WEEK 3, STEP 3: “Getting Accountability”
Before you start writing seriously, there’s one really important thing you need to do first and that is to get accountability. That means to find someone – either a parent, sibling, best friend, english or writing teacher, aunt, uncle, cousin, or several friends – to make sure you keep on writing, even when you don’t feel like. If you can find someone who’s almost as excited about your story or your idea as you are to come alongside of you they will help you in so many ways, even more than you can imagine! Accountability/writing partners cheer you on when you’re tired or stuck, help you come up with ideas, and most importantly read your writing and give you help or encouragement.
A lot of people skip this step. Perhaps they don’t know people off the top of their head who are interested in writing. Perhaps they’re introverts and don’t want to interact with people. Maybe everyone they know that likes writing isn’t talented and they think they can do better on their own. But please, listen when I tell you… DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! I won’t go into every single reason why you absolutely need a writing buddy here right now. We’ll finish talking about it in week 13. But here are the main reasons why you need to avoid working alone.
First of all, you don’t have anyone to actually make you finish the book. People who write alone will often get bored or discouraged with their work and toss it aside and start something else. They end up never publishing their works, or not publishing as soon as they could have because no one was reading their work and demanding that they finish the book.
Second, your writing will never get better if you don’t have someone reading it and telling you what you did wrong and what you did right. There’s only so many things you can catch yourself. Some of my friends and writing buddies have caught things in my story that I thought were perfectly fine but ended up being really bad in a historical context. Even people who are the worst writers and critics can catch gaping holes in your story that you yourself might miss. At the very least they will find typos in your story that you won’t notice since you’re reading your own work and know exactly what you want to say.
Third, when you get stuck or lost you won’t have anyone to throw out ideas or cheer you on or pray for you. Imagine having your own personal cheerleader shouting, “Go! You can do it! I know you can! Write! Just sit down at that keyboard and do it! I know you can! Go go go! I can’t wait to read more!” That’s what writing buddies do for you.
And last, but by no means least, your writing buddy is there to keep you moving towards your goal and point you in the right direction. We can often become so enamored with writing or with how awesome our stories are that we miss the point of Who and what we’re writing for. The prayers and honesty of your accountability partner will be able to keep you on track and keep your focus on God, no matter what. You might get distracted from the big picture while you’re in the writing world. But your writing partner, who isn’t as completely immersed in your world as you are, won’t be distracted from the original goal and will tell you when you aren’t meeting it.
Now… You’re almost ready to dive in head-first! Next week we’ll talk about outlining and actually begin to write!
1. Find at least one accountability/writing partner. The person doesn’t even have to be a writer. It just needs to be someone who loves you, loves your story idea, and is willing to come alongside of you and be your moral support.
2. Finish researching ideas for your story so that once you start writing (or if you’ve already started) you don’t get stuck and know exactly where you’re taking the plot.