Melissa Haines Schneider, Lorraine Haataia, and Virlane Kay at OCT LOFT in Shenzhen China

How Do I Find a Writing Accountability Partner?

A big advantage of being a writer is the freedom to set your own schedule and work on your terms. However, maintaining motivation and discipline to consistently progress on a project can be a significant challenge. That’s where a writing accountability partner can make a world of difference. When you schedule regular meetings with fellow writers to review chapters or blog posts, it serves as a powerful motivator, compelling you to complete your work in time to share it during your sessions.

When I lived in China, I met an expatriate colleague who was embarking on a book-writing journey. This introduction came courtesy of our husbands, Matt and Bob, who were consulting together at Huawei’s Shenzhen office. Melissa Schneider, a blossoming counselor, was fascinated by Chinese perspectives on marriage and decided to write a book on the subject. In 2012, my interest was piqued when I stumbled upon an article highlighting Hong Kong’s surpassing of Okinawa in having the world’s highest percentage of centenarians. This prompted me to start writing articles and blog posts on the topic.

Melissa and I met weekly at a local coffee shop for months, exchanging feedback on her book chapters and my articles for my blog and the Shenzhen expat magazine. I enjoyed her ever-expanding collection of marriage stories. She often had funny quips about language challenges she had when doing interviews through translators. Her tales of people sharing intimate marriage experiences never failed to surprise. Conversely, Melissa enjoyed hearing about my adventures in Hong Kong and Okinawa while researching centenarians. She also appreciated the growing compilation of health tips gleaned from these remarkable individuals.

The Ugly Wife Got Published

Upon the conclusion of Matt’s consulting contract in China, Melissa and her husband returned to New Jersey, where she successfully published her book, The Ugly Wife is a Treasure at Home: True Stories of Love and Marriage in Communist China. From this experience, I inadvertently learned a valuable lesson from Melissa: focusing on one book and seizing the opportunities presented by your circumstances can be wise. While I enjoyed delving into the world of centenarians, I didn’t feel qualified to write a book on the subject, so I continued writing articles. Upon returning to the U.S. with my husband, I had a collection of dated articles in an expat magazine, while Melissa had a book that complemented her career as a relationship coach.

Together, We Accomplished Our Writing Goals

Though Melissa and I haven’t collaborated on another writing project since leaving China, I remain grateful for the time we spent working together. I’m open to the possibility of future collaborations. While I didn’t publish a book, I achieved my initial goal of writing and publishing blog posts and articles.

If you’re looking to accelerate your writing projects, consider finding a writing accountability partner. This collaboration can add structure and consistency to your writing routine, making it easier to overcome creative obstacles. Sharing your writing goals with others introduces a sense of responsibility. Knowing you must present evidence of your progress during meetings can propel your work to new heights. Never underestimate the power of gathering with fellow writers eager to offer support and encouragement.

Melissa Schneider, Author of The Ugly Wife is a Treasure at Home

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