God bless Jami Attenberg. If you don’t subscribe to her “Craft Talk” writing newsletter, I highly recommend doing so. She’s such a cheerleader for the writing life.
In her Feb. 5 newsletter, she asked writers to make a list of the things they’re good at pertaining to writing (though it’s a good exercise to expand that into other areas, too).
Few writers, especially women writers, toot their own horns. We think we need to be modest. We don’t want to be labeled as “arrogant” or “full of ourselves.” If you grew up in the Midwest, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Did anyone encourage you to talk about yourself and your accomplishments? Probably not!
I’ve been doing a lot of work lately around positive self-talk. I’m realizing that the only way to manifest success is to believe it. Focusing on my flaws or speaking or thinking about myself in a negative way only continues the downward spiral and impedes success (check out Gabby Bernstein for more information on manifesting success).
So in the spirit of Jami’s directive, here’s my list of what I’m good at in terms of my writing:
- Research. I love research! I’m a historian by training, and I love digging through archives or other historical information. I’ve had a lot of practice incorporating that type of information in my writing, and by now it comes naturally.
- An authentic voice. I write with honesty. I call things as I see them. I think that authenticity resonates with readers.
- Imagination. I like imagining scenes that I didn’t witness. I feel like I can enter a character’s mind and imagine what it is they might have been seeing and feeling.
- Conciseness and editing. Thanks to my journalism background, I’m economical with words. I generally write with conciseness in mind, but in the editing process I’m pretty good at identifying wordiness.
Now you do it! What are you good at?
I read Jami’s article on what you are good at, (great wasn’t it), and knew the answer straight away. I’m also good at editing. This isn’t surprising since I have spent my entire career honing other people’s words and helping my colleagues be more concise. I also love research, but sometimes I struggle with writing in an authentic voice.
I agree that it’s really helpful to think long and hard about what your strengths are. Thanks for writing this.
I agree, all that editing experience is so valuable!