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Relationships in Writing: You Be the Judge


When does your writing really matter? This type of writing can include business plans, grant proposals, manuscripts for magazines and other commercial media, and specialized/technical reports. Writing of this nature involves not just writing about your area of expertise. It involves writing to get money…someone else's money. It is writing that gets judged.


It's sad that so many times, just when it matters the most, so many writers do not succeed at this type of writing.

They fail because the writer has forgotten one key requirement: know your audience. Writers are used to thinking big: "My audience is this demographic." or "My audience buys this kind of juice." or "My audience plays this kind of sport". This is a valid way of thinking until it stops working. And here is where that kind of thinking stops working.

For this type of writing, there are no more than five people in the audience.

  • Who is the real audience for your business plan? The loan officer, perhaps a few of his/her assistants and his immediate superior.
  • Who is the real audience for your grant proposal? The grant reviewer, perhaps a second reviewer or a third.
  • Who is the real audience for your media submission? The editor of the publication and perhaps that editor's immediate superior.
  • Who is the real audience for your technical report? Did you say a technical reviewer and perhaps his/her immediate superior? Good, you're catching on!

Put yourself in the shoes of your judge: the banker, the grant or technical reviewer, the editor. Get to know them. Think of them as you write your writing that really matters.

This is straight forward for the banker who will be going over your business plan. Sit down with them and ask them what they want to see. Most of the bankers I've talked to want to know about you just as much as you need to know about them. So, make a date.

The other types of audience are tougher. Your writing that really matters gets subjected to what is known as an "anonymous review". You may never know who judged you.

But you can know about them.

  • Yes, they do not have to write. But, they do have to judge you based on what you write. That's stressful. It hurts to be judgemental.
  • You may have written one or a few types of writing that really matters. They have to judge several tens, if not hundreds, of writing that really matters on a regular and ongoing basis. That's stressful.
  • They have very short timelines. Their jobs likely involve doing a lot more than just judging writing that really matters. Fitting in this additional task is stressful.
  • It's common to hear someone being thanked for helping others succeed. No one ever thanks the judge who rejects someone. That makes the judge's job very stressful indeed.
  • They are very much like you. They have family obligations, mortgages, car payments, pending bills to pay, perhaps a balance on their credit card…and they're tired most of the time.

With that background, imagine now that your judge has just read, reviewed, and made a judgement on 25 people who have submitted writing that really matters. It is 20 minutes before it is time to leave work, pick up the kids from grandma’s house, get some shopping done, make dinner…oops, the car is being repaired…but, before all that your judge just has to review your writing that really matters. How does he feel about that?

So, here is a tip for the next time you are writing.

Spend some time considering how to make your document as comfortable and inviting to your judge as it can be.

About the Author:

Rob Hodgins is a writer who knows about the relationships between people.  He is an exceptional editor as well and shares his brand of humour, wisdom and expertise on his website.  Check him out at www.hodginswriter.net or on Facebook .


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  • Rob Hodgins January 17, 2012, 3:09 pm

    Thank you so much for allowing me to be a guest on your blogsite. The idea that writing is a relationship isn’t often something that people consider when “putting pen to page”. I’m glad that you gave me the opportunity to show how it can thought of as a relationship.

    • Sherie January 17, 2012, 3:30 pm

      Rob, thank you so much for doing this awesome post! Yes, people don’t often consider that writing IS a relationship and you have done an admirable job of explaining it! Thank you again for your wonderful contribution to the blog! : D