Judging Writers: Getting It Done

image of a gavelWriters who prefer judgment like to start projects early, work at a steady pace, and finish before the deadline. When unexpected developments threaten the schedule, they can have trouble adapting. How can judging writers honor their need to plan, while remaining open to new ideas that arise?

In an earlier post, I wrote about the importance of following your natural tendencies when writing a first draft. Then, during the editing process, you can go back and fill in the elements you missed.

Natural tendencies of judging writers

People who prefer judgment are decisive. They tend to be orderly in their approach, preparing a mental map of how they expect events to unfold. Uncertainty and surprises leave them unsettled.

Precise and consistent, judging types strive to be right. With a goal of finishing projects, they prefer to devise solutions, wrap up loose ends, and move on.

Judging writers begin a project by writing down their initial thoughts. Narrowing their topic early helps limit the scope of their work. Their early drafts are skeletal, and revision focuses on fleshing out ideas.

Interim milestones help keep judging types on track. These writers pad the schedule and make contingency plans, working steadily toward their goal. Since they prefer to work on one project at a time, they’re often eager to finish one so they can begin another.

As they mature, judging writers learn to schedule time for flexibility. The pre-writing phase becomes an opportunity to reread material, discuss it with others, and conduct more research. When revising their draft, they elaborate on their points and soften their statements to sound less didactic

Filling the gaps

If you’re a judging writer, chances are, you have a clear idea of how things ought to be. So you may not feel a strong drive to conduct research. Larry Kunz suggests that judging types include the research step as a milestone in the schedule, to ensure that it isn’t overlooked.

Stay curious. Avoid narrowing your subject too soon. Don’t let preconceived ideas limit you, and don’t resist new ideas that require you to circle back to part of the project you thought was complete. Include any important new information that arises, even if it means you have to readjust your schedule.

If working with a group, try to stay flexible if other members of the team want to take a different approach. Choose your battles wisely. Also, take time out for fun activities. Your best ideas may come while you’re going for a walk or working in the garden. Spend time away to gain a new perspective. You’ll feel refreshed and be even more productive

If you’re feeling blocked, think of Franz Kafka: over his desk, he had the word, “Wait.” Don’t write before you’re ready. Give your ideas a chance to develop. You may be surprised at how they mature over time.

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