S is for Strength.
Everyone has certain strengths. For one person this may be singing, another public speaking, yet another gardening. But even within those areas of strengths, a talented speaker may be able to engage his audience well, but struggle with making a PowerPoint or an outline. Still, they may be considered a powerful speaker because of their mere stage presence.
It's the same with a writer. Each writer has their own strengths. The trick is to find out where your strengths lie and use them. In many ways this is easier said than done. How many of us can see our writing as a total stranger does? (Anyone? Anyone?)
I certainly can't. I've been shocked by the feedback I've received, highlighting strengths (and weaknesses) that I was never aware of. For example, I've been told several times that I can write natural sounding dialogue. This was never a strength I was aware of, I merely wrote it as I thought it sounded. But to the odd reader, it read like natural dialogue. The only way I would have known of this strength is by asking for feedback.
Now, I don't mean that you take every compliment you're given and conclude that you are the best writer to ever grace this world with your writing. No. But, if you consistently receive the same comments from several independent people on different projects, perhaps you may conclude that you have found one of your strengths. This may be creating lively, lovable characters, or a nicely paced plot, or a talent for description, or an enchanting voice.
Why bother finding your strengths?
I think it's just as important to know your strengths as it is your weaknesses. Often we overlook our own strengths and focus on what needs work. While this isn't a bad thing, as our weaknesses need more time and effort than our strengths, if we don't know what we're good at, we run the risk of trying to fix something that isn't broken.
Often when we try to fix something of ours, we look to others and how they accomplish this task. This may be the most valuable method out there. Except for this: there are as many ways to write as there are people on this earth.
By not knowing your strengths, you might end up believing your strength is a weakness and try to fix it. In other words, you could spend a lifetime trying to fix something that isn't broken.
What are some of your strengths? I want to hear from you!