When it comes to work (and writing falls under that category), there are two schools of thought on how to get the most outcome for your effort, or as some people say, the most bang for your buck. Some people talk about being efficient, and some people talk about being effective. Just from the title of this blog, you can tell which school of thought I’m from…
Being efficient, in my head at least, is maximizing a closed system of effort. Meaning, taking a process or a technique and refining and improving it until it can churn out as much as possible without breaking down. This is excellent when you’re dealing with things. Google Calendar is one of the most efficient things in the entire universe, and that’s ok. Things don’t have feelings, and they don’t care that you’re shamelessly using them. The problem is when you start throwing people into this great system you’ve perfected. People don’t like fitting into neat little plans, for one, and they especially don’t like being used for your own ends. You may think you’ve hit upon the greatest plan since sliced bread and if everyone would just do what you tell them everything will be perfect, but most people are going to strenuously disagree.
Learning the art of effectiveness, on the other hand, allows and even encourages other human beings to come in and mess with your system, because it recognizes the amazing potential every person has to inject life and verve into what you do! Effectiveness, instead of reducing others to objects to be used and manipulated, is working with other people to set off massive ripple effects throughout the world! The effective person knows how to be efficient, but more importantly knows when to turn off the efficiency and turn on genuineness. On the other hand, the person only focused on efficiency begins to run into stone walls of their own making as others push back against the efficient system.
As writers, we move in a vast sea of humanity. We seek to influence and change a human audience, we deal with human partners, and we think about human dilemmas. Agents, business’s, audiences, other writers, are all people and efficiency only gets so far before it begins to alienate them all. Effectiveness values those same people and honors the unique platform only they have to spread the word about you and the ideas you write about.
We need to strive to be the most effective writers, not the most efficient. It’s only the effective writers, the men and women who reached the largest audience, who touched the most lives, and who worked with the most people, that see their ideas and work endure. People respond to effectiveness!
Have a question on how to be more effective? Or a tip on how to go from efficient mode to being effective? Post a comment and share!