If Walks Could Talk: Weaknesses

M.H. Norris

Before I get started today, I want to take a second to thank Robert Wronski and the crew over at the Television Crossover Universe Podcast for their kind words about the blog here at 18thWall.com. I appreciated it, guys.

When I was a young writer, and to be honest this phase lasted until about half-way through my first year of college, I thought I was a great writer.

These days?

These days I laugh at how little I knew and how much I thought I know. But I think that’s a curse on new writers who haven’t quite gotten a wakeup call. That call can come in a variety of ways and for me it came from a couple of writing groups who were honest and told me where I could improve.

This came to mind along with a conversation I had with someone a few months ago about writing. There was a bit of the conversation where we were arguing about writing preferences and they pointed out that I didn’t know everything about writing.

I’m going to be real honest with you all right here. I do not know everything about writing nor do I claim to. I’ll admit I’ve spent a considerable amount of time studying the craft but I have a ways to go.

Malcolm Gladwell is known for saying that it takes roughly 10 thousand hours to master a skill.

That is 416 days’ worth of time.

I turned around and said to the person, “I’ll admit that I don’t know everything—but can you admit it?”

And they refused, claiming they knew what they were doing.

Confession time with Mary Helen. Half the time, I can’t read my stuff when it comes out because I tend to see the flaws in my writing.

While I was snowed in this past weekend, I was looking at my All the Petty Myths story and comparing it to Badge City: Notches. I was trying to figure out what I did wrong in Notches that I could avoid in my current project.

I spent a couple hours thinking over my weaknesses and trying to find ways to improve them. And I’ll tell you right now, that’s not an easy task. As a writer, you’ve got to be not only your biggest cheerleader, but also your biggest critic. And I struggle with being the former.

Week after week, I’ve sat here and talked to you about various aspects of writing, giving you my thoughts and muses on whatever topic I happen to pick that week. And I do enjoy getting to sit down and type out my thoughts.

I’ll admit that B-stories are a weak spot of mine. I see the potential they have to enhance a story but I struggle weaving one into my own work. That might help me to meet word count goals because at times I struggle to find words and reach the reasonable margin that is within what someone wants for a project.

For my All the Petty Myths story, I’ve been playing with a couple ideas, weighing the pros and cons of each option while looking at how it best would fit into each story.

And it’s a struggle, but I’m forcing myself to fight that uphill battle because I know that facing my weaknesses head on will help me to get where I want to be. Someday, I want to be on the bestsellers list.

To do that I have to face the weak spots in my writing head on.

So here’s my challenge for you this week, and I’ll admit, it’s not going to be easy.

But take a look at your writing. Find your weak spots and make a plan to work on them.

Writing is a craft where you have to be constantly learning, constantly improving. Isn’t that the half the fun?

Good luck.