Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed. | June 15, 2023 7:24 am
Magic of Writing Accountability Groups

As a creative entrepreneur, you often find yourself swaying on the tightrope of innovation and deadlines. While your creative juices flow, the clock doesn't forget to remind you about those impending projects and goals. Is there a way to stay productive while not curbing your creativity? Let's talk about how Writing Accountability Groups can help you meet your writing goals whether you’re working on a book, a blog article, a graphic novel, social media marketing descriptions, press releases, or any other kind of writing you may be facing as a creative entrepreneur.

While I have created several writing groups over the years with both local and virtual friends and business partners, I want to share this space with you. So I have created the Creatorpreneur Collab Co-Working space on Zoom where our members and customers can meet at 12 p.m. Central each Friday this summer to collaborate, write, and create together virtually. 

How Writing Accountability Groups Can Help You Meet Your Writing Goals as a Creative Entrepreneur

Writing Accountability Group Proof

What if I told you there was a secret for enhancing productivity, especially with a creative endeavor like writing? An invisible force that holds your hand, ensuring you meet your writing goals without giving up on your creativity. Yes, we are talking about Writing Accountability Groups. They are groups where writers pledge to meet their goals and hold each other accountable, creating a community that pushes you towards your writing objectives.

I’m going to brag a little bit here. Over the past 21 months, I have written and published 61 articles on this website alone, including two articles listed in the top five results in Google for their keyword phrases. In the same time period, I’ve written 18 articles for a client with two of those articles appearing as the #1 result for four search terms. Several articles are appearing in the top five results for 20 search terms. What this means is that hundreds of readers are arriving on their websites, spending money through their affiliate links, and contacting them for their services. And that’s not all. The readers are getting their questions answers, finding solutions to their problems, or just learning something new that they need.

So the question is: How was I able to write so prolifically and productively? My answer (Yes, you guessed it!) is writing accountability groups.

The Concept of Accountability Groups

Accountability groups are about creating an ecosystem of peers that respect, encourage, and inspire each other towards achieving individual writing goals. The primary mechanism at work is a mutual agreement to hold each other accountable for a set task or goal. But why does this work? According to psychology, the mere presence of someone can influence our behavior, a phenomenon known as social facilitation.

Why Accountability Matters in Writing?

When we commit to our goals publicly, it inherently forces us to work towards fulfilling them, avoiding any embarrassment or guilt. Accountability fosters discipline and consistency, two vital elements in writing projects. What this means is that accountability helps writers stay on track, meet deadlines, and produce high-quality work. When writers are accountable to others, they are more likely to put in the time and effort necessary to produce their best work. And in case you’re thinking “But I'm not a writer,” this is true for anyone who is actually doing the creating or writing.

There are a number of ways to create accountability for writing. One way is to join a writing group or workshop. In a writing group, writers can share their work with each other and get feedback. This can help writers to identify areas where their work needs improvement and to make changes accordingly.

Choosing the Right Accountability Group

The concept of accountability groups may sound appealing, but choosing the right one can be quite the dilemma. You should consider the group's size, the genre of writing, group members' goals, and the level of commitment expected. A group with similar interests and goals will undoubtedly create a conducive environment for your writing journey. You’ll also need to consider whether you want to meet in person or virtually.

The Role of Accountability Groups in Creative Entrepreneurship

There are a number of ways to create accountability for writing. One way is to join a writing group or workshop. In a writing group, writers can share their work with each other and get feedback. This can help writers to identify areas where their work needs improvement and to make changes accordingly.

Creative entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park. As an business owner, you need to be proactive, disciplined, and consistent in your creative endeavors. Not only are you creating products, whether physical or digital, for your business, but you’re also needing to write to promote those products. So, how can an accountability group contribute to this journey?

Fostering Productivity

I have big plans, but oftentimes, I get in my own way. It’s easy to think “I’ll do that tomorrow” — especially if you have a tendency to get in your own head and start talking yourself out of doing things. For example, I’ll get an idea for a course or event, start planning for it, and then about halfway through decided that there are probably plenty of others out there that are way better than mine. “Who am I to create this?” It’s the same with some of my writing. I’ll start sketching ideas for scenes, creating characters — and then I’ll start second guessing myself and before I know it, I’ve talked myself out of the project.

Imagine starting your week though knowing you have to report your progress to a group — a group that believes in what you’re doing and can help remind you that YOU are bring a unique perspective and experience to your work that no one else can. This gives you the necessary nudge to get things rolling, and keep them rolling, right? That's what an accountability group does. It motivates you to stay on track, thereby boosting your productivity.

Promoting Discipline

I’m the world’s worst at procrastination. Just ask my husband. If he catches me cleaning anything, he’ll ask, “So, what are you supposed to be writing?” *insert raised eyebrow emoji* (Being seen like this is one of the pros and cons of being married for almost 30 years.) Sometimes, I just don’t feel like writing, creating or working on whatever project it is that I should be doing. But I’ve learned over the years that I have to make myself do the things that need to be done, even when I don’t want to do them.

That’s because creative entrepreneurship requires a disciplined approach to juggle between various tasks. A writing accountability group, by keeping you accountable for your commitments, helps develop this discipline. One of the most important tasks of writing consistently is finding a writing routine that works for you. Some writers find it helpful to write at the same time each day. Others prefer to write in short bursts throughout the day. My schedule is pretty busy — and I’m not a morning person — so I ‘ll set aside blocks of time (one to two hours) to focus on writing. You will need to experiment with different writing routines until you find one that helps you to be productive and focused.

Enhancing the Quality of Work

Depending on how the group is setup, writing accountability groups can provide you with the space to do your best work or collaboration and feedback to help you improve the quality of work you’ve already done. In some cases, these groups may do both. Writing groups can help you stay motivated to write, even when you're feeling stuck or discouraged. Knowing that you have a group of people who are counting on you to produce new work can be a powerful motivator. Other writers can also provide you with valuable feedback on your work, helping you to identify areas where you can improve your grammar, style, clarity, and overall effectiveness.

Personally, I love this process. I hate it when I give someone an early draft of my work and ask for their feedback and their answer is, “It’s great! Love it.” That makes me feel like they didn’t put much thought into it. Of course, I understand that in some cases they really did think it was great and in other cases, they may not have the experience to critique what I wrote. But I value a good critique session in which I can hear how my writing has impacted someone else and make adjustments to better improve how I present my message.

How to Utilize Writing Accountability Groups Effectively

Online Writing Group Role

Simply being part of an accountability group won't guarantee success. You can’t just show up, mute your screen and snooze. You need to utilize the co-working time effectively. But how?

Show Up Prepared

Whether your group is focused on getting work done during your session (co-working), providing feedback for work you’ve already completed (critiquing), or both, make sure you’re prepared for the meeting. Bring the work that you’d like feedback on and be preparing to spend the working time making something happen on the project of your choice. Keep in mind, how that looks is up to you. Remember that researching, organizing, and taking notes are all part of the brainstorming stage of the writing process.

Active Participation

Co-working spaces and critique groups are not meetings where you just sit back and someone else provides all the content or instructions. It’s truly a space where you can make it be what you need it to be in collaboration with other people who are also working towards similar goals. So be an active participant in the group. Share your goals, progress, struggles, and achievements. Engage in discussions, and most importantly, listen to what others have to share.

Taking Feedback Positively

Criticism can be hard to digest, but it's crucial for growth. Learn to take feedback positively and work on improving your craft. One of my favorite ways to help group members communicate their feedback needs is a system I learned with the Oklahoma Writing Project. Before you share, let the group know if you want your work blessed, pressed, or addressed. Here is what these mean:

  • Blessed: You want group members to tell you what they like about what you wrote. This is especially important if you’re working on a new project and feeling uncertain about its value.
  • Pressed: You want group members to tell you everything about how they think and feel about your project — the good, the bad, and the ugly. You’re already confident in the project and are looking to get all the bugs worked out.
  • Addressed: This request is for when you have a specific issue or concern that you want readers or listeners to focus on and discuss with you.

Whatever kind of feedback you want, remember that your group members want to see you succeed and are helping you become a better writer, creator, and entrepreneur. Don’t take anything personally, and do remember that you are ultimately the writer with the final say and can decide how you implement advice or criticism in your own writing.

Honoring Your Commitments

Being a part of a group means being accountable to others. So, respect the commitments you make and work towards fulfilling them. That means being on time and present as often as you can. And if you can’t make it, let the organizer know as soon as possible. Of course, we know that emergencies come up and by all means take care of yourself. But your group members will worry about you may also want to know how they can help. So let them know what you can and make plans to re-engage as soon as you can. You’re always welcome back!

What is a writing accountability group?

A writing accountability group is a collective of writers who pledge to meet their writing goals and hold each other accountable, thereby creating a supportive and productive environment.

How can an accountability group help me in my writing journey?

An accountability group helps maintain discipline, foster productivity, and improve the quality of your work through peer feedback and mutual encouragement.

What should I consider while choosing an accountability group?

You should consider the group's size, the genre of writing, members' goals, and the level of commitment expected.

Can accountability groups help in creative entrepreneurship?

Absolutely. Accountability groups can foster productivity, promote discipline, and enhance the quality of your work, which are crucial aspects of creative entrepreneurship.

How can I utilize an accountability group effectively?

You can do this by actively participating in the group, taking feedback positively, and honoring your commitments.

Do accountability groups work for everyone?

Accountability groups may not work for everyone. Some people might find them stressful. Therefore, it's essential to understand your working style before joining an accountability group.

Creatorpreneur Collab Virtual Co-Working Space

Personally, I love finding or creating a group of people with similar goals who love collaborating with other writers and creative entrepreneurs. That’s why I’m creating a Virtual Co-Working Space on Friday afternoon through the summer. If you’re already a Creatorpreneur Collab customer, check your email. I’ve sent out a few. If not, check out our courses and toolkits. Buy one or more courses or toolkits and I’ll automatically receive an invitation to our co-working space. Our writing accountability group can play a crucial role in shaping your journey as a creative entrepreneur. It's a fantastic way to keep your writing goals in check, cultivate discipline, boost productivity, and enhance your work quality. So, are you ready to join a writing accountability group and take your writing to the next level?

About the Author

I chose to proactively retire from the classroom teaching and share my gifts in a different context. I'm a damn good teacher and I'm tired of working within a frustrating system that won't let me do what I know is right. So I'm taking my business full time -- and I'm still educating, still making a difference in the world. And I want to help you do the same.

Posted in: Collaboration
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