By Eleanor Shelton
My Fitbit died last week. It had always been on my wrist (other than showers) for the last year and a half. It held me accountable for moving more, celebrated when I moved a lot more, and actually told me the time. Something is missing that had become part of me.
I feel lighter. Unencumbered. Untethered. Free.
But at the same time, I feel sad. I liked having a partner, even if it was electronic and cared nothing for me as a human, that prodded, reminded, cheered, and scolded. My Fitbit was a little bit like a writer friend who holds me accountable for my writing efforts. I know that person has my best interests at heart, someone who I can’t let down at all costs.
When I got my 10,000 steps in, my Fitbit held a little vibration party on my wrist, complete with banners, a disco ball, and dancing stick figures. When I finish a chapter, an essay, send in my work to a journal or contest, my writer friends may do a little dance, but minus the mirrored disco ball. But the feeling of pleasing them as well as myself feels like a celebratory banner.
My Fitbit was my accountability partner. I periodically write with a small group of other writers. We tell each other what we hope to accomplish in the next hour or two. Then we write. At the end of a sprint, we’re honest about what we get done. Maybe it’s more than we hoped, perhaps it’s less. But we tried. We attempted to fulfill our goals not only for us but for them.
Part motivational speaker, part therapist, part dominatrix, and a dash of mother or father. An accountability partner can be an essential partner in our writing journey. Never to scold, but support and cheer. Like your dog, although dogs don’t make very useful accountability partners, no matter how much they love you.
My Fitbit never told me the number of times I didn’t move enough in an hour, but rather how many hours I succeeded. If I wanted, I could see my accomplishments or lack thereof at the end of the day.
I’m thinking about buying another Fitbit. I miss the slight weight on my wrist that reminded me that I could do more towards my overall health. A writing accountability partner also carries some mental heft. But if we sometimes lack the belief that we can continue along that writing path, the buzz of encouragement maybe what we need to keep moving.