The Role of Accountability on the Creative Journey
Whether you believe it or not we all need accountability in our lives, especially in the creative life. Without accountability the motivation to do anything is easy to lose. Now, you may be thinking that accountability is all well and good for lifestyle changes like the gym or eating habits, homework or deadlines at work. However, creativity, making the conscious choice to live creatively and give to your creative life consistently is a huge lifestyle change that many of us struggle with, especially because many of the traditional creative routes are isolating and self determined.
Accountability is something I, personally, have always struggled with. That is, I don’t like accountability training. Having worked with and studied accountability coaching and training as a personal trainer it was always a source of external motivation, of someone else checking in to make sure you were sticking to your routine, which in theory is great and in practice does work. But, being more of an internal person, accountability always felt like an external validation process; someone else’s opinion taking on the role of judge over your self discipline. Intellectually I know that accountability partners and coaching are a way to develop your self discipline for a new lifestyle practice. In reality I despise the external pressure and what feels like judgement and monitoring.
Through this creative journey of the blog and the instagram page and my writing, I have come to value the role of accountability both as an external partnership of support and an internal guidance system to help you reach your creative consistency and eventually, your big picture goals.
Sources of External Accountability:
Partners/Communities: Having external support systems are key to any lifestyle change. When the path forward is hidden from view as when carving a path through creativity, support of those in the same world is so valuable, especially when we are first finding our feet. If you and a friend or mentor are venturing on this journey together, forming an accountability partnership is a great way to begin feeling out a structure to a consistent practice.
Verbalization: Whether it's a project or a creative change, verbalizing your intention to commit yourself to your creativity to someone you trust, family, friends or a person from your creative community, is a great way to invite accountability into your practice. Even if you simply say it to yourself or your pet, speaking your intention out loud is an affirming act that makes you accountable to your journey.
Coaching: If you need more than a casual conversation or self affirmations to feel accountability encouraging you forward, there are accountability coaches and courses that are designed to help you work through your journey. Knowing there is a set expectation, devised and paced by you, allows you to manage your time and energy more efficiently to stay on track and break the cycle of overworking, underworking, burnout and betrayal many creatives face when trying to find a creative life that works for them.
Acts of Preparation: These are small ways you can prepare yourself to follow through with a new routine or focus. For example, each day I put mascara on in preparation to follow through with my nightly skin ritual. Another act of preparation might be making a cup of tea while you set up your writing for the evening or the way you organize your desk before planning a meeting. These acts of preparation are tools and checkpoints you make and use for yourself to be held accountable to following through on your creativity, or any new lifestyle change.
Setting Goals: From macro to micro goals these are pinpoints in your plan forward from the minute details of the how to the larger concept goals of what you want for your creativity. Creating these steppings stones keeps you on your path and to a self imposed deadline, one that holds you accountable to your plans and your goals.
Consistency in Practice: There is no key to holding yourself accountable. But perhaps, keeping to a consistent practice is a way to put accountability directly into your creative practice. The more consistent you become in your creativity the better you become at being accountable to yourself and your desire to create. Consistency is the proof that accountability is working in your practice.