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Crafting an Accountability Practice

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I started teaching Crafting Your Artistic Handbook last week and I’m so happy with the group of artists who’ve opted into this class. They’re all so incredibly talented, smart, and excited to put the work into their artwork. They even indulged me in a class photo last week. Look at all our smiling faces!

This week, we focused on different modes of accountability — a theme that could really take over the entire six week series if we let it. I brought in four different accountability structures that I’ve tried over the course of my career: two that I’ve abandoned and two that I am currently using. The list (and the links!) are below.

I look at accountability processes as a way to figure out what kind of an artist I am. Do I need an outside deadline in order to get my work done? Do I need someone checking in on me? Or am I happy being my own accountability partner, comparing myself only to myself — setting my own deadlines and celebrating my own accomplishments?

The answer is complicated: it depends. It depends on what project I’m focusing my energy on, where I am in my life, what city I’m living in, how confident I’m feeling about my ability to accomplish the project, and how little I want to talk about my work outside of my work hours.

Right now, I’m utilizing a ton of internal accountability simply because it feels right. It feels right for me at this moment in my life, in my career, and in my creative practice. I’m practicing daily Productivity Journaling (thank you for creating this system, Esme Wang!) and on the days I’m writing, I’m indulging in 500 Words a Day (thank you, Katie Heaney!) From 2014 to 2018, having an accountability partner was what felt right. And for a brief period in my life, I thought Personal Inventory Days or Morning Pages or some other practice was going to keep me motivated and creative.

My point is, it’s all about finding what’s right for you. It’s all about developing and maintaining practices that make you feel good about what you’ve accomplished — practices that turn your dream projects into reality projects. Maybe that means identifying someone to be your artistic “coworker,” checking in with them at the metaphorical water cooler. Maybe that means only checking in with yourself until you’ve finished the first draft or the first outline or the first step of your major project. Maybe it’s something in between. The point is, there’s no right way to practice accountability. The right way is whatever way makes you feel good.

Enrollment for the online version of Crafting Your Artistic Handbook is now open and I would love it if you could join us! Classes begin July 8 and meet on Monday evenings from 7PM to 8:30PM EST, where we’ll be diving into accountability practices, setting ourselves up for success, and so much more. Register for the class today!