Discovering Your Strengths and Weaknesses in Writing

In writing, as in everything, we all have our strong and weak points. The key is focusing on your strong points when you doubt yourself, and to allow your strong points to help guide the work you do. Discovering your strong points can help you discover your niche (or niches, as some of us have more than one) and find where you create your best work.

Your weak points, on the other hand, are not something to bring you down. They are the guidelines for telling you where you need the most practice or research, or sometimes they are the key to keeping you from wasting your time on a project that will never be your best work and your heart really isn’t in.

So what are my strengths and weaknesses? As I grow and work, these change, but for now…

Strength: Emotion

I wasn’t sure what to put here at first. Sometimes it can be difficult to really know what your own personal strengths are when you can’t be on the outside looking in. Rebekah, however, suggested that my strength in writing is conveying emotion. That’s why I’m the poet. (Well, one of many reasons.)

Once I thought about what she said, it did sort of make sense. One of my favorite things in writing verse is grabbing hold of an emotion, of a feeling, and trying to express it in the most beautiful or striking way I can. I enjoy finding new ways to describe things, or old ways that perhaps I can twist into making new again.

I love to chase the stray thoughts most people let go and capture them in verse. These are the pieces I write simply for the sake of holding the moment, without any solid focus or purpose. Things like this untitled piece:

Oh the joys of typing on a quiet, sunlit morn,
when the gentle tap of fingertips 
patters on the keys like rainfall,
thoughts dripping from mind to page,
exhausting the clouds of sleep
to clear the sky for a fresh day
filled with new ideas, 
new observations,
new secrets 
to whisper to the keys 
lined obediently beneath 
your touch.

Weakness: Description

This sounds a bit funny after saying that my strength is conveying emotion, but when it comes to description in novels and sometimes short stories, I fall terribly, horribly short. In fact in the novel I spend every November working on, I have several places that say ‘describe here later’ with just a few of the most important details jotted down.

In my head I often am so focused on the characters that I forget to notice what’s around. And even when I do notice the surroundings, I forget to describe them. Or worse yet, I describe them, but not very well. I am not a grand world-builder. I am very character-centric, for better or worse.

The Conclusion Is… we all have things we do well and not-so-well. We are all unique in what we have to offer, and that is what allows each of us to have a one-of-a-kind voice in our work. What are YOUR strengths and weaknesses?


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