knew that she might take a big lead if I stopped, so I wrote another 1,500 words. Through email exchanges, I found out that the same thing was happening on her side.
At the end of Nano, we both acknowledged that we had accomplished a lot more due to our race than we would have without it, and the value of that was not lost on either of us. We decided to continue checking in with each other on our progress with editing what we had written.
That was probably the most important decision I have made in my writing career.
At some point in the evolution of things, we decided that we were official accountability partners. We exchanged goals and plans, and then we worked out a timeline in which we wanted to achieve these things. Through this process, we determined that we had a lot of the same goals, and that we could help each other out by combining efforts and resources, such as research on various topics, helpful books, network of contacts, etc. Did I mention that we had never met in person?
We set up a system to keep ourselves on track. For each month, we have a goals list of what we want to accomplish. We email progress reports throughout the week, and every Sunday we do a weekly goals check-in and list what we have done, and what we have not. We have expanded this system to include all of the things we have going on in our lives, not just writing and editing. We both have careers that we are committed to outside of writing, we have side businesses that we operate to fund the process of getting our writing careers off the ground, and we have families. Team-working everything helps us both maintain the tricky balance of prioritizing and focusing our attention appropriately.
This system works because we are both 100% committed to accomplishing our goals. We are both highly motivated self-starters, and neither of us are willing to settle for anything less than the best that we are capable of. The fact that our goals and our challenges are very similar is also important, as we can relate to each other without a lot of explanation. We did eventually meet in person to attend a workshop, and we’ve had some in-person strategy sessions since then, as we are forming our own independent publishing company. By combining our efforts, skills, and resources, we are both accomplishing more than we could have alone, and a lot faster. She has skills that I don’t have, and vice versa.
Becoming accountability partners has made all the difference for both of us.
Are you trying to achieve something? It doesn’t matter what it is; an accountability partner can help! If you can find someone else who is trying to do something similar, you will likely find the motivation of becoming accountability partners helps you achieve more. Accountability partners bring out the best in each other, and set new standards of achievement. Here are some things to look for in a potential AP, and what they should be looking for in you:
- Motivation level
- Commitment to the project
- Similarity of goals and timelines
- Similarity of challenges (if you’re working 3 jobs and raising 2 kids, you have different challenges than someone living in their parent’s basement with nothing but time on their hands)
The internet makes finding accountability partners much easier than ever before in history. You don’t need to be in the same geographic region to make it work. Use Facebook groups, or MeetUp, or Craigslist, or any number of other online resources to find people who do what you do. If you want to accomplish more in life, this is a tool that will help. Find out your true potential, and start living up to it!
J. Boyd Long is an author, blogger, website developer, and the CFO of Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic. In his spare time (ha!) he likes to paint, read, canoe, and hike in the wilderness. You can subscribe to this blog in the sidebar, and future blogs will be delivered to your email. Subscribing may increase your awesomeness quotient. Please feel free to comment, and share this blog on your favorite social media page! To learn more, please visit JBoydLong.com