It's not serious.
Shut up and let him talk.
Ba dum dum dum!
Seriously though, welcome to a new year and to a new round of blog chain questions. I seem to say this alot, but the question posed by the ever-challenging Sandra is another one I found really difficult to answer:
What do you think your strengths and weaknesses as a writer are? Did you have to develop your strengths, or did they come naturally to you? How are you trying to overcome your weaknesses?
The hardest part for me (which I'm sure surprises nobody) was coming up with strengths. I hope I'm not alone in this, but identifying my strengths is a difficult task. With that in mind, I'll start with my weaknesses.
One weakness I have is not describing enough as I write. I have an image in my mind, but I either forget to put details in or I subconsciously assume the reader is seeing what I see. The good thing is that (thanks to recent critiques and people willing to tell me so) I am aware of the problem and am working on it.
Another of my weaknesses is the fact that I'm a pantster by nature. I HATE to sit down and write in an organized manner. In fact, it severely stifles my creative process. I can't do character profiles, I can't chart out where I'm going with a story (on first draft at least), and it causes me alot of problems. I leave out things and I find myself slamming into plot walls.
Probably the most important weakness I have is distraction. If I don't actively focus on the writing task at hand (or if I allow external things to distract me), I easily lose momentum. And once I get distracted, the quality of my writing plunges into ugly depths.
On the good side, I do have a few strengths. Being a pantster is a good thing for me, in some respects. I truly believe I find the story better by just writing it than by plotting it. I discover the characters better this way, and I am (in later drafts) able to refine them easier. I even surprise myself sometimes with where a story takes me, which I count as a plus since I figure if I didn't expect it, the reader won't either.
I believe I have a knack with creepy and suspenseful writing. It's something I enjoy, and I can tell when the writing is not quite in the zone, so to speak. I am also willing to sneak into the dark places where others might not tread. If I need a truly evil character, I have no problem making it so and not pulling any punches.
I'm getting much better at beginnings, whether it's the beginning of the story or just a new chapter. This wasn't always a strength, but I've worked on it and have improved. I can see when an opening line isn't going to catch the reader's attention as much and when it's really good.
The reason I titled this Schizophrenia is because I don't think I'm of one mind with regards to my writing yet. There are some weaknesses I have (which I'm improving on where I can) and there are some strengths (which I try to identify when I can, just for a pat on the back if nothing else). Probably the only thing that comes naturally to me where writing is concerned is the fact that I'm a multi-headed hydra trying to control and refine myself AND my writing.
At this point I'm going to turn it over to the illustrious Michelle McLean for her answer tomorrow. If you haven't had a chance to check out how Michelle Hickman answered yesterday, get on over there. She's awesome, and so is her answer.
As you think through this question yourself however, be careful. It's easy for us as writers to identify our weaknesses (and we probably see more than are really there). Take the time to identify your strengths as well, and make sure you celebrate them.