Archive

Posts Tagged ‘SWOT’

Discovering Yourself as a Writer (4)

April 30, 2008 Leave a comment

This is the fourth and final segment of SWOT  — threats. 

Threats can stem from anywhere.  Threats materialize from environmental conditions, competitors, friends and family, and self. If you can identify threats upfront, most times you will be able to develop strategies to mitigate the threat or turn it around to your advantage.  However, even being proactive, sometimes you cannot see the threat until it is upon you. 

In part I I identified my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and below is the content I considered threats to my writing efforts.

THREATS
Lack of focus. 
Energies too dispersed.
Self confidence
 

Obviously, my threats are my own habits.  Did you wonder where I was the last three days?  As much as I hate to admit it, II suffered from a lack of focus.  My energies were too dispersed.  I did, however, start my short story, but stalled out  because of a minor self-confidence issue. 

I could itinerate my excuses. They haven’t changed in 20 years. I decided not to pontificate about my excuses because they are just plain boring.  You, no doubt, know what I am referring to…the millions of little interruptions that steal away our time and skew our attention from the work we know we should be doing.  So, I wrote what I did during the day and asked the question: How does this task get me one step closer to achieving my goal?  Sadly, very little that I accomplished that day got me any closer to my goal. 

Okay, bottom line is that I am a self saboteur.  I should know better.  I’m on auto pilot. I just did it without thinking. I have to work on changing these behaviors, if I am ever going to write. 

And I look at next week’s busy calendar.  I see one writing activity compared to 10 other must do tasks.  This is a beginning, but I know that I have to step up my game, if I am going to move forward.

 

Discovering Who You Are as a Writer (2)

April 24, 2008 Leave a comment

Tonight we are going to talk about weaknesses. This is part of the SWOT analysis explained in a posting dated 4/19/2008.  The W stands for itinerating your weaknesses.  I know that we all know what we are weak in, but if you write it down, the cumulative picture shifts a bit.  You will see yourself slightly differently and begin to connect these weaknesses with other events in your life.  Since I am sharing, I have listed my weaknesses in regard to my writing goals.  You may realize that these very same weaknesses may appear in other areas of your life as well. 

WEAKNESSES

Need more fiction writing time
Easily distracted by family and responsibilities
Too eager to help others
To-Do List is overwhelming

For a long time I’ve been trying to work this out.  Obviously, I am my own worst enemy.   I have no one to blame but myself.  I look at this weakness list with more clarity.  I don’t want it to be me, but it is me.  I have drifted through life, not paying enough attention.  I compounded these weaknesses with a cardinal error. I kept telling myself that in a couple of years, life will be more settled and I will have time to write. Don’t believe it. It doesn’t work that way. Action, even the smallest amount, consistently performed toward a goal is what yields achievement.

So, here’s what I learned from the list above:

1. I should have set aside time to write consistently. The same spot every day at the same time, even it is for a very short time.

2. I should have learned to say NO on occasion.

3. I should have learned to delegate tasks.

4. I needed to push my writing time to the top of the priority to-do list.

Here’s the hard part. I’m going to have to change my behavior to overcome these weaknesses. This is no small feat. But if I change one thing, maybe it will make a noticeable difference? The next thing I need to do is create an action plan to resolve these weaknesses.

1. I have to ask myself every time a task sits before me: To which of my goals will this task advance along? If it isn’t advancing my writing or the top 4 goals, then I have to ask myself “Can this be done at some other time? Or does it have to be done at all? And if it does need to be completed, can anyone else do it?”

2. I have to talk to my family and win there support verbally. This will make for less problems in the long run, if my new schedule should cause the family stress.

3. I am getting out a grid to schedule what my days are like. Write in colors. The visual cues of daily chore will help move your writing project toward completion. You assign a time to write. The empty space on the grid calls for you to claim writing time. Because this time will be sandwiched between two other engagements, you will make this time very productive.

4. I have many years of unconstructed behaviors. There will be the occasional lapses into being too nice…and you will notice it, because suddenly you have stopped writing.

I will post this now, but I’m thinking that I will also share with you my time schedule, so you will see how I needed to fit writing time in.  A visual calendar is a good way to keep you on track. 

Next we will see what opportunities awaits me. How can I use that to my advantage?

Discovering Who You Are as a Writer (1)

April 22, 2008 Leave a comment

In my last post, I invited everyone to join me as I begin the journey of crafting my writing talent into a business.  I discussed the definition of SWOT in fleshing out my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  We are going to take this information now and see how this information is useful.

STRENGTHS:  Strengths are always easy to work with because they are what we do best.  It is easy to be enthused, proud of your talents.  When you list your strengths in regard to your writing, you will see the talent you have that you have not tapped into yet.  Use those abilities to augment your chances of achievement.  For example: For years I have known that these were my strengths, but I never looked at them as a whole and think…hmmm…if I were counseling someone, what do all these strengths add up to?  What career am I going to be successful based on the list below?

In my case, I see it as a slam dunk.  These traits scream some kind of technical or business writer.  And what does my blog gravitate toward?  The business, more formal side of writing.  

Yet my goal is fiction —to write a novel.  180 degrees opposite of my skill set.  In further analyzing this information, it is obvious that the technical, more formal writing is my sweet spot.  Like the comedian who wants to be a dramatic actor, or the basketball player who wants to play football, human beings want to be what they are not naturally.  I think it is the thrill of the challenge and the adrenalin rush of achievement that drives us. 

And so, tomorrow I will examine my weaknesses and figure out how I can take action to be more efficient and take back some of those squandered hours and write.

Please feel free to share or comment.  Or jump in with a question.

STRENGTHS
Writing ability
Good foundation in research
Computer literate
Good imagination
Marketing skills
Small business management knowledge
Analytical
WEAKNESSES
Need more fiction writing time
Easily distracted by family and responsibilities
Too eager to help others
To-Do List is overwhelming 
OPPORTUNITIES
Opportunity to meet many people where I work
Member of a Writing Group
Contacts at colleges where I attended
Understanding how to use the Internet and viral marketing as a tool
 
THREATS
Lack of focus. 
Energies too dispersed.
Self confidence
 

One Way to Make Novel Writing a Career

April 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Figuring out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) posed may position you to achieve your goal sooner, better or easier.  This is because now you are able to clearly assess where you are and take a more clear cut action plan to get you your results. 

Okay, I know what you are thinking.  Why don’t you just write and see what comes of it?  You can do it that way, but I want to make this a career change.  In order to do that, it is best to have a plan.  If you plan to earn a living as a writer, you need to treat this as a business.  Some people are lucky.  They have contacts.  They are at the right place at the right time.  But if you are like me, I don’t have those contacts.  I live in an area that takes pride in the fact that it is a bio sciences community…(yeah, great backdrop to a novel, but I am not really part of the bio community). 

Above all, more than creating strategy, what will propel you forward is excellent writing with a unique viewpoint/plot.  If it is good, it will eventually find its way to the marketplace.  Good planning strategies can sell average quality novels.  Good planning may catapult excellent writing.  And if you are planning to make this your bread and butter, I’m sure you would much rather get paid now as opposed to having your estate receive your royalties.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I know what I should do, but have not taken the time to implement it in my own life.  So, as I discover who I am, so will you.  Before I create my SWOT for transitioning into a fiction writer, let’s be very clear about my goal.

Goal:  To become a fiction writer by end of the year 2009.

Is this specific?  Yes
Is this measurable?  Yes.  Measurable in the sense that the number of written pages will indicate progress.
Is this attainable?  Yes.  It requires discipline and focus.
Is this realistic:  Yes, because I have the education and have been writing for many years…just not fiction
Is there a time frame:  Yes.  (I need a deadline otherwise I get derailed too easily.  If you are working a full time job, this time frame becomes even more imperative, because your time is limited.)

SWOT

STRENGTHS
Writing ability
Good foundation in research
Computer literate
Good imagination
Marketing skills
Small business management knowledge
Analytical
WEAKNESSES
Need more fiction writing time
Easily distracted by family and responsibilities
Too eager to help others
To-Do List is overwhelming 
OPPORTUNITIES
Opportunity to meet many people where I work
Member of a Writing Group
Contacts at colleges where I attended
Understanding how to use the Internet and viral marketing as a tool
 
THREATS
Lack of focus. 
Energies too dispersed.
Self confidence
 

In the next post I will create an action plan to make the most of my strengths and opportunities and strategies to turn my weaknesses and threats into an advantage.