This how-to effect-personal-change book has been around for a while; I suspect it may have been required reading in one of Youngest Junior Hall’s college business courses. But the more I read, the more I could see application in my writer’s life.
Before Covey gets to the seven habits, he discusses the growth from dependence to independence to interdependence. Dependence begins with the “you”, as in you take care of me; independence moves on to “I”, as in I am responsible or I can take care of it. And lastly, there is the “we” of interdependence: working together, we can achieve the greatest success.
I think most writers would assume independence is the ideal paradigm for this profession, but I think interdependence might be a better goal. But first, I think a writer might need to know where they stand. So here are a few questions that came to me but you might think of others. Ask and answer honestly to see where you stand.
You May Be A Dependent Writer If…
Do I ask for help on every step in the process and wait for advice before writing anything?
Do I make every revision suggestion even when I don’t agree with the feedback?
Am I secretly relieved when a critique partner or editor just does the rewrites for me?
Do I blame friends, critique partners, or editors when a project fails?
Do I need constant validation to keep me going when I face failures?
You May Be An Independent Writer If…
Do I work because I’m driven to write but occasionally resent the demands I’ve put on myself?
Do I weigh feedback judiciously but often forge ahead because there’s no time to wait for critique?
Am I annoyed or even insulted if a writing partner or editor changes my words?
Do I recognize my part when there’s a problem in my writing?
Do I feel as if I would succeed on my own, though I appreciate my writing tribe?
You May Be An Interdependent Writer If…
Do I enjoy writing most of the time and have a clear idea of what success means to me?
Do I consider any feedback, knowing that all individuals have their strengths in critique?
Do I give credit to those who’ve helped me along the way, either publicly or privately?
Do I recognize that my success is a collaborative process, from the writing to the selling to the marketing?
Do I feel as if I wouldn’t be where I am now without the talents and skills of other people?
I’d like to think that I’m that Interdependent Writer but I know I have a little work to do before I get there. And I’m thinking that maybe one of those seven habits might help me, so it’s back to Stephen R. Covey’s book for me—which, thank goodness, I’ve managed to keep away from the waves!
(And how about you? What do you think about dependence, independence, and interdependence as it pertains to writing? Agree or disagree, I’d love to hear your thoughts!)
~Cathy C. Hall