"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

3 Key Ways Knowing Your Weaknesses Strengthens Your Position As a Writer!



---"Knowledge is power."

Positioning is important.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re engaged in a game of chess, or vying for your dream job as a freelancer.
Knowing where you stand makes you stand taller, and helps to approach your goals with a sense of strategy, savvy, and overall efficiency. Simply put, it makes your game plan easier to execute.

In fact, it’s one of the things that I credit for my success in my creative career, in the midst of many obstacles. When I started this journey, (more than a decade ago), I had no formal training in writing.
Truth be told, my degrees are in business.

I didn’t have a computer, (didn’t get one until much later). Had no connections or contacts in the business. And worked full-time while attending night school.

What I did have was a solid business background, a strong work ethic, the belief that writing was my “calling,” the desire to excel, and the willingness to be objective about my work---the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And you should too.

Which is why I’m often amazed when talking to potential clients and other freelancers, that many seem to unfortunately have a real “blind spot” in identifying their creative weaknesses. Matter of fact, once I pointed out a shortcoming of someone whom I was trying to mentor, that caused her to be offended, and ended up doing more harm than good. Ouch. (Note to self: you can‘t help everybody). :-)

Here’s another case in point.
If you’ve ever tuned in to the popular talent-search show “American Idol”, then you’ve witnessed how some creative artists are convinced, (despite the judges’ assessments, and voices that sound like fingernails scratching a chalk board), that singing is their true talent! Huh?

Of course, we’d all like to be good at everything. Right?
Not gonna’ happen.
Instead a reality check is needed. There’s much to be said for the expression, “Knowledge is power.”

With this in mind, here’s why knowing your creative weaknesses can actually be a good thing that strengthens your career.


1. Efficiency
One of the most common complaints from today’s writer is not having enough time to write. Sometimes this is the result of mismanaging time, while at other times it’s the byproduct of pursuing projects or genres of writing that really are not well suited for us. The drawback? Spinning one’s wheels and not going anywhere. For example, mine would be writing for children. Be selective.

2. Strategy
The more in tune you are to what your weaknesses are, the greater the likelihood that you can address them, work to improve them, and operate from a greater position of strength. Or in some case scenarios, it may actually call for you to subcontract work out. Say for instance that you’re great at writing, but not skilled at design, or proofing, or photography. You spend less mental wear and tear on these areas, and more focusing on your true passions and positive areas.

3. Leverage
Like it or not, we all are in a competition of sorts. There are only so many creative jobs, clients, and projects. Not to mention, as Bloggers, we’re competing for today’s busy readers’ valuable time. Which requires that we put our best foot forward. That we know what separates us from the rest of the pack. And that we know ultimately how to pack a punch and how to deliver it.
Trust, you can fool yourself to make your ego feel better. Some do.
But really great Bloggers embrace their weaknesses, just like their strengths. Realizing that it is this combination of good and bad, darkness and light, challenges and victories that makes for an interesting Blogger who is relatable and real.

Thoughts? Any creative weaknesses you own up to?

Image Stock Photo

13 comments:

  1. Nice post, Jennifer. I think we have to constantly assess our creative weaknesses because we cannot grow otherwise. You can't change what you won't acknowledge, right? (I think I'm quoting Dr. Phil there. ;-) )

    To answer your question, I tackle my creative weaknesses by doing what I can to grow in my craft--whether that means taking classes, reading beautiful writers or investing in how-to writing books. I think most people can only stand to get better in their chosen craft.

    Thank you for this reminder!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great food for thought, Jennifer. First thing that comes to mind as far as weaknesses go is efficiency. I like to and can be efficient, but am not always due to procrastination or just plain wasting time otherwise. Have been examining how my time is spent of late so I can remedy this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Jennifer. First time visitor. Great to meet you! Like most writers, efficiency is my biggest problem. I've learned not to sacrifice sleep to write. That's a big mistake. I need at least seven hours of unbroken sleep a night.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Janette,

    How true. Sounds like you're on the "write path." I applaud you and your attitude!
    Thanks for starting us off here. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Karen,

    Don't beat yourself up too much. From what I know of you you're pretty diligent. :-) And balance is crucial. Don't cheat yourself, treat yourself! We all deserve a little down time to replenish and restore.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Stephen,

    Welcome! It's wonderful to have you join us. You'll find a pretty cool group with interesting conversations.
    You're right not to sacrifice sleep. Many times it causes fatigue and actually compromises the creative process.

    Thanks for sharing and following. :-)
    B/T/W/ You have also won a free gift for being my 160th follower! Please send your contact info to my email address listed above.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wonder if it's possible to suss out our own weaknesses. Hmmm. I tend to write "short" and both of my (non-published) novels are that way. But I don't like words for the sake of word count - at all. Is that a weakness??

    ReplyDelete
  8. Susan,

    Sure we can. :-) And it's crucial that we do. I'd say that my issue is similar to yours; I (however),tend to see brevity as a plus more than a weakness. But I suppose it depends. I'm also not that great at writing fictional
    works.

    ReplyDelete
  9. One of my weaknesses is reviewing my work 5 to 6 times when it's really okay by the third edit most times. This is totally inefficient when I could be working on something else.

    And yeah, you need to work your strengths and hire your weaknesses for design, editing, photography.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would much rather read the works of someone who "over edits" than one who under edits. :-)

      Delete
  10. Hello Jennifer,

    Interesting topic because I am still in the process of positioning myself as a writer.

    'I see writing more as a 'Tool'
    that can help with developing
    Ideas and Concepts.'


    Something that I might possibly combine with things like drawing Cartoons and/or Photography. Since I also enjoy making Cartoons and doing Photography aswell, I also currently still work on growing my own Stock Photo Cathalogue. Btw. I write about things like Stock Photography on an other blog of mine (digitalcamera-ideas.blogspot.com)

    Currently most of the writing that I do is Bloging and Writing in Forums. In the past I also have been invloved in some Business Writing like for example help writing a Press Release for the Business of a Friend of mine, (that acually resulted in an Article that got Published in a Local Newspaper) only currently I don't really like the idea of doing actual Freelance Writing.

    So besides writing on any of my Blogs, Blogging and Writing in Forums I think about possibly doing things like Greeting Card Writing or writing
    'Star Letters' or 'Fillers/Articles' for Magazines. Since - with some Successes - I have already done things like that in the Past. (I also - besides having things published in small scale publications - had a few things published in some actual Big (Glossy) Magazines aswell.)

    (Btw. while I am writing this - since Greeting Cards are also 'Visual' - I also just thought about possibly creating things like Visually intersting 'Infographs' for Magazines)

    Other areas of interest are possibly writing for a specific (Fictional) Genre, like for example writing 'Flash Fiction' or new Short Stories ('Footstep Fiction') for the special Short Story Page I have on my - Writer's Lifestyle - Blog.

    As I said, I am still in the process of positioning myself to be able to get a little more Efficient :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hp,

    Thanks so much for your detailed comments. Sounds like you have a good game plan. I wish you much success!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like what you guys are up too. Such smart work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website :)
    Rago Tummy Shaping Capri Pant (9240)

    ReplyDelete