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How a Writing Accountability Partner Can Positively Impact You

By Angelica Ribeiro, PhD

Do you have a writing accountability partner? If not, you should consider having one. A writing partner can help you more than simply holding you accountable for your writing. Here’s what they can also do.

According to Shawn Achor, author of Big Potential, not only are social connections the best predictor of happiness, but they are also one of the greatest predictors of success. One reason for that is the fact that social support can positively impact your perception of challenges. Like physical fitness, age, and being physically refreshed, social connections can influence your visual perception of the physical environment. Professor of Experimental Social Psychology at the University of Cambridge Simone Schnall and colleagues found that when people looked at a hill in the company of a friend, they estimated the hill to be ten to twenty percent less steep than the people who did the same alone. The same result was true even when the friend stood silently about three feet away, facing the other direction. This shows that resources such as social support can impact how you perceive obstacles and challenges.

Similar to the way you view pain and fatigue, the lack of social support makes you change your perception of the physical world and challenges. That is because your brain gets fatigued thinking that you have to face the difficulty alone. As a result, you run out of helpful resources, increasing your negativity and feelings of stress. But when you connect to other people and know you don’t have to go through the challenges by yourself, you fuel your brain with the resources needed to face the obstacles and solve the problems.

Here’s an example to illustrate how I use social support as a resource to overcome challenging situations: Every week, Nilsa, who is my accountability partner, and I meet to work on our projects. Even though our projects are about different topics, whenever I have writing issues or obstacles, I see them as challenges I can handle. Simply knowing that I can count on Nilsa, my brain provides me with resources, such as believing in myself, to face the difficulties. As my writing accountability partner, Nilsa helps me see the hill twenty percent less steep.

Having social support as a resource can positively impact how you perceive obstacles and challenges. It is easier to face them when you know you don’t have to go through them alone; you are connected to other people.

Angelica Ribeiro

Angelica Ribeiro is a writer, researcher, and professor. She is the author of How to Create Happiness at Work, Running into Happiness, and My Happiness Habit Journal. She holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a focus on English as a second language from Texas A&M University. She has taught English learners and preservice teachers in the United States and Brazil for over 25 years. Angelica has several publications on second language acquisition. She works as a professor in higher education and helps others benefit from her happiness research. When she was a Ph.D. student, Angelica struggled with balancing her academic commitments and personal life, which motivated her to embark on a journey to increase happiness. Her journey was so successful that now she encourages others to create happiness in their busy lives by sharing science-based strategies. Visit

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