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What Are Friends For?

by Kathy Harris

So, how are those New Year’s resolutions working out for you? We’re one week into 2016. That’s seven days you could have been writing. Six, if you take a day off for Sabbath rest.

In one week – working only 10-20 minutes each day – you could have written several scenes, completed a chapter, or edited thirty pages or more. You could have finalized an outline. Or submitted a query letter.

What have you accomplished?

If you have reached one of these milestones, congratulations! You’re off to a great start. Please leave a comment below and let us know how you succeeded!

But, if you’re one of the rest of us, take heart. There are 359 days remaining in the year. You can still finish a novel by December 31. Maybe even in six months. Wouldn’t it feel great to pitch your work-in-progress at the ACFW conference this year (August 25-28 in Nashville)?

Maybe you need an extra dose of motivation. We all need that occasionally – sometimes daily – depending on the circumstances. Maybe you need an accountability partner.

An accountability partner doesn’t have to be another writer, although writers can also help us when a plot needs fixing or a character becomes unruly. One of my accountability partners last year had dreams of launching a speaking career. In a heart-to-heart conversation at lunch one day we shared our goals. Hers was to snag her first speaking engagement. Mine was to finish my manuscript. For months, whenever we saw each other and often by phone or email, we would ask the question. “What have you done this week to further your goal?” Then we would share an encouraging word, an idea, or a suggestion.

When looking for an accountability partner, you’ll want to find someone who will badger you gently. (One reason spouses aren’t always the best choice.) A co-worker or a church friend can become an accountability partner.

You need someone who will hold you responsible, challenge you, and prod you along the way to success. Someone to lend a patient ear when you rattle off a list of excuses explaining why you haven’t been writing.

Then they’ll smile and say something like:

“I’m sure you’re tired when you get home from work, but…”

Or, “I know you enjoy watching that television show, but…”

Or, “I agree, it’s nice to sleep an extra hour on weekends, but I thought you wanted to be a writer – and don’t writers write?”

Yes. That’s the kind of accountability partner I want. The kind I need. Someone to remind me how good it will feel to type THE END or send off that proposal. Someone who believes ‘if God called me to it, He’ll help me through it.’ Someone who will lovingly hold my feet to the fire and encourage me.

After all, isn’t that what friends are for?

If you’re looking for an accountability partner, post a comment on the ACFW loop. Connect. Encourage. Challenge each other. That’s what ACFW is for.

Kathy Harris headshot 2015Kathy Harris is a women’s fiction/romantic suspense author by way of a divine detour into the Nashville entertainment business. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency. Read Kathy’s blog or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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6 Responses to What Are Friends For?

  1. Great post! I actually have finished the first draft of my WIP and have started polishing. But it really had more to do with a January 18 deadline than a New Year’s resolution. 🙂

  2. Rick Barry says:

    Thanks for the good reminders, Kathy. Time is like a river that constantly flows. We either use it or lose it. Some day I want to hear the full story of your divine tour through Nashville entertainment! Blessings to you!

  3. Kathy Cassel says:

    I am revising a manuscript that an editor asked to see.

  4. Kathy Harris says:

    Yes, it’s amazing what deadlines can do 🙂 Congrats, Patricia!

  5. Kathy Harris says:

    Thanks, Rick. Maybe I’ll see you at ACFW in August! Those of us who live in Nashville are excited to be “hosting” it this year.

  6. Kathy Harris says:

    Kathy, I think the interest of an editor or agent is perhaps the greatest of all motivators. Congrats and best wishes!.