The year is halfway over -- so how are you doing in your writing life? This is a question every employee of every company must answer, and if you are a writer who is taking your work seriously, I think this requirement should extend to your writing life, as well.
If you are NOT taking your work seriously, that is so fine. Writing is a wonderful, malleable, creative tool that can be used in a vast variety of ways – from giving you understanding and insight into your own thoughts and behaviors to helping you sort out a difficult period in your life to serving as an escape from the crazy world (and/or the crazy people), to simply being a good way to spend an afternoon. If these are things writing is giving you, embrace them and be glad!
But if you are intent on writing a book that you would like strangers to engage with – if, in other words, you want to publish – then you have a writing career, and even if it’s just a side hustle, and even if you are only attending to that career for the 30 minutes you steal in the morning or at night, you need to occasionally step back and give yourself a performance review.
The benefit is that if you assess yourself and determine that you are not doing a good job, you can resolve to do a better job, with actionable, measurable, changes to your habits, skills, support, or mindset.
I started thinking about the idea of a performance review for writers because I recently had to fire a client – which is the most agonizing horrible, no-good awful part of my work, but at times a necessary one. Life is too short to spend my energy trying to convince someone they need help or trying to help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves.
So what exactly did this client do?
A lot of things – which I realize is monumentally unhelpful, and so I created a Writer’s Performance Review template to illustrate some of what went into my calculations. I didn’t actually fill out this template because I already knew this writer wasn't making the grade in key categories, but you can use it to assess your own performance and see how you are doing.
Be honest, and if you find that you are lacking in certain areas and could stand to shore them up, think about what you might do to improve the areas where you are falling short of your ideal.