As a writer, I always strive to be better—and in some categories, the best. I believe that understanding my writing strengths and weaknesses helps me improve my writing skills and become a master of this art.
If one doesn’t understand their strengths and weaknesses in writing, it means they can’t genuinely edit their work and cannot pinpoint areas that need improvement and those that are their strengths.
Constant self-evaluation is the passe-partout of any practice or line of work, but to accurately evaluate yourself you have to know what you’re looking for.
Every writer has strengths and weaknesses. For example, you might have a rich vocabulary—which you efficiently use—or showcase good usage of literary devices. Those two would be called strengths in your writing.
You might also have weaknesses in your writing such as lack of coherence, long-winded sentences, and organization.
Let us delve further into writing strengths and weaknesses and understand how you can use your strengths and overcome your weaknesses!
8 Must-Have Strengths for a Writer
It is also important to know and have some particular strengths as a writer to be more than an ordinary writer.
Here are some of those essential strengths:
Focus is essential in almost everything you do. Without focus, you could have the best skill set and still produce average work dues to errors and complacency.
Every writer wants to stay focused, but it’s not easy. You have to teach yourself to stay focused, whether it involves conditioning your body or tricking your mind.
Do whatever is necessary and within healthy limits. When you start writing and reading routinely, your body and mind start responding to them as the normal order of your day.
Enough sleep and a cup of coffee also help you maintain focus during your writing sessions.
And, get rid of distractions! Put down your phone, turn off your Wi-Fi, and get away from your Tele.
2. A Rich, Diverse Vocabulary
We are not talking about having a rich vocabulary only, but also using the words expeditiously.
This diverse vocabulary should make you write pieces that are not readable and make your readers slave through their reading.
So, you should always make sure that you choose (from this excellent vocabulary and diverse word choice) the right and unique choice of words that would look appealing to your readers.
You have to keep learning new words and the correct usage of those words.
3. A Burning Passion for Reading
I hear a lot of writers—self-published writers to be specific—say that they don’t like reading. For them, writing is a natural talent that doesn’t need to be nourished by reading.
One thing they are oblivious of is that without reading, they can’t understand what they are doing wrong, what they’re doing right, and other things that made other writers successful.
These types of writers put themselves in a “box.”
By reading other people’s works, you get to see writing from different perspectives and you can analyze your writing, a vantage point that helps you perfect your writing skills.
You don’t even have to buy these reading resources because they’re gazillions of blogs, eBooks, novels, and others online.
4. Organized Writing that Follows a Logical Flow
If whatever you’re writing doesn’t flow and therefore isn’t coherent, it is nothing but utter rubbish!
Your writing needs to show a naturally logical progression of thought and must be easy to read for the intended audience. If the progression doesn’t make sense to your reader, then who are you writing for?
Your thoughts should be linked within and between paragraphs. The use of transitional words facilitates this purpose. Words such as “however,” “also,” “yet,” and “although,” among others help you show these transitions.
You should aim at making it easy for your readers to navigate and read through your content.
Organized writing is an essential strength for a writer. The way you present your ideas in sentences and paragraphs impacts the readability and navigability of your content.
Make sure your sentences are short and your paragraphs just meaty enough for the ideas presented in them—and avoid run-on sentences.
Your content needs to have enough signposts and breaks. Be efficient with headings and subheadings, and have so many if the information keeps changing from paragraph to paragraph to make it easy for your readers to find the right information in your content.
For professional writers, creativity is of the greatest essence. It is even more indispensable for fiction writers.
Our goal as writers is not to bore our readers to death. We always have to think out of the box to craft pieces that will win the hearts of the readers and make them want more of our content.
A good and wonderworking—and sometimes libertine—imagination is necessary to craft unique, stirring pieces.
Sometimes, you have to let your imagination wander off and come back with crazy and wild ideas. If you’re a fiction writer, let your imagination help you create a unique world, with unique characters, using your own nomenclature!
Remember, there’s no single rule on what kind of imagination is bad or good in creative writing.
There are various ways of increasing one’s creativity, but I have discovered that I’m more creative when I take time to appreciate other pieces of art before I start writing. Before I write I listen to some music, read poetry, or just look at a painting.
It’s not for everyone, but it works for me!
Your writing should be as clear as a summer day, as lucid as you can make it.
This element goes hand in hand with the organized writing I discussed in strength number 4, your writing should be clear enough for your readers to grasp and appreciate the ideas in your content quickly.
For blogs, newspaper articles, and magazine pieces, writing chunky paragraphs is—for lack of a word—taboo. You should always be conservative with the size of your paragraph and be straightforward with your explanations.
Just make your writing simple but comprehensible.
7. A Unique Writing Style
One thing all successful writers have in common is a unique style. For example, when you read anything by Dr. Seuss, you understand that his style involved the use of mirthful new words. The best writers write using a distinguished voice or style.
You have to discover your writing style—and for many, it just happens naturally and in some cases, it’s the readers or critics that notice the uniqueness of the writer.
8. Understanding Your Audience
We write because it’s our passion, but if we think about it, that is rarely the sole reason for writing and publishing our work.
We want our audience to love our content or appreciate the message in it. So, it’s all about our interests, but also the needs of our audience.
If you want to make your audience happy, you have to know what they like first. Dr. Seuss understood what kids want to read and what characters would work well with a young audience. If you’re writing on a tech-related topic, tech experts and geeks like; likewise, if you’re about MLS, know what soccer fans like.
Armed with that knowledge, you can craft pieces that strike a chord with your target audience, leading to the success of those pieces.
Weaknesses in Writing and Ways to Overcome Them
1. Lack of substance
You might be a yeasty writer with much-needed experience, but if your writing lacks substance, it’s bound to run into negative reviews, and hence it is going to be less impactful!
This is especially crucial for nonfiction content, if your writing straggles and wanders all over the place, your content will be shallow.
For your content to have depth, you have to concentrate on one particular argument at a time.
And, to give your argument more depth, give supporting points and sprinkle some stats here and there.
How do you deal with the lack of substance in your writing?
Here are some tips:
- Focus on the depth of your arguments rather than the length of your article (you could have a cherry-sized paragraph that is more insightful than a chunky paragraph).
- Use literary devices to make your arguments more perspicuous.
- Use stats, case studies, or research findings to further exemplify your key arguments (use infographics where necessary).
- Your content should answer questions relevant to the topic.
- Offer tips to readers.
2. Your Writing Is Too Draggy for Your Readers
Among the 8 strengths that I explained in the previous section was understanding your audience.
If you don’t understand your audience or ignore them when writing, you end up communicating with nobody.
It’s like you’re speaking to yourself, in a big hall!
As said in the previous section, we write to touch our audience in some way; whether we want them to laugh, inspire them, inform them, or educate them.
It is a terrible idea to think that you write for yourself! If that’s the case, why don’t you just hang your content on your wall?
Here are some tips for polishing draggy content:
- Understand who you’re writing for and write for them. It doesn’t matter who (it could be you, your imaginary friends, anybody!).
- Write to solve the audience’s problems. Your writing should be a solution to your reader’s pain, personal struggles, and it should also improve their lives in some way.
3. Lack of Rhythm
Ignore the importance of rhythm at your peril. In truth, writing cannot entertain without rhythm, especially creative writing.
Just like in music, rhythm steers writing and acts as a guide for the reader.
Readers can feel your writing’s rhythm and that alone can be stimulating (that is if your writing has rhythm).
If your content lacks rhythm the pace seems invariable, it neither speeds up nor slows down.
The content also seems to lack a lot of natural pauses.
This is how you can improve it:
- While paying attention to context, mix up your sentence lengths; a long one here, a short there.
- Use transition words to maneuver the passage from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph.
4. Chaotic Flow
Imagine listening to a 5-year-old talk about all the wonderful things she experienced during the day: school, her cousin’s weird laughter, the dog’s thievery.
Unloading all that without any logical arrangement of information. None, at all!
I’d have said that that’s how your readers feel, but they are not listening to an adorable 5-year-old, are they?
They’re looking at a piece of writing—written by a supposedly mature individual—that’s full of hiccups and abrupt endings.
Your writing needs to be structured to unload information step by step. Your readers need to know that from A, they go to B. They need to know this is because of that, and this and that are related.
Your content has to answer your readers’ questions, give tips the reader would care about, and have contextual solutions.
Here are a few tips on improving flow in your writing:
- Go through your main points and ascertain whether they feel logical. If they aren’t, re-organize them in a logical order or start all over again.
- Look at the questions your content is answering and For every section, write down which question the content answers (or summarize in one bullet point)
- When editing, slowly survey the content for inconsistencies. There are little details you could miss if you read fast.
How to Turn Your Writing Weaknesses into Strengths
Nobody is perfect. We all have weaknesses. But, some of these writing weaknesses can be turned into strengths.
As a writer, how can you improve your writing?
- Ask for help. You can strengthen your writing skills on your own (no doubt about it), but it’s a lot less tedious when you reach out to other writers to help identify your weak areas and offer other insights.
- Read. Not only will you get an education from books and publications, but you’ll also find inspiration.
- Persevere. Perseverance can help you deal with problems such as writer’s block. It is also perseverance that will see you through periods during which you’re suffering from imposter syndrome.
Final Words on Strengths and Weaknesses in Writing
To be a better writer, you’ve got to know which areas to strengthen and which weaknesses to overcome.
You’ll—in abundance—focus, perseverance, creativity, and a lot of humility. It will be laborious work but worth every joule expended and every second used.
You have got to believe in yourself as a writer, but don’t let your confidence blind you—there will always be something that your writing is missing.