Accountability & creativity — the sugar and yeast of writing

In April 2016, as my regular readers may already be sick of hearing, I decided to write for at least 15 minutes a day. A few weeks into the writing streak, I decided I needed the accountability of publishing daily—or “shipping,” as Seth Godin calls it. And so I committed to posting a blog every day.

That was 366 days ago.

Creativity needs accountability

You can call yourself a writer if you’ve got a way with words. That’s creativity. But if you want to be a professional writer, you’d better add accountability to your creativity, or you’ll never get beyond the dreaming.

I didn’t set out to write “365 blogs in 365 days” like writer Michelle Monet. The only goal I thought about was today’s post, and then tomorrow’s. In fact, I didn’t even think about the 365-post benchmark until I neared the anniversary of writing daily.

So why have I done it?

Because I know that just as yeast needs sugar to bring it to life, creativity needs accountability. If I’d kept my commitment private, I would be the only one who knew if I’d broken it. So I made it public by publishing daily. Now, I might still be the only person who cares whether my streak continues. But that’s not the point. The point is I’ve made a public commitment.

Accountability keeps my brain bubbling and my fingers typing. Whether I want to or not. And believe me, some days it has definitely been “or not.”

Accountability keeps me publishing even though I might not feel it’s my best work. But you know what? I’m not always the best judge of my best work. No writer is. That’s what writers’ groups and trusted friends are for.

That’s why it’s essential that we show our work, that we share our work. It’s the only way to improve.

You may fear you’re the world’s worst writer (you’re probably not). Or you may think you’re the world’s best writer (again, probably not). You’ll never know until you send your work out into the world.

Create some accountability for yourself, and then watch what that accountability creates.

  • mindset
  • writing