Strengths and weaknesses – we’ve all got them. And now that you know how to identify yours, it’s time to talk about to how to progress your writing by developing those strong and weaker areas.
Partner with others.
It can be intimidating to reach out to the writing community, but you’ll find some of your most valuable learning tools there – your critique partners and beta readers!
As you ingratiate yourself, pay close attention to what others post. Through hashtag challenges like #FridayKiss, #1lineWed and #WedWIPAesthetic, you will be able to see snippets of their work and where their personal strengths lie. If it’s different than yours, you have something to learn from that person.
So reach out to those who inspire or intimidate you. Ask to partner with them to exchange lessons learned. It’s been the most effective way I’ve advanced my craft.
Unsure of where to start? Check out these tips for using social media to connect with other writers.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: reading makes you a better writer. If you know your weaknesses, you can keep an eye out for how a published author handles them and mimic their technique until it becomes your own.
It’s similar to the above in learning from others, but in this case, you obviously can’t actually discuss with the author in question. To get you started though, last year I wrote a post outlining twelve questions to ask yourself while reading to learn how to apply their practices to your own writing.
I’ve also got a list of must-have writing reference books coming next week – a great tool to help you grow!
Deconstruct your rejection letters.
Rejections are never fun. Actually, they pretty much just suck. But they serve as a fantastic teaching tool and even as a motivator. It usually involves taking a step back to redefine your measure of success, evaluate what you did wrong, congratulate yourself on what you did right, and making a plan for next steps.
In rejection letters, it can go one step further – especially if you get specific feedback from an agent or editor. That insight can give you concrete areas to focus on in your next draft.
While you often may be tempted to only focus on the “no” or the negative, you can often mine for tiny bits of gold within your rejections letters and use that to help you grow and bounce back. Here’s how.
Don’t neglect your strengths.
So far we’ve been talking a lot about developing weaknesses, but just because you’re strong in other areas doesn’t mean you can’t get even stronger. It’s also really important not to forget this step because working on just your weaknesses can bring your confidence down. Acknowledge your strengths, and you’ll instantly feel more fulfilled and more sure of forward movement.
Luckily you can apply the above to developing your strengths too. But there are a few others that are important to remember, and they’re simple:
- Keep practicing what you love to write alongside where you struggle.
- Nourish your strengths with new sources of inspiration and energy.
- Continue to push yourself. Don’t get lazy!
If you weave these practices into your daily life (not just when it comes to writing), you’ll be sure to grow in key areas and become even better at what you love.