9 – Getting Started With Freelance Writing – Becoming Truly Accountable

writers need to be accountableWhen you work for yourself there’s no one helping you keep track of what you’re doing or issuing instructions or giving you evaluations. That’s both one of the joys and one of the problems.

While freelancers are free from bosses or managers and the almost endless meetings found in so many jobs, there’s also little feedback and no requirement you get to your writing office at the same time every day or even that you go to work at all.

The only way to be (or become) successful in your writing career is to develop habits like writing and marketing regularly and handling the myriad of business details.

Probably the best way to develop the needed habits is to set up a way to be accountable both to yourself and to at least one other person.

What does being accountable actually mean?

Dictionary.com defines accountable this way:

1. subject to the obligation to report, explain, or
justify something; responsible; answerable.

2. capable of being explained; explicable; explainable.
For our purposes the person you are really accountable to is, of course, yourself. But we've found that if you set up a way to be accountable to at least some other person you know supports your efforts, it's easier.
Yes, it's true,  as you acquire clients or assignments, you’ll have to satisfy the client or the editor if you want to get paid. That's certainly part of accountability.

Although you can certainly work all on your own, many of us have found it truly helpful to  become accountable to someone else. There are several ways to do this. The first is bookending, which actually became my favorite tip when I did 30 days of tips for writers.


When you want to bookend a writing or other chore, you call a friend and commit to spending x amount of time on the project, or some other measurable effort. It could be 10 minutes on tracking your numbers, 30 minutes on writing your blog, or finishing a press release… anything actually.

When you’ve completed the task you set for yourself you call back and report that. And if you realize you aren’t going to complete it, or maybe even start it, you call and report that too.

It’s amazing how this can get me off dead center of not starting or completing something. And yes, it seems to work equally well to leave these messages on the person’s voice mail.

A week’s worth of accountability at a time

weekAnother way to build in accountability for yourself is to set up a list of all the things you hope to accomplish in a week and share that with someone else. At the end of the week you tell the person what was accomplished and what was not. Often this is done with an accountability partner – someone you work with regularly so you can support each other.

The 5BuckForum has an accountability fourm/thread and many of us use it regularly, posting our week’s list, then checking in daily marking what done, what’s changed, etc. We also comment on each other’s lists, offering true support.

Becoming accountable to another person helps break up the isolation freelancers often feel. It’s good to know at least one other person is on our side.

writing assignmentAssignment 9 - Become accountable in the forum

Put together a list of what you want to accomplish this week. Post it in the forum’s accountability forum. While you’re there read through some of the others’ and, if you’re so inclined make some comments.

Here's why:

Being accountable with a supportive group of people makes it oooooh sooo much easier. Plus, we often applaud each other, congratulate each other, and, when asked, offer gentle suggestions. It feels good when others acknowledges us. You can do the same.

Forum link: Becoming truly accountable

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