A few months ago, I wrote about endings.

Endings are my weakness. Well, they used to be my weakness, till I started focusing on them. Now they’re often much better and stronger than my beginnings. With practice, I’ve managed to evolve a stronger ending with decent pacing, and that doesn’t fall flat (most of the time. No one’s perfect.).

The point of this post isn’t actually about endings, though. It’s about knowing your weaknesses as a writer. Where do you fall short? I know my rough points. I am a teller instead of a shower (which is okay, but can be a weakness at times), and tend towards ambiguity.

In order to defeat these tendencies, I practice, and I ask other people for their opinions.

I like to imagine that this is my reader, right now.

Sometimes, when I write, I try to catch my problems ahead of time, but when it comes to a first draft, it’s going to need help anyway–so just writing it is far more important. You can do this, too. It’s relatively easy, and even easier if you have a thick skin to critique from another person.
  • Step one: Write your first draft. Don’t worry about style. Just get it all out on your laptop, computer, tablet, notebook, loose leaf paper, etc. Just write it all out until you can’t write any more.
  • Step two: If you do have a beta reader or editor, send it off to them and wait for their response. If you don’t, find someone. Preferably someone in the industry or someone who just loves to read.
  • Step three: Take their critique seriously, but don’t take it to heart. That’s the key ingredient to feedback. Understand that YOU do not suck. Your work does not suck (maybe it does but ignore that because who cares–suck is a matter of opinion, anyway). Your work needs work. Everyone’s does! Even Faulkner’s first drafts needed work. So put your ego aside and take it all in as things that will make you better.
  • Step four: Identify your weaknesses. This will help you with your next edit, draft, and even your next first draft.
  • Step five: Keep practicing, and repeat as needed.
Seriously, that’s all there is to it. Your biggest obstacle in this is you. You are the only one who can put aside your feelings and choose to learn. 
To this day, I enjoy it when someone edits my work. All they do is help me identify where I need to grow, and how I can turn the ideas in my head into something that other people will enjoy.
Don your thick skin and send that first draft to someone who can give you unflinching and honest feedback. Use it to enhance your writing and raise your awareness of your weaknesses so you can turn them into strengths.
I’m a writer and kind of foolish. If you enjoy absurdities and the occasional heartfelt post, follow me on Twitter. I’m also on Facebook.

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