Take Time to Sharpen Your Saw

© 2009 Marylane Wade Koch

Years ago I received some advice that proved invaluable but challenging. I tend to be the always-busy-with-something type. When a friend asked me to attend a professional development workshop, I responded, “Thanks, but I’m too busy right now.” He kindly reminded me, “Sometimes you’ve got to stop and sharpen your saw.”

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steve Covey describes habit #7 as “Sharpen the Saw.” He explains this concept of self-renewal with the analogy of a woodcutter who saws for days but becomes less productive. Because the cutting process dulls the blade, the woodcutter must stop and sharpen his saw to accomplish his goal. Writers build poems, stories, or books using words and thoughts. Like the woodcutter, they need sharp and reliable tools to accomplish their mission.

One of the best ways a writer can sharpen his or her saw is by attending at least one writing workshop or conference each year. At these events, participants spend time away from the stresses of daily life to learn more about their craft while networking with other writers. Sometimes editors and agents present educational sessions and offer private consultations. The investment of time and money in a writing workshop can translate into publishing success.

Check out the diverse workshops and conferences available to writers and pick one (or more) that matches your needs. Below are some websites for locating conferences:

Writers, take time to sharpen your saw. Forget those “I don’t have time” excuses. We all have the same 24 hours each day. Invest in yourself and reap the rewards!

Marylane Wade Koch has over 30 years of experience in writing, editing, speaking, coaching, and consulting. Koch has authored numerous articles and several healthcare books. She is a contributor to publishers such as Elsevier-Mosby, Harcourt Health Sciences, Delmar/Thompson-Cengage, F.A.Davis, Jones and Bartlett, and Salem Press. She is a contributor to the Chicken Soup anthology series. Koch serves as President of Byhalia Christian Writers and conference faculty for American Christian Writers. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Mississippi Writers Guild. She serves as adjunct faculty at the University Of Memphis.


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