Thursday, January 23, 2014

Analyzing your Writing Strengths and Weaknesses

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

At the beginning of this New Year I spent some serious time reflecting on my writing career and assessed what I felt my strengths and weaknesses were so that I could build on those in order to grow professionally and personally.

Here’s what I determined:

·         I’m passionate about writing in general, particularly family/parenting based columns that are flavored with humor.
·         I thoroughly enjoy interviewing people and businesses for the articles I write.
·         My imagination is one of my best friends.
·         I’m a published author once—I can do it again!
·         I’ve been a writer for the same wonderful magazines for nearly 15 years and can now add Macmillan Publishers to my list of writing employers.
·         Reading books about writing is one of my favorite ways to spend some free time.

·         My writing is not as “tight” as I know it could be.
·         I’m nowhere as organized as I’d like to be therefore I end up rushed at deadline.
·         I don’t devote serious time to finishing my novel due to those daily distractions called “life”.
·         I’d love to earn my living writing full-time, but I don’t take the necessary steps to make that happen.

So as not to overwhelm myself with too many lofty writing intentions this year, I chose three areas to focus on for the first 6 months and 2 to focus on for the entire year:

·         Organization

·         Tightening my thoughts with less of a word count

·         Look for more ways to get published

Yearlong Intentions:

·         Write daily or as often as possible

·         Finish my novel

How am I going to fulfill these intentions you ask?  For starters, I am going to read more.  Not just books about improving my craft but genres that pique my interest (mainly mysteries and thrillers), non-fiction, biographies, magazine pieces and as many on-line articles ranging in topics from A to Z.  Reading opens the flood gates for inspired creativity.

As I shared in last week’s blog post on getting organized, I’ve already cleaned up my computer files and created fresh folders for my latest projects, deleted files that have been cluttering up my computer for far too long, and I have begun purging my actual writer’s crate with a personal deadline of February 15th to have it revamped and much more “writer” friendly.  And as far as tightening my writing—well, that’s only going to happen with practice, and that means writing daily or as often as possible.

Lastly, in hopes of getting published more this year I am very excited to be entering some writing contests this year.  Years ago I went through a phase where I entered several writing contests, and I actually won three of them—two were paid essays in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. 

My post next week will delve into the pros of writing contests and some legitimate sites that I will share so that if you, too, wish to explore this avenue you’ll have some information available.

What about you?  Do you have any short or long-term writing goals that you hope to accomplish this year?   

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