Zabowska's Blog

January 5, 2010

Are we effective or efficient writers?

Filed under: Uncategorized — zabowska @ 12:23 am

    Many writers work so hard and yet produce very little that is conducive to bring about
   their writing goals.  I know I have struggled with that this past year myself. I found an
   article on the Kristi Holl blog today that is so helpful that I thought I would include it
   as part of my blog. It is at:
   I encourage to visit Kristi Holl for more information on this blog and others as well.
   She is such a wealth of information.
   After reading this piece, decide whether you are an efficient or an effective writer or
   Effective or Efficient
   By Kristi Holl
   January 4th, 2010
   Before making my list of writing goals for 2010, I did some serious evaluating last
   month to try to discover why I had accomplished so much less than I”d hoped in
   2009. I had worked harder and longer hours, doing my best to be efficient.
   Even so, I wasn’t effective in many areas where I had set goals. I either failed totally
   or accomplished just a fraction of what I had intended. Why hadn’t I been effective? I
   was practically the most efficient person I knew!
   They Aren’t the Same!
   Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals.
   Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most
   economical manner possible.
   Most of us work hard to be efficient in our lives just to stay on top of ever-
   lengthening To Do lists. And efficiency is good  when it’s applied to the right
   things, the important things. It’s absolutely useless if it’s not.
   Important vs. Unimportant
   How do you decide which tasks are important to moving toward your writing goals?
   It all depends on what your ultimate goals are. Is your main goal to write books,
   perhaps even make a living at it? Is your writing goal to land a staff position on a big
   city newspaper? Do you want to bring your writing skills up several notches in 2010?
   Once you know your over-all dreams, then look at your To Do list with a more
   critical eye. Which things on the list support your goal? Those are the important jobs.
   Which things  if done later, done quickly, or (gasp!) left undone  wouldn’t affect
   your goals at all? Those are the unimportant tasks.
   Take a Step Back
   Sometimes we are so close to our To Do lists that we can’t see the forest for the trees.
   We don”t see that doing something unimportant really well doesn’t make it
   important. (I’m an excellent email organizer, for example, with all kinds of folders
   and tags and categories. I have the most organized unnecessary and unwanted email
   you ever saw.)
   Also, just because a task would require a lot of time to accomplish doesn’t make it
   important either. (The email query to the editor might take you an hour. Reorganizing
   your writing closet will take four hours. Only querying will get you that coveted
   assignment  making it the most important task nine times out of ten.)
   Effectiveness Trumps Efficiency
   Yes, it’s great to be efficient, but to repeat myself, it’s only helpful when you are
   being effective. For example, if you want to lose the holiday pounds you added,
   which supports your goal the best  efficiently organizing your recipe files or going
   for a power walk?
   If you want to finish your first novel, which action supports your goal  tearing
   articles from your writing magazines to file, or sweating over that first chapter?
   Are You Effective  or Just Busy?
   You want to make the most of your time available. I don’t know what your ‘efficient
   time wasters’ are, but you probably do. I’ll be talking more about this in the weeks
   and months to come as I cast a cold, unrelenting eye on each item on my list  and
   weed out some activities that look good or that “everyone” says you have to do.
   What’s the deciding factor? It’s this: Will it take me closer to my goals in some
   measurable way? Good! If not, it gets pushed to the bottom of the list. I may get to it
   later  or never!


  1. Thanks for the kind comments! I’m glad the article helped you. We’re all struggling with the same issues, I think! 😎

    Comment by Kristi Holl — January 5, 2010 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  2. Hi Kristi,

    I hope the readers of my blog will be able to get a lot of information from it too. I love your articles so much Kristi.

    Thank you so much for all that you do.


    Comment by zabowska — January 5, 2010 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

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