Contributed by Carrie Aulenbacher
My best advice to help others improve their productivity, I’ve found that experience with an accountability partner is very impactful on my projects because I can no longer hide my deadlines or give up on myself.
I’ve always taken my creative projects as seriously as I take my day job so when I was accepted by Page Publishing out of NYC 2 years ago, I started down a road that I was determined to see through to the utmost. My book baby was going to turn into a real novel! Being as I live in a rural area and some of my friends weren’t prepared to handle my side hobby of writing turning into a new career, I did not want to be stranded without a support system that would keep me on my toes. I tried to just write my own goals and work towards completing things myself. And I DID reach those goals, but they were FAR lower than what I was capable of. I needed someone who understood the challenges I was facing; someone who was facing the exact same thing.
I started working with Dion for a few months now, and the two of us could not BE any more different! I’m a young white mother in suburbia and he’s a black middle-aged reformed drug dealer from the city. Although we’re about 16 years apart in age, our passion to write and promote other writers has brought us together in a crazily effective duo.
I have come to find that teaming up with Dion has provided me the basis of an author’s network to give me that accountability. For example, I would never charge to help an author with their Facebook page. But through him looking at my work, he has help me set up rates (very modest) to charge so that I can bring in some compensation for my time invested in this work. And, him being the owner of an urban online magazine, he’s taken a chance on me that makes me want to double down on my efforts. I’m one of the few white authors on his site so far, but he gives an objective eye to the magazine articles I submit to him, and that gives me confidence to transform my personal author newsletter into one providing marketing tips and not just droning on about my next book. [I’m tired of reading those kinds of newsletters from people, so I’m trying to mix it up and have fun while being of benefit to my readers]
When I tell Dion a thought, he’s like a bulldog that keeps reminding me about my idea until I get it done. He expects me to follow-through and he has proven that he has that same drive to follow-through on his own projects. So we check in with each other (sometimes daily) and keep each other going. After his 16 years in prison, he is trying to make up for lost time on his dream of writing and is finishing his third novel. It inspires me to take the book babies I have kept hidden in my drawers and push them out into the world myself. And he knows that if I haven’t mentioned anything new lately, that I’m hiding my latest thought and he’ll prod until I spill the beans.
More people, not just writers but anyone in general, can benefit from such a partner because, if it is not a spouse, then they can be more focused on the common goal with you. A spouse is a great partner and cheerleader, but you will always have the doubt in the back of your mind that maybe they are just supporting you because they love you so much. (nothing wrong with that!) So an independent person, not a friend, not a spouse, can give you that neutral feedback and the accountability that drives you to finish things you might otherwise beg off. How often have we told our friends, “I was going to finish that for you, but I got busy! You know <insert lame excuse here> but soon, I promise!” And then you never finish it. With Dion, there is no ‘too busy’. And I like that.
Many of us dabble in things that we’d find much more satisfying if we would jump in further, but we are afraid of getting out there in deep water and being alone in our endeavor. With a partner, you’ll never swim alone and you’ll always have a teammate watching for big waves. (too cheezy a pun?) 🙂 When it comes to me and Dion, nothing’s too “cheesy” and having fun while working towards combined goals definitely boosts my productivity!
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Carrie Aulenbacher is the author of the debut romance novel, ‘The Early Bird Café’, on special Valentine’s Day sale now at Amazon. For more on her writing, visit www.carrieaulenbacher.com. For a FREE chapter of her novel, sign up for her newsletter, ‘The Creative Insider’ to get monthly tips on indie publishing and marketing strategies (http://eepurl.com/3FcLv).
Her accountability partner, fellow author, Dion E. Cheese, is the author of ‘Who Am I? – The Chronicles of Cain’ available through Amazon. He runs the online magazine, www.iUrban.org, which showcases author interviews, book reviews, informative articles and contests.