We probably all know what our everyday values are. But do you know what your writing values are? Some of us might never have thought about them, simply just writing when we can. But not thinking about them could be quite an expensive mistake. The reality is that we need to care about them.
By caring about them we should have better results. Do you want to look back and think of a job well done, where your writing values are listened to, or of them being ignored? Caring about your writing values will hopefully make it much more likely that we put them into practice.
This week I read Steven Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People again. He talks about several areas which should apply to our writing lives.
If we want to be an effective writer then we need to really live it. By that I mean that we need to get right into the zone and produce quality writing on a regular basis. You should know what quality writing is. But if you don’t, then your editor, peers, readers and mentors will certainly be able to tell you if they like what you write, and if it is of an acceptable standard.
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,Steven Covey says that –
‘…living it primarily a function of our independent will,
our self-discipline, our integrity, and commitment –
not to short-term goals and schedules or to the impulse
of the moment, but to the correct principles and our
own deepest value, which give meaning and context
to our goals, our schedules, and our lives
So, to live it we need to be disciplined and remind ourselves what are writing values are. Maybe even stick a note above our desk or beside our computers / on our notebooks which states what our values are. Many of us just need to make small changes like this to be more disciplined writers..
Respect yourself enough to keep the commitment that you make to your writing
I had never really thought about it before, but if we respect the writer in us then we must adhere to any commitment or promise that we make to ourselves in relation to our writing. If we promise to write for an hour each day then that is exactly what we should do, even if it means getting up at 4 a.m.
Respecting the writer part of ourselves is paramount for our success. We can also do this by getting enough rest, taking regular exercise and eating well.
Do you ever listen to what you are saying to yourself about your writing? I mean really hear what you are telling yourself.
When we listen to ourselves we need to respect our thoughts and what they tell us. If we were listening to what someone else had to say about their writing we would probably be very attentive and try to really digest what they were saying; Also learning from it in any way that we could.
But we don’t always really listen to ourselves. Sometimes we skim over our own needs and thoughts so the writer in us gets ignored or is pushed to the bottom of the list. We need to ask ourselves if we are being fair to our inner writer? Or do we need to listen to them more?
So, starting today, set aside time each day to do just that, and move the needs our our inner writer way up that list.
Accountability is so important in so many areas of our lives. But if we want to be an effective writer then it is also important to be accountable to ourselves for our writing too.
Being accountable for our writing means justifying to ourselves why, when, and how we either will, or have done something.
Do you ever sit down at the end of each day or week and justify your actions in relation to your writing? If so, do you make excuses for why you haven’t written or reached your targets? Do you commend yourself for a job well done when you have achieved your word count or stuck to your plan?
Writers who aren’t employed to complete a job need to be very sure about remaining accountable in relation to their writing. They need to check in with themselves just like they would if they were accountable to someone else for it. To take it seriously.
Put regular time aside to do this, and to look at where you need to change your actions to adhere to your writing values.
Know and evaluate what the consequences will be for your writing
Evaluation is not a word that we always think about unless we are at work. But it definitely relates to our writing too because there are consequences of not adhering to our writing values.
To be able to evaluate if our writing values are being adhered to we firstly need to know what they are.
So, if you are not quite sure about what they are, now is a good time to write them down and look at them on a regular basis.