Should you hire an accountant?

Heads up: I don’t mean a financial accountant.

I have a dozen different projects I would like to work on but I can’t seem to see any of them through. Mostly I cannot muster the inspiration to begin the project. If by any luck I do, I surely if not definitely leave it half-done and never take it to its logical conclusion.

And then I watch these online creators, your stars of YouTube, Instagram and whatnot. They seem to be able to churn out new content every week, if not everyday. How do they do it?!

Does having an audience help you stay consistent?

I am assuming that when you like to create stuff you really can’t stop thinking about potential projects. New projects are always fun to start too. This is why you have memes about “graveyard of abandoned projects” and sites like

You want to build new stuff but if you aren’t showcasing your work there is little motivation or accountability. You can always just give up on the project because no one other than you really cares or is even aware of it. But if you have ten thousand subscribers on social media†… You have to do it for them!

Does your social media follower become your ‘accountant’ then? Someone who ensures that you are seeing your projects through and staying consistent with creating? Sure, they are not your manager, they don’t hold any authoritative power over you. Technically, you could rid yourself of them but it would be quite messy. (“Person with 4M YouTube followers gone AWOL”)

That makes it a symbiotic relationship in a way. What do the followers get out of it? Joy, entertainment, knowledge? It’s usually one of these three.

I am aware of the whole idea of doing something for your own sake. Let’s be honest though, how often does that work? Just take a look at your new year’s resolutions.

I really do feel that there is some merit to this argument. There’s probably some research supporting it too. And with N=1, I am seeing it work with me too. A little bit. It isn’t significant. I don’t have too many followers. All my followers are people I know in life outside the digital medium which makes it easy to disregard them.

Perhaps this argument holds only if you have a significant number of unknown followers? That does sound plausible.

Using my future self as an accountability partner has worked for me though. As Tim Urban said, “It’s always been a dream of mine to have done a TED Talk in the past.” I too have dreams of having written a bunch of articles, stories and poems. Most days I don’t really care for future me. But every now and then I warm up to the guy and end up writing a bit – for him.

I mean, that’s really the only thing keeping this newsletter going.

† I am not considering Patreon subscribers here because I feel adding a financial transaction to this relationship makes it your job job. And the motivation to create consistently in that case is pretty straightforward.

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Last modified: Apr 11, 2021