Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Run Toward Weakness #IWSG
Welcome, Insecure Writers! If you want to join the Insecure Writers Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, click over here and join. Now we're all legit and stuff with a website and Facebook page.
This month I'd like to talk about weaknesses. All writers have them, yes? Whether it's plotting, characterization, time management, or finishing a project—we all struggle with something.
My Super Supportive Hubby, a firefighter—and the bravest man I know—recently graduated from a strenuous leadership class. He was totally inspired by a retired chief who spoke during the class. This chief is a man my hubby has known for maybe 20 years. He's a well-respected guy with a trail of successes during his time on the job.
This chief admitted his weaknesses to the class: spelling, writing, and reading. My hubby's ears perked up; he could relate. Hubby never had a clue that this successful chief had similar doubts and insecurities. Yes, the chief had struggled with spelling his whole life—still struggled with it—but he said, "I've learned to run toward my weaknesses, not away from them."
It reminded me that we should run toward our writing weaknesses—not shy away from them or fear them.
My writing weaknesses? How much time do you have? I'm thankful that I recognize these weaknesses, and focus my learning time toward improving my skills. For instance, I read "The Fire in Fiction," by Donald Maass. The exercises at the end of each chapter are worth the price of the book.
Recognizing a weakness can sometimes be discouraging, especially after I've read a book with killer pacing and jump-off-the-page characters. But recognizing a weakness is a blessing. It's the first step to running toward it, and turning a weakness into a strength.
Some cool quotes to ponder:
"Our strength grows out of weaknesses." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The greatest weakness of all is the great fear of appearing weak." — Jacques Benigne Bossuel
"Growth begins when we begin to accept our own weakness." — Jean Vanier
What are your writing weaknesses? Do you turn from them or run toward them? Please share!
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My greatest writing weakness is in plotting ahead of time. I just can't seem to do it. Also with writing the way I want it to come out --doesn't always. My Son in law just became a fireman for Seattle! Had to share that!ReplyDelete
Terri, that is awesome news for your son-in-law. It's such a rewarding job, with a family atmosphere. Holidays at the station are such fun. Good luck to him!Delete
Julie this is such a wise post. I am learning to welcome my "weakness," too, as a way to move forward and keep learning. My hubby has trouble with spelling, too. Just find that interesting.ReplyDelete
Karen, too often I take the writing and spelling skills for granted. I shouldn't do that.Delete
I love this post and the quotes at the end. I think my biggest weakness is description, I feel like I suck at it.ReplyDelete
Love the story about your husband, it is awesome to realize others have the same worries or concerns you do. That's why I love this group so much!
So great to meet you through the IWSG, Julie!
Julie, I love this group for the same reason. Our fears are less scary when we know others experience the same thing.Delete
I know world building is not one of my strengths. Ironically that's a major part of my next manuscript.ReplyDelete
There you go! You're running head on into that "weakness," although I doubt it's really a weakness for you :)Delete
This is such a great point!!! And I can completely relate. My first manuscript received lots of requests and great feedback, but ultimately I also got passes because people couldn't connect to the main character. Trying to understand that and resolve my problem, I focused on characters in my new book. Not just the main character, but all my characters. And a strange thing happened: I fell in love with them all, and so did everyone else. The book sold, but I assumed that was for the story. Then recently, I was taking a workshop with Donald Maass, and I had to prepare a list of my writing strengths and weaknesses. The weaknesses were easy--I had a whole list. But strengths? I admit. I cheated. I emailed my agent and editor and asked a few friends. And every one of them listed characterization as my biggest strength. I about fell over in shock. :) It just goes to show that we have the power to evolve--as long as we pay attention! :)ReplyDelete
Martina, what a great example of working hard to turn a weakness into a strength. I think as long as we're open to learning, we can turn things around. And I can't wait to read your book! I'm sure I'll fall in love with your characters as much as you have.Delete
I think writing weaknesses is really a basic fear which crops up in many aspects of our lives, oh to be constantly tough and not bother at all! :0)ReplyDelete
I can make lists!!! Making sure scenes have sufficient conflict and tension is my current focus! :)ReplyDelete
That's such great advice - run toward your weakness. I need to do that a bit more in one particular area (actually maybe two) of my "dayjob". And I definitely need to do that in regards to my writing, or at least in regards to getting it published!ReplyDelete
My weakness shifts with each new story. I enjoy the process of identifying them and hopefully morphing them into strengths.ReplyDelete
I find the best way to excel in anything, it is find your weakness and make it your strength. Most other issues will naturally go away.ReplyDelete
You would have to mention spelling! Arrrg. I bless spell checker even with all of its odd suggestions. Where's the phonetic language I need anyway?ReplyDelete
Yes, yes, YES. Sooooo spot on, Julie. I absolutely LOVE this thought and this post. And now I HAVE to go pick up this book by Donald. I've read his Breakout Novel one of course, but this one sounds like it might offer some more. Cool!ReplyDelete