Writing Strengths

Charlotte has asked for a list of five of my writing strengths. So, here are my answers. (While I was gone, I was asked other questions, including some by Eoin Purcell, and I have answered those too. Who knows, some day I might even answer all those podlily questions I solicited from you a while back. It is an answering kind of Sunday.)

(1) I have never seen two heterogeneous things and not wondered, What would happen if I banged those together, really hard? Good writing happens when you put together things that don’t belong together. Not everyone agrees with this idea, by the way, and it is also true that bad writing comes out of this banging together of things that don’t go together. I know — I have produced a lot of that.

(2) I stopped writing fiction many times, when I was much younger, discouraged by my lack of genuis, by how hard it was to fit into my life. I don’t have time to give up anymore. I guess that would mean that I am persistent and I don’t have writer’s block.

(3) After I think about what I want to say, and do a lot of editing, my writing is clear. Clarity matters in all kinds of places: in my work as a lawyer, in my fiction, and when I leave notes for people to tell them what to do.

(4) I like words and I know a heck of a lot of them. (The other day, William’s teacher told me that children who read an hour a day acquire more than FOUR MILLION words a year. That must slow down, don’t you think? Still, who knew there were that many words to acquire?) I just wish I could get some of those words to surface on the tip of my tongue (or my fingers) at the precise moment when I most need them and not have them come to me three days later, when I’m making brownies and don’t have a pen handy.

(5) I love stories. I love reading them, I love producing them. I love writing. That is my biggest strength: love.

And what, dear reader, are your 5 (or twelve, or two) writing strengths? Also, what is it I don’t know about you? Having answered these questions, I find I am very interested in YOUR answers, knowing my own quite well already.

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12 thoughts on “Writing Strengths

  1. Lovely. I love no 2, and I love no 4. It’s true isn’t it: the things that differentiate successful people from all the has beens is that successful people never, ever give up.

    Good luck. Glad to see you back in the 9rules writing section.

  2. Loved your answers, dear BL, but you forgot one, I think: you’re very, very amusing. Being able to bring a compassionate sense of humour to just about any occasion is one of the qualities I love most in your writing.

  3. Hello Nova, Love being all we need, I am glad I managed to work that in there somewhere.

    Hey Eli, How nice to see you here too. I do think there’s something to persistence, and am working diligently to prove that if you just stick to something, you will get better at it.

    Litlove, I’m glad to hear you say that. Sometimes it gets a little grim around here, and I have to actually lower myself to point out that I have just MADE A JOKE. The delayed, pained, fake laughter that ensues is never really all that satisfying.

  4. Hey BlogLily! Don’t think I’ve commented here before.

    Just an addendum to (4) you may or not be aware of–but interesting nonetheless. By age five, children have already learnt over 40 vowels and consonants, over 300 ways of combining them to produce syllables, and dozens of patterns of stress and tones of voice. And by three, most children have already mastered the basic pronunciation system. Even at only one year old, before learning to speak, babies learn a lot about sounds, particularly basic phonetic functions, as a base on which to start learning to speak. Even as young as two months, babies are learning to perceive different tones of voices.

    I find language acquisition in babies and children fascinating, personally. (And have read loads about it–I could go on about it all day.)

    Just thought you might find that interesting.

    Anyway. Strengths? I don’t know–I think I’m more aware of my weaknesses. But that would be a huge cop-out. I guess I’m pretty adept at finding creative and “out of the box” approaches to writing about otherwise mundane situations (something that, I think, keeps my blog just barely above the uninteresting mark).

  5. Here are thee of my writing strengths:

    1. I forget words all of the time and I have to come up with creative ways articulating the meaning of the words I have forgotten. This makes me seem more eloquent than I am in real life.

    2. In my wife I have an excellent and enthusiastic editor. For us, my writing is a cottage industry.

    3. There is a wonderful cafe in San Jose’s “Little Portugal,” where I go to write. Usually I am the only patron who doesn’t speak Portugese, so that the noise of television on the wall, and the banter around me captures my attention but doesn’t hold it for long. It is perfect for an easily distracted person like me.

    BD

  6. Love your list, bloglily, and glad to see a new post from you (you may have been posting for quite a while, but I’ve been an infrequent blog traveler lately). I’ll have to think about my writing strengths. Lately, I’ve only been aware of the flaws– but that’s a bad habit to get into.

  7. “and not have them come to me three days later, when I’m making brownies and don’t have a pen handy.”

    I think your sense of humor is also a strength!

    peace and love

    Q

    Mine?
    love doing it
    persistence
    straightforwardness
    social consciousness
    brevity

  8. I appreciate your honesty about your fiction writing. I myself have drawn great strength from authors such as Gaiman, Pratchett, and one other more recent author, David Dent of Alex Webster and The Gods. He is a wonderful author who had inspired my creative juices to flow agian.

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