Monday, March 8, 2010

Motivational Monday—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’s 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 just got a very helpful, very complimentary critique back. Probably the most complimentary I’ve ever received, and I know that I’ve improved considerably over the last year and a half, BUT—there’s always a BUT—it was almost like I couldn’t see the positive remarks.

My lovely negative brain tells me, “Sure, you did okay over there, Abby, 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, if you’re not a writer, you can tell us something else about yourself 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'm good at plot and description, which is good for fantasy/sci fi writing.

    It's a great asset to be good at dialogue. Good for you!

    This is a great post!

  2. I love this post! You are so right, there are none more critical than we are of ourselves, it helps to take a step back ocassionally to give ourselves a justifiable break.

    Keeping a blog has certainly helped me to improve how I write. Although most of my posts bear little in common with what I am working on, having posted the odd snippet of it in there, the feed back proved invaluable, allowing me to know I was on the right track.

    I am also good with dialogue, and believe I do engage the reader, get them to care about the characters involved. I am tempted to add a few negatives in here, but thankfully you have forbidden this, so I shall happily quit whilst I am still ahead.. (smile)!

  3. Great idea!

    I love words and enjoy the play writing allows. I think this strengthens my voice.

  4. I'm good at dialogue and characterization.

    :-) Thanks for this opportunity to remember we are all GREAT at something.

  5. I'm really good at establishing setting. Which is always fun. Okay, I hear a "but" coming, so I'd better quit before it comes out! ;)

    Great post!

    Very motivational!

  6. I'm great at plotting. Does that count? I can get that bugger outlined and paced and plotted like nobody's business.

    (And I just had to resist the "but" too.)

    Thanks for the positive look, Abby. Thanks!

  7. I think I'm good at plotting and dialogue. Not great with allowing my characters to show emotion or description.

    Look at that I even put an "I think...", it's hard to be confident.

  8. I feel like I have a strong voice.

    Other than that, I'm so with you. Keep your chin up! You will persevere! :)

  9. Terrific idea!

    My strong suit is dialogue. BUT...

    I'm good at character development, too.

    See, you thought I was going somewhere else, didn't ya?

  10. Congrats on the positive feedback. I think we trap ourselves around the negative because of fear.

    Writing is not easy, but it can be rewarding with a lot of hard work and perservance. Enjoy your writing successes- I plan to!

    I love dialogue the most!

  11. I handle dialogue quite well. And I'm pretty good at balancing the lighter moods with the darker moods within the same piece.

    Hey, what do you know? I CAN do something well!

  12. I'm good at plot. Thanks for this post.

  13. This was great! I am super critical of myself. It's nice to have those moments when we can give ourselves a break and be happy with what we've done! Good job! :)

  14. thanks for this reminder...I really needed it today!

    okay - I'm good at atmosphere. You now, creating a feeling of space and time within the work.

  15. Great post! It's important to remember our strengths and not our weaknesses.

    I think I do pretty well with narrative. It's shockinglky hard not to type my many weaknesses.

  16. Wow, I so needed this post today Abby! And because of that it's really, really hard to think of my strengths.

    I think I'm a really good mom and my boys really know I love them. That's important to me so much because it's not the reality I grew up with.

    As for writing, hmm. Umm. Umm. Maybe I've got really cool ideas?

  17. This is sooooo true!

    I'm good at writing intense, visceral scenes when I give myself the freedom to let go and go for it!

    But... just kidding ;). I'll stop there. Thanks, Abby!

  18. Okay, Abby, I just gave you one of those blog awards over at ADayInTheWife, but don't feel like you have to do anything. I just wanted to share a little link love and tell you I appreciate all of your thought-provoking posts! You rock!