Who hasn’t spent a lazy day in December coming up with New Year’s Resolutions we know would make our lives easier, more productive, or simply more enjoyable? For creative types, this often includes doing our form of art more. We resolve to draw more, play more, or write more. But how can we keep those resolutions from falling to the wayside once the new year’s obligations press in? One answer: ask an accountability partner to help.

Very few serious writers manage to get through their education without hearing the admonition to “write every day.” But who has the time? Writers and bloggers often find “real-life” obligations, personal fears, or writers block standing between them and their resolution to write more. But there are good reasons why everyone from the prolific Steven King to my own high school creative writing teacher prioritize a daily writing habit.

Writing More Makes Writing Easier

Writers never live up to their own expectations. Because many writers are prolific readers, we often have tastes for well-written prose, poetry, or literature that exceed our own abilities. And that brings with it a great deal of apprehension. After all, if we aren’t happy with our own work, why would anyone else want to read it?

But to get past that self-talk, you need to ignore it. Pick up your pen, start your computer, and just start writing. Remember that your favorite authors’ first drafts were crap. What you read when you pick up a novel is the result of layers upon layers of editing. Even bloggers, who produce content much more quickly don’t necessarily get it right the first time. Blog articles still need editing before they are ready to post.

You will also find that antagonistic voice that tells you to put your pen down will get quieter the more you write. You will get better with time. But you may need some external stimulus to keep hitting your deadlines and pushing your posts to the web. Enter: the accountability partner.

What Is an Accountability Partner?

An accountability partner is another writer with the same, or similar, commitment to the craft as you have. The idea is that you share your resolutions and goals with one another and then hold each other to them. For a blogger, working with an accountability could mean:

  • Getting together to brainstorm content calendars, keywords, or topics
  • Sharing inspiration or examples of well-written blogs when you find them
  • Exchanging drafts of blog posts with one another for editing and proofreading
  • Promising to read (and possibly comment on or share) every one of one another’s posts
  • Meeting for monthly or quarterly check-ins to see if you are meeting your objectives and benchmarks.

As an accountability partner, you are promising to be firm and objective. If a draft is late, you call your partner up and ask about it. If a post is full of typos, you remind your partner of the importance of giving posts a second read.

But remember, you can be critical and still be kind. Use constructive criticism techniques – like pointing out a positive before and after calling out a negative – and consider one another’s feelings when it is time for feedback. Remember that publishing anything is an accomplishment, even if it falls short of the mark.

Can’t Find an Accountability Partner? An Editor Can Help

Unfortunately, not everyone feels comfortable exposing their goals, or their writing, to friends and family. Even if you want to, sometimes there simply isn’t anyone available to serve as an accountability partner.

When that happens, a paid editor can fill the gap. Legal Linguist offers blog coaching because I really do want more lawyers to embrace blogging as a personal outlet and a professional marketing tool. But I know that after the coaching ends, case deadlines and increased caseloads can push blogging to the side.

That’s why I offer my blog coaching clients inexpensive editorial services after the coaching is over. I provide the accountability my clients need to develop the habit of writing and push through the hard times. By acting as the outside stimulus, I help my blog coaching clients meet their goals and live up to their resolutions to write more.

Lisa Schmidt is a blog coach for Legal Linguist. If you need help starting your law blog, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.