Accountability. My instinct says it’s massively important in getting anything done. In lots of other circumstances in my life, being accountable to somebody else means that I show up and I do what’s necessary.
But my creative work doesn’t matter to anybody else but me. That’s not being self-deprecating, it’s just the way it is. Even if I were another Beethoven or Shakespeare, the world just doesn’t care at this stage. It won’t miss what it’s never had. If I continue not completing work and not putting it out there, nobody will ever be the wiser and the world will continue to turn.
In other areas of my life where I am accountable to other people, if I don’t do what I say I’m going to, it has an impact. Not following through or honouring my commitments hurts or inconveniences other people. I don’t like to let people down so I try to make sure that doesn’t happen. However, I’m not accountable to anybody when it comes to creative work and this means two things:
I procrastinate and hesitate in a way I wouldn’t if other people were relying on me to get it done.
I put pretty much everything else ahead of this work because nearly everything else in my life matters more to somebody else at the moment.
What I do know is this: If I don’t start to prioritise doing the things that are most important to me then they will never get done.
But I also know is this: Despite the above, as long as I remain unaccountable for doing those things, they will never get done.
That need for accountability is a big part of the reason behind this blog. Whilst it might be true that nobody cares whether I actually do the work or not, the fact that I know that there is a public record of what I’m doing and that people could find out that I’m not following through on my goals is terrifying. I’m betting that the fear of people finding out I’m not walking the walk is going to be stronger than the fear of creating stuff and sending it out into the world.
Because I just don’t want everyone to think I’m full of shit.
Barry Dallman is a musician, writer and eternal student of the creative process. He is fascinated by the process of personal change and the challenges creative people face in committing to truly meaningful work. He's documenting his own creative struggles in the hopes of inspiring others to pursue what really matters to them.