6 ways to hold yourself accountable to writing

Whether it’s that next blog, article, or email, writing content gets put on the back burner. We know we should be writing, but we find excuses to pass it up. Get a list of startups, visit their blogs, and you’ll find plenty of inconsistency.

I’m the sole-founder of Wriber and I’m freakishly busy. If I don’t write, our blog doesn’t get maintained. All of our articles are original and we don’t outsource.

One of my secrets: I’m very good at holding myself accountable. I make sure that we publish frequently while managing all of our other business priorities.

Here are six ways I hold myself accountable to writing:

1. Make writing a priority.

If you don’t believe content marketing is critical to your role, then you won’t put the necessary effort into writing. You can’t view writing as a task outside your normal job. It has to be something that you own and make time for.

I set aside blocks of time every week to work on my next article. Meetings can’t be scheduled during that time because my Google calendar is blocked off.

2. Set a realistic publishing frequency.

When we set expectations for ourselves that are too high, we’ll always be playing catch up. As soon as we fall behind, we lose motivation and start an uphill battle to turn things around.

The tool for planning your frequency is a content calendar. It provides an action plan for executing your content strategy and locks down dates and times for publishing. I always know where I’m at, and where I’m going.

3. Break large writing tasks down into actionable steps.

Writing content can be overwhelming when the asset has many parts to it. A blog post requires:

  1. Topic selection
  2. Research
  3. Outlining
  4. Drafting
  5. Editing
  6. Publishing

Instead of adding “Write blog post” to your to-do list, write down your next actionable step. This is a tip I use from David Allen’s Getting Things Done time-management method. It works because it’s much easier to hold yourself accountable to smaller commitments.

4. Find an accountability partner.

Ask a co-worker, colleague, or mentor to hold you responsible. Frequent check-ins are necessary because the accountability partner has to make sure you stick to your commitments, while providing honest feedback and encouraging you along the way.

I actually ask my investors to hold me accountable. Every update I provide contains our current publishing frequency.

5. Make promises to your audience.

You don’t want to disappoint your followers, do you? When your audience start expecting content, you’ll feel obligated to deliver.

Our followers know that we publish an article every Thursday morning. We also have a mailing list that notifies subscribers when new content is published. I missed a couple weeks in the summer due to an illness, and started receiving emails asking if my website was broken.

6. Stay motivated.

The benefits of content marketing are rarely realized immediately. It takes 2-6 months on average before you start seeing a return. You just have to keep at it.

I always keep the end goal in mind: a large audience interested in what we’re offering. The big picture should get you excited and make you want to persist!