Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Why Of Writing

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As a writer, I sometimes find myself battling the enemies of isolation and loneliness associated with the job. Because I work from home, I feel this way often. Feeling restless, I went to a coffee shop. As I worked, I needed to ask the manager some questions about the shop for a chapter of a book I am writing. I came with a notebook and pen in hand ready to take copious notes. I found myself pleasantly surprised by direction the conversation took as I began to talk with others about what my book was about. Once I mentioned it was religious in nature, the conversation turned to the churches in the area. I realized after my encounter that so often I focus on my agenda associated with writing. I often focus on the what instead of focusing on the why of the writing.

Writing is not just words on a page. It is an art form, a medium I use to make a mark on my world. All of the words I interact with everyday shape who I am. The words I use in response, whether spoken or written dictate what permanent mark I make on it. When I focus only on the mechanics of the writing instead of the purpose of it, the words become meaningless.
I had an agenda when I walked into the shop. But God had other plans. He knew the people in that shop needed not only my spoken words more than they needed my written words that day.

Do you get lost in the what of writing rather than on the why of writing? Leave a comment and share!

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When I completed my training to become a day care director,  I asked my boss at my place of employment for my job description as a head teacher so I could see the difference between a head teacher and director role. When confronted with the question, she shook her head. “I’m not sure I have one for you.” Confused, I asked her why she didn’t have one for me. She replied, “I’m not sure there ever was one for you.”

I left her office flabbergasted at the response. I mean, if there was no written explanation of the expectations of my job, how would I know if I was doing my job well, or if I was doing my job at all?

I have worked at many jobs where I was never presented with a clearly written list of expectations. I found myself wandering aimlessly through daily tasks, often creating work for myself when there wasn’t much to do. I often questioned whether what I was doing was enough. Because there was no accountability, it became easier to slack off on my tasks. That always ended with the same result: a lack of passion and focus.

Unfortunately, writing doesn’t come with a job description. The hours are unpredictable, the deadlines are arbitrary and the pay, well, non existent. Because there is no accountability, it is easy to push your writing into the corner while the demands of life take precedence. But what if there was a way  you could treat your writing like a job rather than a hobby?

The first step to regain your focus  is treating your writing like a part time (or full time) job. If you want to make writing your future career, you need to manage your time wisely and  write as if you will be compensated for it in the future (even if you aren’t right now).

Once you have done this, you must set a clear schedule with specific hours,projects and tools to do your job as effectively as possible. One tool most organizations use to evaluate if an employee is fulfilling the expectations of their employer is a job description. Job descriptions help  employers clearly communicate their expectations, and  employees can accurately assess whether or not they can complete the job expected of them.

According to http://www.sba.gov, A job description should be practical, clear and accurate to effectively define your needs. Good job descriptions typically begin with a careful analysis of the important facts about a job such as:

  • Individual tasks involved
  • The methods used to complete the tasks
  • The purpose and responsibilities of the job
  • The relationship of the job to other jobs
  •  Qualifications for the job

I want to challenge you to create a job description for your writing profession. Creating clearly defined boundaries in your writing will help you effectively measure how productive you are being at your writing. This differs from your writing goals in that it is more of a skeleton of the what, when ,where, how and why of your writing. A job description is general, while the goals are much more specific. The goals you set should be based off of what you choose to include in your job description. Think of it this way: the job description is your vision statement, while your goals are the mission statement.

When you create your writing job description, include the following ideas:

  • Individual projects (beginning a blog, writing a non fiction book,etc.)
  • What you hope to accomplish with each completed project (ex. I am beginning a blog for homeschool moms to challenge myself and others on how to balance homeschooling and daily life)
  • The hours you will set aside to accomplish this (I will work from 8:00-10:00 am Monday through Friday)
  • Which character traits, skills, and qualities you can use to get the job accomplished (I am organized, efficient, etc.)
  • How it relates to your other daily responsibilities (this blog will help me set aside specific time to research homeschooling curriculums to use with my children.)

Once that is drafted, write three specific goals on how you will complete it.

Example:

1) I will research three curriculums by April 15th, 2013.

2) I will write a blog post that reviews each curriculum and give my opinion on which one is the best.

3) I will implement the best curriculum into my own homeschooling routine and then write blog posts on the challenges and successes associated with this.

Do you have a job description for your writing? Once you create one, leave a comment and share with us what yours looks like. Let us all learn from each other!

Do You Have A Job Description For Your Writing?