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AccountabilityMy editor rang yesterday and I cringed when I saw her number appear on my iPhone.

It wasn’t because Kristy is a horrible person – she is in fact, completely awesome. But I knew she’d ask about my editing and I would have to tell the truth…that I had barely started.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I’ve been working on a memoir for a few years now. I’m currently in the home stretch – I just need to finish editing and then publish it. All the words are there. They just need (as Kristy puts it) ‘a little tweaking’.

But I’ve been stuck for a couple of months.

I could give you a few reasonably valid reasons for my inertia during this time. For example, there’s my recovery from a break-up and another writing project I started just before New Years that now sits at 43,000 words and counting. I could tell you that my spiritual work has been increasing every day. Or I could say that a myriad of other ‘life’ things and work commitments have just got in the way and kept me busy.

All of these things would be true. But they don’t touch on the three real reasons on why I haven’t finished my first book.

I’ve been hiding from the editing because, being a memoir, some of the content is still a little sensitive and I have to be brave and look at myself honestly when I revisit it. I have to be willing to truly face and accept my demons when I re-read my words.

Secondly, I worry that my words will never be good enough and it will be criticised as self-indulgent claptrap. I know this fear is not unique to me, every author has it at some point. Nevertheless, it sits between me and the finish line.

Thirdly (and this is the big one), I’m not great at self-accountability. I can meet deadlines brilliantly for other people but my personal ones often go swishing past with no actual delivery. Is it about putting other people first? Partly. Is it about not having enough faith in myself to actually finish? Most definitely.

Sometimes I’m just brilliant at getting in my own way.

Yesterday I decided to try a different approach and get some support to get things done!

As Kristy, by her own confession, suffers from similar personal roadblocks, we decided to make an Accountability Pact. We each decided on two goals we were going to reach this month and committed to achieving them. We will meet at the end of March, in person, and if we haven’t achieved our goals we’ll have to explain why. I’ve even suggested that if this doesn’t work, we could implement consequences for failing to deliver in future months.

It’s only day two but so far we’re both off to a great start and have been sharing our achievements. And, if all goes well, I will have my book edited by the end of the month.

The Accountability Pact isn’t only about achieving goals. It’s about having someone out there who will cheer you on and help you celebrate when you reach a milestone. Even more importantly, it’s about someone helping you to get out of your own way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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