Saturday, February 23, 2013

Embracing Success

What’s that supposed to mean, you say, embracing success? Of course I’d embrace success.Yeah, well, I’m not talking about success in terms of getting an agent and publication. I’m talking about success in our writing. Yes, on some level it’s the same thing, but not for today. Don’t argue with me. :)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I tend to focus on the negative aspects of my writing abilities—knowing exactly what my weakest points are. And if someone compliments me on one of my stronger points (deep down, I know I have strong points), my brain automatically writes off the compliment with a, “She was just being nice,” or, “She had to come up with something positive to say, so I wouldn’t smear all her critique marks with my tears.”

Focusing on the negative to try to improve is not always a bad thing, but it’s so easy to get bogged down in it. I've received a few painful, though extremely helpful critiques recently, but I think I made them out to be more painful than they actually were. There were plenty of positive comments, BUT—there’s always a BUT—anything positive disappeared in the sea of red pen.

My lovely negative brain tells me, “Sure, you did okay over there, but look at these red marks! And these are things you knew needed to be fixed, even if it was only subconsciously. How could you not get it right the first time?!”

Even when I’m able to accept the positive, there’s always that little nagging voice telling me I could do better. And we need that little voice, or our writing will never improve. For today though, we’re going to tell it to Shut up! and leave us alone so we can be happy with our successes.

So, I want to know what your strengths are. What areas of your writing are you particularly proud of? Or even something unrelated to writing that you're proud of? No fair qualifying it with a “but it could be better” or “but this is where I need to improve”. And don’t try to tell me you don’t have strengths. We all have strengths, even if we’re blinded to them sometimes.

Okay. To get things started, I’ll go first. I’m good at writing dialogue. It comes very naturally to me. And I really want to put a BUT here, but I won’t. :)

Now it’s your turn. No chickening out. You’ll be happy you did it. You can even list two or three strengths if you’re feeling particularly awesome today. :)


  1. I think it's great to remind ourselves of what we do well once in a while. So, what do I do well? Hmm. Characters. I do characters well.

    Man, it IS hard not to attach that 'but' or 'I think' to it, isn't it? Characters it is.

    Thanks for the positive post, Abby!

  2. I can totally relate to this post.

    I'm great at making time to write and revise, even when I have good excuses not to. I happen to have a head cold this week.

  3. I do recognize my strengths (humor, setting, voice) but it does seem like weaknesses are just BIGGER (must. not. list. weaknesses. here. in. all. caps--okay, just one: I have POOR IMPULSE CONTROL).

    So thanks for the reminder that our strengths define (or is it elevate?) us too.

  4. Congrats on the new blog (I've been away a while)! Love the focus of this - yeaah, more positivism, that's what we all need, a bit more belief in that which we do well. Me? Hum. Okay (blushes aside), I'm great at dialogue, as well as losing myself inside a character.

    There, I've said it (now waiting for the sky to rip wide open and drop something heavy on my head)..

  5. I'm good at making the everyday poetic.

    It is hard not to put a but. Pressing 'publish' on this comment now. :)

  6. I want to say, "People tell me that..." but instead I'll just state it as if it were totally normal for me - I'm good with dialogue, and it comes naturally to me.

    (By the way, see how we're all doing our version of the "but"? Our disclaimers are just more subtle. :))

  7. This is something that is extremely hard for me to do in all aspects of my life. I always have to qualify it! I feel as if my voicing a positive about me means other people are whispering and laughing to themselves "ha how could she think she's actually GOOD at that!"

    So anyhow, this post was REALLY hard to come up with an answer to. I'm good at photography. I haven't been able to come up with a writing answer.

  8. Great post. I also focus on the negative and forget to rejoice in the positive. Too much so that I can't think of a positive writing ability right now. :( Something that I have resolved to remedy very soon. When I figure it out, I think I will type it huge block letters and hang it in my room. So whenever I loose my way in a pit of negatives, I can use it to climb my way out.


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