This past week I didn't write at all. There was a pretty good reason for it though. I was busy making a cake for a baby shower that I co-hosted with my BFF.
Yes, it took nearly all week to make the cake. I started Tuesday night and just minutes before the shower on Friday evening I completed the final assembly.
As far as cake decorating is concerned I took one class with my mom as a teenager. But I've never taken any classes in fondant - I'm entirely self-taught.
So you probably think the cake is pretty amazing, right?
Well, the guests did too.
But you know what?
All I saw were the imperfections. Everything I could have done differently. The things I could have changed to improve it.
As I pondered this, it made me think of the writing process. Why can't we writers just be proud of our hard work and effort? Why must we always look at the errors?
We're so focused on fixing what is wrong that we loose sight of what's right.
Maybe, just maybe, if we focused on the positive - the things that make our writing fantastic - we might not be so derailed by the negative and we'd be encouraged to keep pressing forward.
Perhaps we think we're being narcissistic if we admit our writing is good.
It's silly though because it really is ok to admit we've excelled at something. I even think it's healthy.
One of my writing strengths is dialog. The exchanges come off as natural - completely unforced. While I occasionally might have a few extra tags or beats, that's ok because the bones are there. And those tags can easily be removed.
Even though I might not be perfect at dialog, the strength I have in it reminds me of my talent when the rest of the manuscript sucks.
Just like my cake wasn't perfect, it's ok to admit that it was an amazing effort (especially since it was only my second attempt with fondant). You know what else? The cake tasted wonderful too. All moist and yummy with chocolate creme filling. Knowing that my cake not only looked beautiful but tasted delicious too, gives me the courage to try again. Maybe next time it will be even better. Because I've learned from my weaknesses as well as my strengths.
In the end, whether it's a slice of cake or a wedge of words, we should always search for the sweet part because that's what will move us forward. Not the bad stuff.
What are your writing strengths? I know you've got them! And it's ok to admit them. I won't think you're vain. In fact, I'll even applaud each and every admission!