Thursday, October 11, 2007

I am Writer hear me Roar...

Lisa Kenney has a great meme today about what are her five writing strengths. Unfortunately she then tagged me for it and I found myself at a loss. I really don't know if I could come up with five things that I would consider a strength in my writing. Why? Because I don't think I've been proven on any of it yet.

If you were to ask me what were my five strengths as a lawyer I could answer quickly and surely. I am an excellent legal draftsman (if you need a contract, I'm your man, er - you know what I mean), I am an excellent negotiater, I am extremely no nonsense, I can be intimidating (important in certain situations), and I can be quite compassionate (important in others). And I know these are my strengths from all my years of working and peformance reviews and promotions, etc. But creative writing? I honestly don't know that I can answer this. How can I with no publication credits to my name yet?

Maybe this is where my analytical, black and white mind fails me. Where I feel it would be somehow wrong to list strengths when they have not been proven to me as such. This is not some form of humble pie, cause humble isn't really in my vocabulary. Just how my weird brain thinks on things.

So what can I say that has been proven to my satisfaction? This is what I came up with.

1. I have very thick skin. Not only is thick skin essential for surviving as a writer, but it is proven to repel wrinkles and stretch marks.

2. I am a meticulous researcher. If I have a character chewing gum, rest assured that I would have researched the exact type of gum, from flavor to appearance and who made them at what period of time, and the exact composition of the gum including what particular sapodilla tree in Central America the latex sap came from. No one scratches their ass or picks their nose in my WIP without me researching it first. I take my ass scratching very seriously.

3. I learn more about my craft from reading others all the time. Lisa said this too and I completely agree. How can you write if you don't read? I say this to my students who are afraid of writing. For them, since they are writing academic papers, I always remind them to read the paper or news magazines and journals every day so that their writing will improve. Right now, I think alot of them only read the National Enquirer or nothing at all, if their papers are any indication of their reading.

4. I enjoy editing. I really do. I love tightening and tightening and tightening - sort of like a plastic surgeon on Joan Rivers face...

5. I enjoy writing. This is clearly a proven strength for a writer, right? I mean I'm not saying I do it well, I'm just saying I enjoy it. Love it actually. Writing feels good even during the times when it can be incredibly hard and frustrating. When all you have is one sentence out of hours of writing. It still feels great. And that's all I have to say about that.

To tag or not to tag, that is the question. Last time I did a blanket tag, not many played and I was deemed a spoilsport by some. But I like being a spoilsport so I think I shall blanket you all again! And as always, play if you want to or if you are like Charles at Razored Zen, you can always wear your "repel all tags" cloak. I hear it is pretty effective.

15 comments:

Larramie said...

May I add that you have a terrific sense of bringing forth emotion? You know, you do. ;)

Precie said...

Those are all, I think, great strengths for a writer.

I would add that, from what I've seen, you're a thoughtful writer, which is a very valuable strength.

Angie said...

How can you write if you don't read?

I absolutely agree. [nod] And not only that, but read critically. You can learn a lot from other people's work if you pause periodically to think about what's working and what's not and why. Did that plot twist work for you, and why or why not? Did you spot the red herring for what it was as soon as it was tossed out? Is the writing style losing you, and if so then why?

Reading in multiple genres will help keep you out of a rut. People who only read the kind of fiction they write are cheating themselves IMO, and their readers as well.

And for fiction writers, reading non-fiction will give you more to write about. Reading non-fiction, whether books or articles, gives me a lot of story ideas, and ways to add realistic details to my stories. You never know what you're going to trip over if you browse, and writers who read non-fiction only when they're specifically researching something miss out on the "Hey, that's cool!" factor. :)

Angie

Patti said...

ha! loved the editing line...and good to know you are in my corner lawyer warrior!

Bernita said...

"I take my ass scratching very seriously."
I dearly love that.
If only more did.
Hving taught rudiments of English to engineers, I can relate to # 3.
Wonderful strengths.

Lisa said...

I completely related to your concerns about claiming strengths without having the publication credits/evidence to back them up. But -- all writers have to be somewhere on the path, even those of us who haven't published (yet) and I think you analyzed the evidence and came up with a great case. Gotta love those researching comments. You know some people might even say you've got a bit of a flair for humor :)

Chris Eldin said...

I agree with larramie and precie--you are a sensitive and thoughtful writer. I enjoy reading your blog very much!

moonrat said...

yay for editing!

Ello said...

Big smiley here!

ORION said...

You actually READ my book before interviewing me...I consider THAT a strength!

SzélsőFa said...

Those are important features, Ello. I like what you have here in your blog, although sometimes their length makes me think about trying to have a second run at it. But that's completely MY fault.
And you have a nice sense of humor - that reference to the National Enquirer made me laugh out loud:)

Keep on writing!

SzélsőFa said...

Ello, the Take a closer look #8 has opened NOW.

Stephen Parrish said...

The first things that strike me about your writing are the openness and honesty.

The Anti-Wife said...

My 2 greatest strengths; my writing comes from my heart and I'm grateful for constructive criticism and learn from it.

Don't know how you do at fiction, Ello, but your non-fiction in your blog is terrific.

Ello said...

Orion Ahoy! I mean Aloha! I'm glad I did something right! :o)

Sze - I know I'm very long-winded! I'll be mindful of that next time. It's just that I type so fast I keep writing and writing - like I have diarhhea of the brain to hands thingie!

Stephen - Why thank you very much, although some would say too honest!

Thanks AW and thanks again to everyone who made such lovely comments - you're gonna give me a big head! Oh wait, I already have one...

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