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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Reason 11

11 - The Real Reason

By Rosanne Bane

Someone once told me there’s the reason you think you do something and then there’s the REAL reason you do something. It might just be that the real reason I show up to write five days a week is because:

#11 I’m accountable.

I simply will not tell the students in my Writing Habit class “Here’s what I think you should do. I don’t always do it, but you should.” I am not willing to ever tell my students I didn’t honor my commitments to my writing that week.

I teach the Writing Habit class 5 or 6 times a year, year after year, because the feedback from students tells me it is both a needed and an effective class. It’s a way I give back to my writing community. But this class also gives me a tremendous gift of accountability.

My students don’t hold me accountable; I hold myself accountable. My students are my witnesses. We all serve as witness to each writer in the class. And in that process, these writers learn the power of having witnesses as they hold themselves accountable.

Another source of accountability for me is this blog. I post every week in part because several hundred of you out there read this blog. Your comments and responses are powerful rewards that keep me motivated. But I know that if I missed a week, it wouldn’t be the end of your world.

I need to post every week. I promised you at the outset that I would post at least once a week and I have. Sometimes it’s been by the skin of my teeth late on Friday, but I’ve always posted. I have a sense that if I break this promise just once, it will lose all power to keep me motivated and accountable.

Who Are You Accountable To?

Accountability is vital. It’s what lies behind the power of deadlines and feedback. It’s why so many writers write more when they’re taking a class.

Who helps you hold yourself accountable to your writing and how effective is that arrangement? Please comment.

I suspect that asking your spouse/partner to help you be accountable to your writing is a risky option; I’d love to hear from any of you who’ve tried it. Does it work? Why or why not?

Some writers seem to think that needing someone to be their witness and give them support and encouragement is a sign of weakness. It’s not. It’s a sign of our humanity. Human beings are social creatures; we’re wired to notice and care how others respond to us.

Need More?

If you need more accountability and encouragement for your writing, you’re welcome to join my new Mastering the Writing Habit e-class and coaching support group. We’ll meet by conference call on Tuesdays from 10 to 11:30 am starting February 16, 2010. Click here for a PDF with more information. Or contact me by email at Rosanne@RosanneBane.com

Mastering the Writing Habit e-class is designed for people who’ve taken the Writing Habit class at the Loft, but if you’re in another part of the country or can’t take the Writing Habit class for some other reason, I can fill you in on the basics before you join the Mastering group.

If you’re in the Twin Cities metro, take a look at any of the fabulous classes at the Loft for more accountability and opportunities to develop your craft and connect with other writers. If you’re not in the Twin Cities, check out the literary center in your part of the country.

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2 Comments on “Reason 11”

  1. 'Ailina February 11, 2010 at 12:49 am #

    A much needed kick in the proverbial bucket. Accountability is my greatest fear second only to failure. Making promises I can’t keep. However, my #1 New Year’s Resolution has been to Keep My Word. This article has given me a lot to think about. Surely, I can make and keep a real commitment to write publically at least once a week! I’ll give this some serious thought. Thank you for setting a fine example!


    • rosannebane February 11, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

      Thanks Ailina! One trick to honoring your commitments is to start small — like 10 or 15 minutes. If you want to keep going and write longer, that’s great, but keeping the commiment small helps you do it No Matter What.
      Please keep us posted on what you decide to commit to and how it works for you.


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