If a coworker interrupts us while we're writing an e-mail message and asks, "What are you doing?" most of us will answer, "Writing an e-mail message." For a coworker, that's an OK answer.
But when we subconsciously ask ourselves what we're doing, our answer shouldn't be "Writing an e-mail message." Instead, our answer should be something like, "I'm trying to persuade this customer to forgive us for the shipping mistake we made."
As we plan, draft, and revise a piece of writing, we shouldn't focus on that piece of writing but on what we want that piece of writing to accomplish for us. So this week, as you plan each writing task, ask yourself,"What effect do I want to have on my reader?" Asking that question will increase the chances that you'll have that effect.