Wednesday, May 6, 2015

TCWT Blog Chain: Weaknesses and Strengths

Hello all! Once again this month I'm participating in the TCWT Blog Chain, which is being hosted for the month of May by Ch1Con. The topic is "What is your greatest weakness as a writer? What's your greatest strength?" Wow. Well... Those are some big questions.

I'm absolutely terrible at deciding superlatives, that is to say, I can never pick things that are the adjective-est. What's my favorite song? Well, I have my official favorite song for formal occasions of people asking me that question, but I would need to pull out graphs and formulas to even pick my top ten, and that frankly sounds like a lot of math. (Graphs? Formulas? A number? Ugh.) What I'm saying is, I'm not going to be able to decide what my "greatest" weakness and strength are, but I can talk about what some of my weaknesses and strengths in writing are.

The first big weakness that comes to mind is laziness. Oh, laziness. I could go on so long about how lazy I am. In fact, my laziness is such a weakness, it's a strength, and it's so strong in its strength, it circled back to being a weakness again. Do you think you're lazier than I am? I have news for you, you're not. I'm the laziest. Deal with it.

Many writers deal with writer's block, writing slumps, wasting a couple hours or even days on Facebook or Pinterest instead of really writing. But they'll always come back. They can't go so long without writing. Even if they're not writing, they're thinking about their book. Me, though? The file of my book hasn't been OPENED since March. Wait, it might have, because I wanted to check what my last sentence was for some Facebook teen writers challenge. But I mean, come on. How many of you have left your book untouched for two months? That's not a slump, that's a... like a life problem. And the longer I go without writing, the harder it is to get back in. You know what, forget what I said at the beginning: procrastination and laziness are definitively my greatest weakness.

I guess what irritates me about that being a weakness is that it's not very writerly. I mean, I procrastinate about everything. But it's one thing to put off a set of French grammar exercises; it's another thing to put off the project that you've been devoting your life to. And other writers are so annoying about it! "Yeah I write 500 words a day *hair flip* you know I just can't like BREATHE without writing a million words a second... I just don't get writers who waste time on such nonsense as YouTube videos of anteaters singing the Phantom of the Opera when they could be doing THE WORK OF THE MUSES" Like... I didn't choose to click that thirtieth YouTube video, or refresh Tumblr for the hundredth time. OK, I did choose it, but do you think I woke up in the morning saying, "Yes! Today I will see a hundred cats with bread on their faces! Forget about my novel in progress, I got memes to click on!" Of course not. It's a compulsion. It's a result of anxiety. The book's so overwhelming and after months of not working on it, it feels like I'm going to come back and get rejected by my own universe. Like it's going to be mad at me for leaving it alone. So I just don't go back, again. It's too hard.

Then of course, when I finally do go back, it is hard, but it's never *too* hard. I know that when I get writing again, it'll work. It will actually be like breathing again. But I still make the choice, over and over again, to put it off.

So I guess my pretty obvious greatest weakness is procrastination. But as for greatest writing strength? That's more difficult to decide. I know I'm pretty decent at spinning poetic words that don't venture into purple prose, probably because I'm as much a poet as I am a prose writer at this point. So where some fiction writers have difficulty describing emotions or setting or whatever, I'm pretty good at that. Not sure if I'd call it my "greatest strength" though.

Another strength of mine is creative ideas. I know that's kind of a necessity for writers in general, but I like to think I'm good at coming up with original ideas. I always hear writers complaining "I think I have an original idea but then I realize someone else did it!" I have seen people do stuff similar to my ideas, but my ideas are usually original and creative enough to not have that worry. Of course, that comes with the possibility of getting so outlandish that nobody actually wants to read your story, because they can't relate to it, or it's too complex and tangled up, or there's none of those recognizable archetypes within it. But I usually manage to restrain the crazy ideas before they get out that far. (Although maybe Esizza was taking it a bit far, despite being a stroke of genius.)

I think if I had to choose a greatest strength- which is obviously not my official greatest strength so no one quote me on this (see above paragraph about being unable to decide on things)- is beginnings. Sooo many writers have difficulties starting their stories. They don't know where to start; they have this great idea, but they don't know how to enter it. But I'm good at diving in. If I have an idea I love, the words usually just come out in a flowing heap, and I find my footing pretty fast. Which sounds like a messy process, but I've almost never had to edit a first scene, beyond tweaking wording and stuff. I think I have all this energy in the idea in the beginning and it fires out, which is why middles of books are the real difficulty for me (though I do love them).

So yeah. Greatest weakness: putting off writing. "Greatest" strength: starting to write. That's a pretty funny match-up there.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses with writing? Feel free to share; I actually want to hear about them.

Thanks for reading! Sorry this is up so late; I was distracted by the Twitter Ch1Con Chat.
See you on Saturday for my new experience post,

P.S. Here's the rest of the blog chain. It's not complete yet so best to check the Ch1Con website if you really want the full list.

Tuesday May 5th — The Little Engine That Couldn’t
Wednesday May 6th — Ariel Kalati, Writer
Friday May 8th — Galloping Free
Saturday May 9th — Miriam Joy Writes
Sunday May 10th — The Ramblings of Aravis
Wednesday May 13th — Light and Shadows
Friday May 15th — Musings from Neville’s Navel
Saturday May 16th — The World of the Writer
Tuesday May 19th — Butterflies of the Imagination
Wednesday May 20th — Introspection Creative
Friday May 22nd — Spellbound
Sunday May 24th — Unikke Lyfe
Monday May 25th — The Long Life of a Lifelong Fangirl
Wednesday May 27th — Against the Shadows
Friday May 29th — Teens Can Write, Too, announcing June’s chain


  1. So, basically, you only procrastinate after the first scene? Why don't you just write a series of 'first scenes' then?
    And for a great procrastinator, you sure can get your act together if a deadline is forced upon you; which is probably why you don't feel the urgency of fixing the problem. You always manage to get the work done on time. Why not set a date for when your story MUST be done otherwise you'll delete it forever and maybe that will scare you into work?

  2. I'm a huge procrastinator too, and I'm currently going through a period where I really can't focus on writing. In the past, though, I've used writing as a way of procrastinating on schoolwork etc because it feels more productive (and I can trick myself into thinking I've done something useful). I mean, I'm always thinking about writing with some part of my brain, it doesn't really switch off, but lately I've been finding it harder than usual to turn thinking into actual writing.

    NaNoWriMo did help me get through some procrastination sessions and finish some drafts, though.