The past two months, I've been in the revising trenches. Every other day I note some glitch or wonky writerly thing I do. And once a week I ask, "What do I do well?" My answer? The annoying sound of crickets.
Last night I decided enough was enough. My internal voice (IV) and I (Self) had a chat...
Self: Surely there is something I do well. I mean, my stories can't be full of homonym errors and long passages of pointless dribble.
IV: Well, technically they could be...
Self: Every writer has strengths. Don't they?
IV: Not necessarily. I mean, look at that one writer--
Self: Yes, every writer has something they do well. I'm a writer, therefore I have strengths. Right?
I flipped through the Diyari Chronicle, taking in the purple-pen scribbles and arrows.
Self: Ah! I'm good at writing creepy scenes with my bad guys. I guess all those hours hanging out with inmates and five year olds has paid off.
IV: I miss those inmates. I remember the one guy said, "Thugs need love too." Ah, you can't make up stuff like that.
Self: Focus! *snaps fingers* Look at this. I'm good at ending chapters with a bit of a cliffhanger.
IV: Yeh, you do alright with that. Dan Brown does better, but you can hold your own. You make me want to go to the next chapter.
Self: Okay. Let's see, what else? Oh! I'm good at pacing. Sure sometimes I get things scrambled. But the overall story trajectory moves forward, smooth and steady...tension rising.
IV: *buffs fingernails on shirt* Yeah, I kept reading it. You let me rest after tension, but not too much. You know I don't like too much down time.
Self: How could I forget with you yapping in my ear all the time? Geez! I can't hear my own thoughts.
IV: I am your thoughts.
Self: Yes, that's unfortunate. Anywhoooo...every now and again I'm good at showing, not telling. I mean the passage I posted on my Friday Five showed Azer's anxiety. I really liked that paragraph.
IV: Yep, it was creepy. Kinda Stephen King, red rum'ish, but not.
Self: Uh. Okay. Whatever. *swipes sweat from brow* This is good. I'm not a complete loser.
IV: No, not a complete loser, but--
Self: Don't even. This is about what I'm good at. I think I spend enough time lamenting the bad. I should be allowed to celebrate the good. Seeing the good prevents discouragement. And I get to see that I am growing as a writer.
IV: Are we going to have to roast marshmallows and sing that stupid camp song? Because I'm really not in the mood for that tonight.
Self: Why do I keep you around?
IV: I make you laugh. *smiles*
IV: Are you saying I'm not funny?
Self: Okay, flisters, what writerly skills do you ROCK, NAIL, OWN? If I can think of some positives, I know you can. Let's hear it.