Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Use Your Writing Strengths

By Christine Liu Perkins

Being aware of our writing weaknesses is helpful so we can work on them. On the other hand, being aware of our writing strengths can help guide us to our best creative work — and the joy that comes with it.

Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould observed, "The problem is that the things you're good at come naturally. And . . . what comes naturally, you don't see as a special skill." Gould recommended that we discover and pursue what we're good at, rather than fret over our weaknesses. (Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas are Born: Interviews with 40 MacArthur Fellows by Denise Shekerjian, p. 3)  ​
Over the years I've experimented with writing personal essays, articles, folktales, picture books, rhyme, biography, how-to's, inspirational pieces, historical fiction, contemporary novels, book-length nonfiction, and academic papers. As I experimented, I noticed things about myself:
  • I dive into research for whatever I'm writing. I revel in the treasure-hunting and unexpected discoveries. I even find myself making excuses to do research!
  • I love finding connections between ideas that seem unrelated. It's fun to weave pieces together into a new framework
  • My writing tends to be concise, clear, and logically organized.
  • I persevere when a project is meaningful to me. Whether or not it gets published, I feel the pursuit is worthwhile because I learn something of value.  
Recognizing my writing strengths helped me figure out that nonfiction is my niche. Knowing my strengths makes it easier to decide which projects to pursue — projects that will keep me happy through the (sometimes years-long) process of working on them.
What are your writing strengths? How can you use your strengths to bring you joy in your writing?
For more thoughts on this topic, check out these two blog posts:
Amy Benson Brown, "The Importance of Recognizing Your Strengths as a Writer"
Colleen M. Story, "The One Thing Writers Miss When Trying to Improve"

 Learn more about Christine Liu Perkins and her writing strengths at www.christineliuperkins.com

1 comment:

  1. Very nice article, thanks for sharing. I wondered if I could write something worth reading without having a rich imagination and without much experience in the written word. But I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible not to write!