Since my year-end physical filing is done, I started to move digital files into my ’2012 Archive’ folder to keep the files of 2009-2011 company. There I discovered a forgotten folder:
2010 Writing Goals
The intrigue! In the folder are files such as: Writing Plan, Writing Chart, Weekly Writing Plan, Workshop Ideas, and Writing SWOT.
I am a firm believer in SWOT analyses. In marketing, the military, and other industries, a SWOT analysis breaks down your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. (Pam Taylor organized a fun SWOC brunch for Living Poetry a few years ago. She prefers ‘challenge’ in lieu of ‘threat’. ) The goal of the SWOT is to form strategies that will:
- Make you stronger
- Reduce your weaknesses
- Take advantage of opportunities
- Reduce your threats
Instead of including the entire list from my SWOT, I will list two of each: My strengths are in time management (as you will read below) and my most productive times are early morning and late night. My weaknesses are in making cold calls and being spontaneously distracted (Facebook, new client leads, trend updates). My opportunities are teaching more writing workshops and my local network of writers. My threats are expenses and time. Although I’m great at time management, I found I was being turned down for articles because the ideas had already been pitched and accepted from other writers.
The rules that I made for myself:
- No music during work
- Sign out of Facebook. Schedule time.
- Pitch unique ideas immediately.
- Showcase testimonials on website.
- Charge more.
- Contact local schools about continuing ed programs to teach writing classes
I now work in silence or listening to jazz, I taught a class last spring through Wake County School’s Lifelong Learning program, my rates have gone up, and I now have testimonials scrolling around my website.
I took my magazine writing experience and created an editorial calendar for myself. Every month I wrote interesting article ideas, workshop possibilities, and then I updated another chart to reflect a 4-6 month advance plan so that all the prep would be done in time to make each happen.
Now, three years later, I can say the above does work for me. Last year was my highest grossing one ever. Try a SWOT for your own writing business, your personal life, or for your clients!