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A List of 7 Writing Strengths – Hold That Mighty Pen

A List of 7 Writing Strengths - Hold That Mighty PenSome say that writers are a different breed 😉 We often appear to be doing nothing when in fact we are busy in another world, plotting a whole new story. What to someone else is simply “staring into space” is a whole new book in the making for a writer. The crazy research that you see in your online browsing history was probably done by your writer friend – spouse – flatmate … Writers work hard, that’s probably how we end up with that list of writing strengths 🙂

The Ability to Sit Still and Type for Hours on End

Not many people can do that. It is recommended that you take a break every 30 minutes or so, stretch, or go for a short stroll. Nonetheless, when you are submerged in your story that break is not going to happen. In fact, that break may have to wait another two or three hours, or even more.

typing

There were days that I got so caught up in my writing that despite the hunger pangs I clearly felt  I kept on writing, because I was so inspired. I had to let it all out. That battle scene had to be written; the character’s personal struggles had to be explained; never mind my grumbling stomach. When inspiration flows, it flows, and you easily end up writing 3000 to 7000, or even 10,000 words in a day. It’s different for everyone, of course, but in my case, this has often happened.

After a while, I stop noticing that I have been sitting there for hours. I am no longer at my desk, because I have transported myself into the book I am creating and I am there with my main character. That chair I am sitting in is now far away …

in fantasy land

After all the writing is done, then I need to stretch (and eat!), and it is a long stretch, believe me 😉

Do Lots of Research, Have Loads of Homework Every Day

When you’re writing about a certain time period, or you want to include specific weapons, foods, clothing, and other items in your story, you need to do research.

A writer’s internet browsing history can sometimes look very suspicious, causing your partner or friend to consider calling the police 😉

Types of poison, quick ways to kill someone, most painful ways to die, how long does it take to drown, torture methods, and other dubious looking Google searches may all be part of a writer’s research. If you happen to see such a browsing history of your writing spouse or friend, there is no need to panic and assume that you are married to a serial killer. You are with a writer who is just doing some research for his/her story. What a relief, isn’t it? 😉

poison

Word Selection

I think that a thesaurus is one of a writer’s closest friends. Convey the action in the verb. Instead of saying “the mouse ran away”, use “the mouse scurried away” or instead of typing the word “big” you could write huge, enormous, gigantic, Godzilla-sized (I made that up 😉 ), and so on.

For many writers this comes naturally, but obviously we do need that thesaurus, especially when our work is ready and it needs to go through the editing stage.

Love of Reading

So far I have not come across a writer who doesn’t love to read. The advice to read a lot if you want to be a good writer is often given, and it makes sense.

Reading is always educational, not only concerning vocabulary, but also culture, history, ethics, etc. I learned a lot by reading books, for example: what not to do when I write. You pick that up especially when you read books that you do not like or enjoy so much …  Besides gathering excellent tips you can also take note not to repeat certain mistakes.

woman-in-hammock

Other books are throves of information, introducing you to historical characters you may not even have heard of, since they are not always mentioned in school curricula. Books like that have urged me to research more historical people that are lesser known but still made huge impacts on history or had fascinating life stories.

Some fiction books can teach you about science in a much more engaging way than school, if the author did his/her research 😉 I’m not a science buff, but I always found it much more interesting to read about science in fictional settings.

Gary Jennings’ books are a great example of historical fiction that just draws you in. His stories took place during and after the Spanish Invasion of the Aztec Empire, and the independence movement against New Spain.

Aztec-god-Quetzalcoatl

I read them all! He clearly knew a lot about Mexican history and its independence heroes, about the Mexicas (which was the original name of the Aztecs) and their culture, food, rituals, sacrifices, beliefs, and so on. Gary Jennings’ books are fantastic; real pageturners with strong characters, intriguing plots, and sometimes heartstopping moments while at the same time you learn a lot about Mexico and its bloody and fascinating history.


A Strong Desire to Learn

Many writers are always open to learning new things. They read, research, watch documentaries, and gain an understanding about topics that they may use for a work in progress or for an upcoming book.

For example, if you’re going to write a story about pirates, you will acquire knowledge of their history, their codes, insurance (yes, pirates had an insurance system, did you know that? 😉 ) Pirates have a fascinating history, I already researched it 🙂

pirate
Photo by Sergey Semin on Unsplash

When you are writing a book, your interest in learning something new will always be there, and even when you’re not writing, there will always be something that will intrigue you.

So often, I come across interesting news items that I end up perusing. All of it is information that can be used in a story.

Use Real Life Experiences as Inspiration for Fictional Stories

Always! It doesn’t matter what genre you write in. It could be romance, historical fiction, fantasy, horror, science fiction, erotica, paranormal, or any other genre; some real life experiences will appear in there. Character’s names and settings may change, but much advice or described events in books are not made up but come from real life experiences.

You know that saying? “Don’t annoy the writer. He/She may put you in a book and kill you horribly.” There is a lot of truth in that 😉 Well, perhaps not the killing part; not always, haha.

Perseverance

It is tough to get noticed as a writer. You may be incredibly talented and have astounding, phenomenal stories, but if you have bad marketing or no marketing experience, then no one is going to know about your books. Thousands of books are published every single day, and many just get completely lost in this barrage of daily publications …

Do writers give up, though? No, we keep on writing and publishing. Those stories we have in us just have to come out, and so we persevere, and write, and write, and write, for years and years, our whole life.

Final Thoughts

I think that I have easily written several million words in my lifetime. Many are unpublished. My publishing journey started late in my life; so far, ten books are published and more are on the way. Seraphin is in the editing process and I have finally found an idea for his book cover. After Seraphin is published, I will start editing the next three manuscripts that have been waiting for a few years now.

in the library

I have been writing stories since I was 6 years old, and I cannot stop. It is something that is a part of me, and if I cannot write I feel that a part of me is lost, as if I’m incomplete. Writing is a huge part of who I am.

If you are a writer, can you relate to this or do you have any other strengths that you think should be on this list? My list here is, of course, not complete, but these 7 strengths are very true for writers.

Do you perhaps live with a writer and have you already learned to leave him/her alone when he or she is typing and has moved to that other world he/she created? Perhaps you already know that staring into space is not merely “staring into space”? 😉

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’m looking forward to reading them.


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18 thoughts on “A List of 7 Writing Strengths – Hold That Mighty Pen

  1. Hi Christine,

    I could relate to your article in many ways. (The google search on strange topics was SPOT ON). I’m not a writer by career but have always enjoyed writing, I believe I started drawing out my own comic at the age of 7. Hahaha. Eventually I wrote my own stories when my vocabulary expanded.

    The authors that I love influenced the way I write and most definitely I have gained much knowledge from reading.

    Thoroughly enjoyed my read of your article.

    Cheers.
    SAM

    1. Hi Sam,

      Published or unpublished, you are still a writer 🙂 I’m so happy you could relate to my article. The search history is so true, isn’t it? 😉
      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Hi Christine,

    Firstly, I have to say that finding your website is a very timely for me, possibly even fate.

    I’ve often been told that I should write a book, whether memoir-related or fiction, others seem to have more faith in my abilities than I do in myself.

    However, it is an idea that I’ve been mulling over for a while now, so finding your website could be the jumpstart that I was looking for.

    I must say that reading about how you write, but the need to take breaks, certainly rings true for me.

    I know there are days that break can’t come quick enough, whereas on other days when inspiration is flowing through me I find it hard to drag myself away.

    There’s been many a day that my hands and fingers are starting to ache, my vision has probably gone a little blurry, and my stomach is rumbling so much the neighbours can hear it – and yet I keep going. Inspiration it’s a funny thing.

    I had to giggle about you mentioning “staring into space” – I think writers are the only people who can get away with staring into space, looking lost and in their own little dreamworld, and yet claim to be “working”.

    Thank you for this and your website is bookmarked. Can’t wait to work my way through.

    Partha

    1. Hi Partha,

      There have been many such days for me too, when my fingers started to ache, my vision was a little blurry, and my stomach was rumbling for all the neighborhood to hear 😉 I can absolutely relate. I hope you will write your book. Just start writing and let inspiration do its thing. Leave editing for later when your manuscript is finished. I hope to see your finished work when it’s ready. And thank you for bookmarking my page! 🙂
      Have a great day!

  3. I have read writers bleed when they write. This article is so impressive I feel lucky to come across this and cross your path.

    I relate to each word of with my daughter. She started writing very early in her life. She loves to be in her own world and I never dare to disturb her. She reads a lot and a great researcher. W hen Harry Potter came her friends were waiting inside the store at late night. When asked I clearly remember her saying “let me finish my book first”. I saw her writing a big document with a price tag of $50.00. She was young then. 
    writing and journaling helps to take out stress. Writers are treasures. It is true pen is mightier than sword.

    I believe there is a difference between natural writers and the ones who really learns to write.
    Reading and learning through research is a part of me. I made myself a writer and I am still practicing to write everyday.

    Keep writing and publishing to make this world a better place for learning. 

    1. Hi Anasuya,

      It is true, writers bleed when they write. I saw that quote on Twitter some time ago and I could relate to it 😉 Has your daughter published any books? It sounds like she is a born writer 🙂 

      You can certainly learn to be a writer, and I wish you the best of success with your writing journey! Thank you for your comment!

  4. Hi Christine,

    Since starting my own blog, I have fell in love with reading again. I believe too that having a love of reading will help you when it comes to your writing. It becomes a passion more than a hobby or a even a chore sometimes. A chore is actually how it felt when I first started. I write about leadership and personal growth, the topics I was passionate about but the the task of writing I was not. Until I started doing it more and more, and as I did it more and more I became passionate about it.

    Thank you for sharing these seven strengths as I believe they will benefit many people (including me obviously :)).

    All the best,

    Tom

    1. Hi Tom,

      I love that you fell in love with reading again. Reading books transports us into different worlds and we always learn something from it. I’m also glad to hear that what used to be a chore now turned into a passion. When writing is your passion, it will flow out of you and readers will notice. 🙂
      Thank you for your comment!

  5. Hi,

    This is such a nice article on writing strengths for all the people who love to write . I love the way u have covered the details and all aspects in a systematic manner. I am sure your readers will get immense benefit from your article.

    I really like the part where you talked about when we write on any genre we choose we should always write about our real life experiences and also we should be perfect with our word selection.

    Thank u for a great blog-post.

    Regards,

    Aparna 

    1. Hi Aparna,

      Life experiences are inevitably always included in fictional stories, it seems to be nearly unavoidable. They could be character traits, events, advice, or anything that comes from the writer’s life experience. I do it all the time 😉
      Thank you for your comment!

  6. These are some great tips. I think the reading aspect is so important. As a school teacher I see a huge difference in the writing ability of children who read regularly and those who dont. The once who enjoy reading independently on their own have phenomenal writing skills.

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Catherine,

      That is very true. I’m also a school teacher, and I can see the difference in children’s writing ability too. the ones who read a lot have indeed excellent writing skills.

  7. Christine,
    I absolutely love reading about your writing journey. I find it so fascinating that you have written so much. You have to get it all published so people can read your stories. I love to read and I find myself often just like the writer, lost in another world. My husband says I have to put the book down and come back to the real world often. Out of these 7 strengths that good writers have, which one do you think you are the best at?

    1. Books can really transport you far away. The same happens to me when I am engrossed in a good book, away from the real world. I would say that my biggest strenghts are typing for hours on end and staring into space 😉 I build up whole stories just staring into space 🙂
      Thank you for your comment!

  8. Excellent article, Christine! I love to write, and I too have been writing stories since I was a little kid (about age 7 for me. Haha). When I’m writing content for my website, I usually plan my entire week in advance-which topics I’ll discuss, which order I’ll discuss them in, how much time I need to allot to each topic, sources/resources I’ll need, etc. I’m a very strategic writer, though I do sometimes write spontaneously, and those are often my most popular articles. Haha. I snack throughout the entire day-I must have my Smartfood popcorn, Welch’s fruit snacks, or some sort of chocolate during the day. I’m naturally perky (I don’t drink coffee or energy drinks), but I still like a nice pick me up from time to time. Haha. Great read! God bless you!

    1. Wow, you have also been writing for a long time! I have read some of our stories, and I love them! I think that spontaneous articles can be better than planned ones sometimes, it all depends, but I have always been in favor of spontaneity and improvising 😉
      I also like to snack, mostly on nuts and chocolate 🙂

  9. Dear Christine,
    Thanks a million for this article. This totally resonates with me.

    Writing is a very interesting thing for those who are so gifted.

    I see writing as painting a picture with words.

    Ooh my gosh. I understand about not taking a break when you get lost in the world that only writers understand.

    I have taken away some good points. I do them and I will continue to do them, research, using the thesaurus and writing from experience.

    These combinations work well every thing. And also reading and watching countless documentaries.

    I was enriched by your article, please keep it up.

    Cheers
    Ibi

    1. Hi Ibi,

      I am glad that you enjoyed my article and have taken away some points. That makes my day! I aim to help other writers, so it’s very gratifying to know that I am doing that 🙂
      Writing is beautiful, keep going at it 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

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