Full disclosure. We have not read the book but we did find this summary of Covey’s seven steps. We attended a meeting recently where the presenter seemed to be tying these seven steps into the craft of writing and publishing in order to create a writing, editing and publishing platform. We’re not sure the presenter succeeded.
So we’ll take a stab. Of course, you’ll only get one side here, but, hey , it’s our dime and our time.
1) Be Proactive
Covey: As human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. We have the independent will to make our own choices and decisions, and the responsibility to make the right choices. You have the freedom to choose your own fate and path, so having the independent will, imagination and self-awareness to make the right move makes you a proactive, and not a reactive, person.
Writing: Write what you know. Write what you believe.
2) Begin With The End In Mind
Covey: Mental visualization is extremely important. Covey says that all things are created twice: first, the mental conceptualization and visualization and a second physical, actual creation. Becoming your own creator means to plan and visualize what you’re going to do and what you’re setting out to accomplish and then go out and creating it. Identifying your personal statement and your principles will help.
Writing: Are you a writer of fiction, non-fiction, essays, ghosting, journalist, whatever. You define yourself and others will believe you are that. How do you want them to see you? That’s the end in mind. What’s your legacy? You decide.
3) Put First Things First
Covey: With your power of independent will, you can create the ending you want to have. Part of that comes with effective time management, starting with matters of importance. Then tasks should be completed based on urgency after you deal with all the important matters. If you deal with crises, pressing problems and deadline-driven projects first, your life will be a lot easier.
Writing: Write every day. Set your self a word count for each day. Set a deadline and set a time in the future when you will have a first draft of 30,000 words.
4) Think Win/Win
Covey: If you believe in a better way to accomplish goals that’s mutually beneficial to all sides, that’s a win/win situation. “All parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan,” Covey wrote. “One person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others.” If you have integrity and maturity, there’s no reason win/win situations can’t happen all the time.
Writing: We have recently joined a writing critique group which we write about is the previous post. A select group of writers who are honest, open and trusting can be a powerful sounding board and advisory team. You have to bare your soul (your writing) but better here than with strangers.
5) Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
Covey: If you’re a good listener and you take the time to understand a concept, it will help you convey your opinions, plans and goals to others. It starts with communication and strong listening skills, followed by diagnosing the situation and then communicating your solution to others.
Writing: We would add “reader” to good listener and practicing the skills that provide positive feedback to someone about their writing. We mean that it’s important to be kind and considerate when offering feedback about someone’s writing. Writing is personal.
Covey: Synergistic communication, according to Covey, is “opening your mind and heart to new possibilities, new alternatives, new options.” This applies to the classroom, the business world and wherever you could apply openness and communication. It’s all about building cooperation and trust.
Writing: One further benefit of having a critique group is readers of your work may see new meaning, new themes that you, who is so close to the work, would never see or if you did see them dismiss them because it means more work. The old adage about killing off your darlings.
7) Sharpen The Saw
Sometimes you’re working so hard on the other six habits that you forget about re-energizing and renewing yourself to sharpen yourself for the tasks in front of you. Some sharpening techniques include exercise and nutrition, reading, planning and writing, service and empathy and commitment, study and meditation.
Writing: True enough.