Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Good and the Bad

Perhaps you are self-aware enough to know your strengths. I would like to think that I am. I know that my first drafts (of anything) tend to stink pretty bad, but I also love revising. That is, perhaps, why I am so happily revising my novel instead of posting here every day. 

Most writers would commend me for my devotion to revision. And it is a strength. However, like all other strengths, it brings some bad effects along with it. I joked with my husband this morning about maybe getting this book published in the next decade. He laughed and said I'd likely be revising it that long. I do have a tendency to revise, revise, and revise, until I either run out of time or can't bear to look at the manuscript anymore. 

Where will that lead? It could lead to some amazing manuscripts. It could also mean I never send a single one out, for they never get to the point where I am willing to quit revising. 

Think about this in other terms. If one has physical strength, that means one might be able to lift a refrigerator all by oneself. However, it might also mean that you can hurt others, break windows, and otherwise destroy the world in ways others could not (and ways you might not intend). 

I know a boss who is great working with emotional people. He doesn't get flustered even when employees are angry and caustic, and that means that these employees can be honest with him and the entire tone of the workplace can improve. However, his patience also allows people with emotional problems the leeway to attack others, sometimes creating a not-so-friendly environment. 

I'm not saying, like Thoreau, that the key is "moderation." What I am saying is that the very strengths you have may also coincide with your weaknesses. My daughter tends to be compliant, but that could lead to less resistance to peer pressure. My son is more independent, but that means he has fewer friends on the playground and keeps getting written up in school. 

What are your biggest strengths? Biggest weaknesses? Don't be surprised if your answer to both is the same.


  1. My confidence is my biggest strength/ weapon, so there are very few things I don’t think I can do.

    And yes it could be a weakness, but I have overcame so much because of this strength and had very little adverse affect from it.

    So my biggest weakness is probably my laziness/procrastination. I can delay doing anything with the best of them.

    Along the lines of first draft being good, I find they normally are. But in revision you can tweak your book forever if you approach it in the wrong way…

    I have learned to rewrite for Grammar and word usage completely before moving onto dialog and over all flow. Finally moving to small touch ups and rewording scenes or some paragraphs that I feel need it…

    But never do all 3 at the same time. You change too much, and add just as many plot changes and mistakes back into the book that you are trying to fix.

    I hope someday you finish a piece of work, and know you have done the best you could. and you can finally relax and send it out to the world.

    Good post, thx for your time.

  2. When it comes to writing, my strength is dialog and character development (I think). When it comes to weaknesses, plot and description, not that I can't do it, but that it isn't important to me so I tend to be sparing.

    I like to think I have readable first draft, but pacing, details and humor are often a big part of my revisions - I have all my pieces in there, but not necessarily in the right order or as polished as they should be.

    In life, I'm straightforward and have good intuition. I'm a quick study and a whiz at research. I'm good at figuring out what people want and giving it to them. I stink at politics. I tell people the story strait, no sugar. My tenacity can work against me. I'm not particularly organized and I don't like meetings.

  3. Having no fear or concern for anything. Living in the "right now" not an hour from now or hours steeped in yesterday. I will let others decide if this attitude is a strength or weakness; I am busy enough dealing with my present to think about it.