In this post, I brainstorm how to address my weaknesses as a writer. I’ll look into which weaknesses are best to accept and manage vs. which weaknesses need to be addressed by upskilling myself.
I’ll begin by recapping the weaknesses I had outlined in an earlier post.
My Weaknesses as a Writer
All the writing I have done until now has been limited to documenting software, asking and answering technical questions, and stating/defending a thesis.
I don’t have much experience in creative non-fiction. I lack the vocabulary to express deep emotions and different states of being. I’m sure my lack of vocabulary will show in many other places once I start writing more, but these are the ones I’m aware of.
Power of Expression
I struggle with adding variety and color to my sentences to keep the reader engaged.
I also struggle to find the right words and expressions to describe emotions, different states of mind, natural scenery, and social interactions.
I learned formal grammar in school but I’ve forgotten almost all of it. I write by the ear which works out most of the time, but there are times when I don’t know exactly why one sequence of words sounds right and another sequence doesn’t. I know there’s some underlying grammar rule but I don’t know which.
I don’t want to become a grammar expert but I’d like to know just enough grammar to understand the basic rules that are involved in constructing sentences.
My observation skills are a bit of a roller coaster. There are times when I am very observant and then there are times when I’m completely zoned out.
I want to make observation a practice. I want to be aware of the times when I am able to pay attention and the times when I’m not and I want to gradually increase the times when I’m attentive.
Knowing what I’m feeling
Certain life circumstances caused my feelings to completely numb out. There are times when I don’t clearly know what I’m feeling about a certain situation or interaction. It’s like, I just feel completely blank and confused.
Maybe this was a survival response to certain overwhelming situations in the past. It probably kept me safe from feeling too much. But this response is no longer needed. I am glad I’m aware of it. With this awareness, I can make a plan to address it.
Scattered journal entries
Over the past 15+ years, I have used multiple software and paper books to maintain my journal. I did not index them for a very long time and I’m still struggling to find the correct way to index, store, and tag my entries.
I want to consolidate all my journals and photographs in a way that I can easily find what I’m looking for.
This has been a life-long struggle for me. I often filled with self-doubt and it hampers my writing and life. I know I need to do something about it. I don’t know how, but I have started working with affirmations recently. The plan is to try out a method, see how it’s working, experiment, and keep trying.
A Strategy to Address the Weaknesses
I’ve realized that it’s very easy to get overwhelmed when there’s a lot to do. So I have created some simple foundational principles to prevent overwhelm and enjoy the process of getting better at my craft.
- The 1% better everyday rule.
- The 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle).
- Focus on the process and not just the goals.
- Track how well I’m following the process.
- Periodically, track progress.
With these principles in mind, I am going to list all the weaknesses I want to address and prioritize them by their impact on my writing.
- Observation skills
- Ability to know exactly what I’m feeling
- Power of expression
- Scattered journal entries
- Formal grammar
All of the above points are important but there does exist a hierarchy.
I need to observe more details and know how I feel about it before finding the right words and phrases to express it. That’s the reason “observation” and “ability to know exactly what I’m feeling” precede “vocabulary” and “power of expression.”
Confidence is important because it has the power to change the lens through which I see the world. I know because I can extrapolate based on the slight variation in confidence that I have personally experienced. Confidence also makes life and work more enjoyable. The mind and body feel healthy when I’m confident and sluggish when I’m not. Confidence is very important, but I haven’t put it at the top because I feel that improving my observation skills, ability to know what I’m feeling, better vocabulary and power of expression, will all have a positive effect on my confidence. I think I will feel more confident as I find my true voice. However, I do need to address confidence in a more direct way also.
The scattered journal entries need to be addressed but are not a huge priority because even without consolidating them, I will still be able to find the information I’m looking for. It’s just that I’ll have to put in a lot more effort. It’s not urgent but does need to be addressed in small consistent ways.
Formal grammar is the last on the list because I can get by with my technique of writing by the ear. However, I do want to improve my understanding of grammar rules. I’ll address it with the same strategy I use to deal with the scattered journal entries.
In this post, I listed and prioritized my weaknesses as a writer. In the next post, I’ll further break each weakness into smaller parts and create a detailed strategy to address them.