Your Write Path: What's Your SWOT? Ep3.2

Your Write Path: Episode 3, Part 2

WHAT’S YOUR SWOT?

In the previous exercise, we explored your definition of success and what may be holding you back from reaching that success. We looked at the barriers to success you can control, and those you can't, and how you might work around them. The important thing is to keep analyzing, discovering, and moving forward. One step at a time.

That said, it’s always a good idea to examine when we feel good about our writing, and when we don’t feel so great. One way to do that is to be totally honest with ourselves and do a SWOT analysis of our writing skills—or at least how we perceive our writing skills.

What’s SWOT? It’s simple. It’s a quick survey of our writing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. An example of a SWOT analysis by a participant in one of my workshops follows the graphic (used with her permission).

Abby’s Writing SWOT

My Strengths

Competent writer
Lots of ideas
Determined
Publishing track record (but short)
Creative
Open-minded
Lots of ideas and projects started
Hard worker
Motivated
Like to plan

My Weaknesses

Time management
Distractions—family, boss/day job, email
Procrastination
Not confident in grammar skills
Too many projects to juggle, writing and other
Starting projects but not finishing

My Opportunities

Self/Indie publishing is accepted now
Upcoming conference to learn more about craft, industry
Friends who are writers—networks
Leveraging a contest win with an editor

My Threats

Shifting markets
Retail business models
Putting all eggs in one basket
So many publishers closing
Can’t find marketing niche
Confidence in skills
Disorganized and not using my time wisely
My husband


Let’s analyze.
Look over Abby’s SWOT analysis related to her writing. What do you notice about her responses? Are there internal and external barriers to her success listed? Jot your thoughts down in your journal and let’s talk about them.

Abby’s Strengths and Weaknesses

[Write your thoughts now.]


Abby’s Opportunities and Threats

[Write your thoughts now.]


Wow. Yeah.

That last threat is a zinger. One of Abby’s threats is her husband. It’s true that sometimes people in our lives can be a threat. Our loved ones can sabotage our writing (and weight loss too, but that’s a different book!) even if they don’t intend to (but sometimes they do). 

If people in your life are a threat to Your Write Path happiness, figure out how you can tackle the issue(s) without destroying relationship(s). Can you speak frankly about how important your writing is to you? Can you uncover what they perceive as a threat and address it? And can you share how that feels threatening to you and your goals? 

Share your goals for success and what they mean to you. Open communication can often turn attitudes and alleviate fears. This helps to keep relationships healthy and everyone happy.

Of course, if that relationship needs to be severed for other reasons, that's a different story. (This is not the book for that either!)

What else in Abby’s list might hold her back from moving forward? There are several items, but one I’ll focus on here.

Abby writes under Strengths that she has “lots of projects started.” She also says that one of her Weaknesses is “starting projects but not finishing.” Bingo. This may be where Abby has stalled. It’s common to have tons of ideas and get excited about a project. And another one. Then yet another. Seeing those projects to fruition may be an issue for Abby. A file folder full of incomplete projects can mentally hold you back and keep you from moving forward. 

(We will come back to this issue for Abby in the Habits and Processes episodes of this series, too, and further discuss how to systematically address.)

Overall, Abby had a few things to work on, or at least to spend some time thinking about. Sometimes, the sheer fact that we write things down helps us to address the issue.

In the end, after writing her SWOT, Abby decided to address her tendency to procrastinate and not finish projects, and to tackle her disorganization. She did that by segmenting out her time during the day, and dedicating space to work on her projects. We will also discuss this in depth in the Habits & Processes episodes, too.

As to the husband? That problem solved itself—he had an affair; she happily dumped him. A HEA of sorts? That’s for Abby to decide.


Now it’s Your Turn.

Follow the prompts below to do your own SWOT Analysis, writing your results in your journal. Or, you can download a worksheet from my Google Drive at this link: https://bit.ly/MyWPSWOT

Your Turn—Your Writing SWOT

You know what to do. Get writing!


My Strengths

[Jot it down.]

My Weaknesses

[Jot it down.]

My Opportunities

[Jot it down.]

My Threats

[Jot it down.]


My Analysis

What do I feel good about?

[Jot it down.]

What do I need to address?

[Jot it down.]

Anything I need to confront?

[Jot it down.]

Anything to let go of?

[Jot it down.]

Remember: It’s all up to you.

One of the most difficult things for any of us to do is look inward and examine our feelings. I've met many people over the years who say they want to write a book. They have a story to tell, but they don't know how to tell it.

What that means, to me, is not that they don't know how to do it, because they could figure that out if they wanted to, but that they really don't want to write it. Something is holding them back. It could be lack of desire. It could be self-doubt. There is work involved in storytelling and the desire and motivation has to be there foremost.

If you're not willing to do the work—the writing, the research, the learning, the self-reflection—the story will never get told. And maybe it shouldn't.

Up next is the last section in Path-Point 1: What's Important to You?


For more articles on writing, search the hashtags #microworkshop or #writepath within this blog. 




Comments