Finding My Strengths and Weaknesses as a Writer

Day 9/31: Blog Your Own Book Challenge

Parag Shah
4 min readAug 9, 2020


Photo by Victor Xok on Unsplash

This is my ninth post for the Blog Your Own Book Challenge. In the previous post, I started doing a SWOT analysis of myself as a writer. Since I have already determined the topics I want to write in, I’m going to focus on doing the SWOT analysis for that list. In fact, I’m going to further narrow down the list and include only those topics that I want to write in 2020.

The list below shows my initial topics and the four I’ve selected for 2020. The selected ones are in bold.

  1. Writing based on my life and personal experiences
  2. Journaling & therapeutic writing
  3. Self-love and self-care
  4. Travel
  5. Energy work and spirituality
  6. Divination
  7. Ancient Indian history
  8. Living in close to nature
  9. Tiny homes

I wrote these four topics on a piece of paper and started free-writing my strengths and weaknesses in a stream of consciousness kind of way.

I read the list a couple of times, thought logically through it, made a few changes, and came up with what I believe are my strengths and weaknesses in being able to write good prose on these topics. I’ve listed them below.


  1. I’ve had a bit of a roller coaster of a life and an abundance of lemons. The thought of turning lemons into lemonade feels quite exciting. There have been lessons learned the hard way, strange experiences, interesting travels, highs, lows, and more. Since I’ve worked for the majority of my life as an independent software developer, I’ve had the opportunity to work with different teams on different types of projects. I’ve worked in different capacities and have also tried my hands building a software startup. All of these are good sources for articles and stories.
  2. I’ve been journaling for about a decade and a half. I have several thoughts on how a journal can be a companion, therapist, and guide through this journey of life. I’ve tried different types of journaling techniques and also used different software as well as simple paper journals. I’ve learned a few things about journaling in the process and would love to share it with others.
  3. Having personally experienced the ill-effects of not loving myself and caring for myself enough I can relate to many others who find themselves in the same boat, so to say. I have also experienced the healing that occurs when you begin to love and care for yourself. It’s been a lesson learned the very hard way and a topic that’s very close to my heart. I want to write about this to encourage drowning givers, who continue to give without replenishing their own resources, to put themselves first. Very often all that’s needed for such a person is to read stories of other people similar to them. I know because that’s what helped me and I intend to pay it forward.
  4. I enjoy traveling and reading travelogues. Even though I have not read many travelogues in recent years, it’s a genre that I’d like to revive in my reading list and also write summaries of great travelogues that I come across. I have had some interesting travel experiences myself that I can use to write my own travelogues.
  5. I’ve been engaged in some sort of writing for the past twenty years and even though there are many areas where I need to improve my writing skills, I can put this experience to good use.


  1. I lack the vocabulary and the power of expression to correctly express emotions and different states of being.
  2. There were several times in my life when I went emotionally numb. Even if I did try to express those times, the only thing I remember and feel is numbness.
  3. My journal entries are scattered across several software and notebooks. It will be a huge task to get them all together in proper order. I‘ve also lost several entries in a hard-disk crash.
  4. I’ve made travel journeys when I did not take sufficient photographs or in some cases, I did not take any photographs at all. In retrospect, I wish I had because it would have made it easier to write about them. I’ve also lost photographs in the hard-disk crash.
  5. Similar to the difficulty in expressing certain emotions, I also struggle to find the right words to describe a city, a town, a landscape, or some other natural setting like a sunrise or sunset. I don’t have a sufficient range of vocabulary to take a reader on a journey with me through my travelogue.
  6. I write by the ear and even though I can manage to write without too many grammatical mistakes, my knowledge of formal grammar is limited. I’ve forgotten pretty much everything I learned in high school about English grammar. I still don’t get all my commas right and I often struggle to align tenses properly in a sentence.
  7. Finally, I lack the confidence to write boldly, which is how I want to write.

At some level, I was always aware of these strengths and weaknesses but there’s something to actually writing them down. It makes them more real. And articulating them gives me a chance to understand how I can work to my strengths and bridge the gap of my mistakes.

For tomorrow’s post, I plan to analyze the “opportunities” and “threats” that I have as a writer.

Thank you for reading!



Parag Shah

I write about 'swadharma' and living your truth.