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Discovering Your Strengths as a Writer

Updated: Jul 8



“This other author makes it look easy!” 


In publishing, I hear this statement on a regular basis. The other author is usually someone who the speaker admires. “It” can be anything – writing quickly, using strong visual language, or marketing a bestseller are a few options that come to mind. Every time I hear that statement, my heart breaks. 


Today, I would like to show you how to explore your artistic strengths, understand the ways you work, and show you how to use your strengths to keep improving. 


You have Writing Strengths 

Every writer has unique strengths, and that includes you.  Your strengths are the parts of the writing process that you enjoy, styles that you gravitate to, and genres that you find entertaining. 


Kathleen Templeton is a strong teacher. She has served as a substitute teacher for years and enjoys creating engaging teaching content. Her debut middle-grade novel, Jar of Tears, educates readers about the process of grieving through an example: the ten-year-old artist Mira. She shows the highs and lows of a girl grieving her mother. Kirkus Reviews found the writing effective, saying, “This Christian-centered story deftly limns the conflicting emotions of kids who have experienced loss.” 


Some other examples of strengths of famous writers are: 

  • William Shakespeare's mastery of language 

  • Jane Austen’s social commentary and use of satire 

  • Agatha Christie’s use of clues and complex plots 

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s insightful theming and symbolism 


Taking Strengths Assessments 

Different strengths assessments can help you understand how your mind works. At Siretona Creative, we use two assessment tools: Working Genuis and Kolbe. While these are not designed specifically for writers, you can apply them to your writing process. 


Working Genius demonstrates how you fit into a project. Each person has two geniuses (parts of a process that give them energy), two competencies (parts of a process that they could take or leave), and two frustrations (parts of a process that will tire them). Those components fit together like gears in a chain. 


We have found that many of our authors have a genius for wonder. This is the genius at the start of a project that asks questions and explores ideas. People with a genius for wonder may be told to “get their heads out of the clouds” and “start working already.”

  

Kolbe assesses your method of operation. It examines how you look at information, how you organize systems, how you deal with risk, and how you handle tangible things. It also shows the instinctive order you have when working on projects. 


I start with fact-finding, or gathering information and details. Colleen starts with quick-starting or experimenting with possibilities. Our thinking styles may differ, but they complement each other.  


You might be wondering, “What is the best Working Genius or Kolbe profile for a writer?” There is not one. These assessments examine your processes, not what you can produce. Anybody can become a great writer. 


Looking at Your Past Work 

Comparing the first draft of a manuscript to an award-winning published book may not be an accurate reflection of writing skill. Instead, compare your current work to something you wrote a few years ago. 


You will find there are things you would do differently now. You would phrase a sentence in an unusual way or find another perspective for a piece of writing. The most prolific and notable authors were once where you are today. You can use your strengths to achieve your writing goals. 


Building on Your Strengths 

Your strengths make your writing unique. To build on them, set goals related to your strengths. 

  • If you enjoy research, write a paragraph combining information from two sources that do not clearly go together 

  • If you enjoy organizing, create a plan to write every day for a month 

  • If you enjoy communication, join a critique group, and give three people feedback 


I would like you to remember two universal truths of writing. 

  1. Nobody loves all the books they read. 

  1. Somebody loves every book that is published. 

That means that there is somebody out there who will love what you write. You may not know who they are yet, but they are out there! Keep writing, and your strengths will let you achieve great heights. 

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