We are a quirky bunch-that’s for sure. Every writer has different habits, unique strengths, and mistakes they always make in their work. For example, some can’t get started without a cup of coffee. Some always forget when to use “that” or “which.” And in some cases, these quirks severely limit a writer’s success.
Knowing your own habits, flaws, mistakes, and strengths can help you compensate for your limitations, and work with your own natural strengths and rhythms. In other words, knowing yourself as a writer can make you a better writer and help you achieve your goals. To get to know your writer-self a little better, consider the following three areas of your work.
1. Your Mistakes
Knowing the issues that trip you up can help you eliminate the problem before it becomes a problem. If you default to the passive voice, and you know this is a problem for you, then you can specifically look for these issues when you self-edit your work. To determine the mistakes you make all the time, ask a writer-friend for objective feedback on your grammar, punctuation, and style; or have your work professionally copyedited and look for trends in the editor’s comments. Then you’ll know what to fix before you submit your work for publication.
2. Your Strengths
Like knowing your weaknesses, knowing your strengths can help you achieve your writing goals-and make writing easier. If you can write essays with your eyes closed, or you can plot a murder mystery in minutes, then you should be capitalizing on those strengths. When you know what type of work you like to do the best, then you will naturally gravitate towards those projects and specialize in a way that sets you apart from other writers. This is why it never hurts to experiment with different genres and forms-you may find you have a knack for writing short stories or plays or feature articles.
3. Your Work Habits
Some writers work best early in the morning and others like waiting until everyone else in the household has gone to sleep before they sit down to write. Knowing and understanding your rhythms can help you plan your writing time around your most productive and creative hours of the day. To figure out when you write best, pay attention for a few days to when you feel most inspired, when the words come the easiest, and when you feel like writing. Every writer is different, although none should hesitate to plan their day around their writing.
Getting to know yourself as a writer-the good and the bad-can make you a better, smarter, and more successful writer. Knowing the mistakes you make over and over again lets you know what to look for when you revise. Knowing your strengths helps you make them stand out; and understanding your work habits helps you increase productivity. When you use these tips for getting to know you as a writer, your work will get better and you’ll achieve your writing goals.