Finding success with an accountability partner

NaNoWriMo starts super soon. Regardless of whether you plan to participate or not, there's no denying that there's something magical in the air of November that keeps writers in their chairs and pounding words onto the paper. One part of the formula that makes NaNoWriMo work is the accountability.

There's something about knowing you have to put your word count in front of other people that keeps you writing a little bit longer when you would normally just grab a Snuggie and watch a movie. But not all accountability partners are created equally.

I happened to luck out and snag an amazing partner who held my feet to the fire while finishing the drafts for RITE OF REVELATION. Seriously, I'm not sure when this book would have been finished without her. So here are my five tips for finding success with an accountability partner.

1. Find a partner who cares about you the person
Sure, you can find any random Joe to agree to be your person, but what happens when life gets in the way for them and they stop checking in on you? You need to find a person who cares about you and genuinely wants to see you succeed. Not only will they be more likely to stay with your for the long haul, you'll know that their sometimes tough love comes from a place of genuine caring.

2. Choose someone you speak to regularly
You can artificially create this sort of relationship, but I've found that finding a person you already have regular contact with can be a big benefit. This allows for extra, natural check-ins outside of the normal agreed upon check in times. If you run into this person several times a week or regularly speak on the phone, they will be able to give you more support and more reminders to get back to work.

3. Commit to daily check-ins
Even if you regularly talk to your partner, you should set up a daily check-in time. I work late at night (I'm writing this post at 12:30 am and have no plans for bed anytime soon). So for me, I made the commitment to sending my partner a FB message every night with my stats before I went to bed. I knew she would see them first thing when she woke up so I had better get my word count in, every day.

4. Set small goals
It's good to have big goals and you should definitely share those with your partner. But you should set smaller goals along the way. While editing, I would set goals for when I needed to be done with certain parts of my edit. I set time lines for when I wanted to have different aspects of my manuscript done. Having these little goals not only helped me to manage my time, but also allowed my partner to adjust my daily goals when I sometimes didn't hit my numbers.

5. Be honest
Accountability only works if you are honest with your partner. It can be tempting to just tell your partner what they need to hear to get off your back, but that is only going to hurt you. Not only does it defeat the purpose of having a partner, eventually, it will be obvious that you've been fudging the numbers and your partner will start phoning it in as well.

There are a lot of tools, tips and tricks out there to help you be more productive as a writer, but an accountability partner can be the helping hand that finally gets that manuscript finished.