Writing Tip: Do a life SWOT.

Most people are familiar with the Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) tool for work and business-related issues. At a freelance writing workshop of Writers Block Philippines, the SWOT was offered as a tool for empowering the writer in all of us.

As in all other endeavors, it is important to take some time to pause and know the true self. The SWOT helps assess the writer – quirks, ticks, and everything else that could affect his writing life.

For the undecided, especially those contemplating a career in freelance writing, the SWOT gives more insight into whether one is truly ready for the crazy but fulfilling writing life.

Get a piece of paper and take a moment to think before you write down your:


  • What advantages do you have that others don’t have? (specialized skills, education or connections?) 
  • What are your skills and talents? This could be technical, creative, interpersonal, organizational/management, leadership, etc. What are the things you’re really good at? What are the things you can do better than others? 
  • What do other people (and your boss in particular) see as your strengths? 
  • What are the things you enjoy doing? 
  • What would you enjoy doing for FREE?


  •  What are the areas that usually leave you overwhelmed?
  •  What are the things you wish you were good at?
  •  What could you improve?
  •  What should you avoid?
  •  Where do you have fewer resources than others?
  •  What things are the people around you likely to see as weaknesses?
  •  What kinds of tasks/projects would you rather assign to someone else?


  •  What good opportunities are available to you right now? These could be changes in technology, markets and your company; changes in government policy related to your field; changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyles; local events.
  •  What are the interesting trends you are aware of?
  •  How can you turn your strengths into opportunities?


  •  What are your insecurities and fears?
  •  What obstacles do you face?
  •  Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing?
  •  Is changing technology threatening your position?
  •  Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten you?

Based on this SWOT exercise, what opportunities do you see for yourself?

Are you ready to write? Or will you be more successful in another career?

(Learned from Writer’s Block Philippines. For workshop schedules and other useful resources for writers, please visit WBP’s website.)


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