The Core Values of A Ranchwife’s Slant Column

Monday is the day I’ve designated to sharing about my column writing life—when I think of something worthy and non-boring to share. Over the next five Mondays, I will elaborate on the five core values I established for my weekly column, A Ranchwife’s Slant.

It wasn’t until a year or so after I started writing for publication that I decided I should come up with a focus for my column. There were days I would stare at nothing more than a conglomeration of words on my computer screen. Feeling frustrated by my so-called “draft” that discombobulated even me, I would ask myself out loud, “What the heck am I try to SAY?”

I took my time trying to figure out what I thought I wanted to say to readers in my column and what I felt was most important to me as a columnist. The five core values I came up with are: Connect, Inform, Delight, Entertain, and Expand.

I decided I needed to get my thoughts organized in order to make my column easier to read, understand, and more interesting to readers. I jotted down words that stated what I wanted to convey through my column.

I thought about the readers and my writing goals; who my audience would be and who else might read my column and gain something from it. I considered what’s important to me and what I want to people to know. I pondered what readers want to see in a column and if I could provide that. I also considered the columnists I read, what gets my attention or what I look for, and my reactions to other columns/columnists.

It was hard for me to come up with five core values that expressed what I felt was important. I had the same problem picking the right word because I love so many words and they all have potential to mean something profound!

Narrowing it down to five was hard because there were more than five that I wanted to include and I’m very indecisive over stuff that’s going to be permanent. The words I picked had to encompass the core value that I wanted my column convey.  And, the words had to be good quality ones because I’m also a perfectionist about some things, like my writing.

Some words didn’t make the cut to describe a core value because they basically meant the same thing as another word I’d considered like educate or inform for example. I had to vote on which one best described the core value in mind.  A couple different core values I already had in place but I went through a mulling stage on some of the others.

One of the things I try to do to keep a focus in my writing every time I sit down to draft a column is to write with my five core values in mind. For the next five Mondays I will explain each of my core values in the order I listed them earlier: Connect, Inform, Delight, Entertain, and Expand.

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