Writing Strengths Meme

Lately I had been thinking of writing a those-were-the-days post, reminiscing my days of youthful blogging—of learning from erudite fellow bloggers, of “wish-I-wrote-that” moments, of unconsciously smiling upon coming across a slice of a blogger friend’s life, of discovering new friends, and of being discovered. Of feeling humbled for coming across vastly more knowledgeable and perceptive bloggers who took the time to read my posts, and of keeping in touch with old pals splintered off a writing site that saw a sad demise.

Just when I was contemplating that post, Onipar, a gifted (I don’t say that lightly) horror writer and one of the most inspiring writing buddies I have seen spared me the sentimental outpour by tagging me for the Writing Strengths meme. The brief guideline for the meme is this:

Make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It’s not really bragging, it’s an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list. Tag four other writers or artists whom you’d like to see share their strengths.

I laughed at first. Like many other aspiring authors, I wondered if I had even three strong points as a writer. In the end, I could think of five, though. Here they are:

1) Faith: This isn’t just a strong sense of hope that I will be a published writer some day. This is deeper. It’s the heart’s connection with my writing itself. Faith in what I write and what it means to me. When I write drafts, the writing quality may be (and usually is) pathetic, the style stilted, the grammar unsure. But in the midst of all that I see a reflection of my inner world, merging at once with the world around me. I guess this is the most important element of my writing life.

2) Perseverance: Oni calls it courage. I will go with the more conventional term. All true writers persevere; it’s not really an option for them, it’s just part of the game. The odds are high and keep going higher, rejections come slamming on your face, finances play hide-n-seek with you, and you are in an arena even more uncertain than gambling or lottery. But you plug on, driven by a strange rush, aiming for a star many galaxies away.

3) Voice: Most of the feedback I have received on my writing has mentioned this facet. It’s a fusion of the social milieu I come from and the cultural sensibilities I have absorbed over the years. I write what I know; my lack of international experience makes my English writing a translated rendition of the Indian life I have known and seen.

4) Humanity: This isn’t to imply my writing is humane. It’s just to say my writing is mostly drawn from life—mine and of those falling within my immediate, extended, or distant environment. The best of writers, those who have told stories of ordinary people and their trials and triumphs are not preachers trying to teach the basics of a just society to the world at large. Nor are they messiahs, offering solutions for the repressions they witness. They are mirrors, reflecting us just the way we are—fair or ugly (not in the literal sense, of course).

5) Student: I am a lifelong learner when it comes to writing. Having a student’s outlook helps me remain open to advice and smart enough to glean benefit from even not-so-positive feedback. I have seen the results over the years; they aren’t too bad.

So there. I can now officially thank Oni for bringing me out of my self-imposed blog exile. Writing is the reason this blog is facing neglect. I am choking with freelance work and other assignments to the extent where I only find scraps of time to work on my personal writing projects. Since the blog is less demanding than those pesky projects, it waits patiently. Until a friend nudges me to return to it. 

Who do I tag? Lisa, Alicia, Bob, and John Baker.


17 thoughts on “Writing Strengths Meme

  1. I’m so happy to see you blogging again and with such a great post. Your answers show the heart and the passion you have towards writing. I hope it won’t be long before we get a new post :DHugs!M

  2. Yes. Good to read you blogging again. I’ve gone through times, too, when I’ve been too busy to do any of this, but decided that a couple of times a week should be more than possible on my two main blogs. And so far, it’s worked.And as for this meme thing, I already got tagged by the writing strengths meme and have just posted the results. So, looks like I’m one ahead of the game this week!

  3. Dear One, you are a writer of much elegance and charm – and one with a wonderful capacity for interpretation..So glad to see a new post from you.

  4. Sometimes we look around and think the reason we need to write is to be like those around us when it really should be for ourselves.Please continue to inspire.Vernon

  5. Sury, thank you for your many kind words. I am so glad that this meme was a positive experience.It does sound like you have been working on a lot of projects, but even if many aren’t your personal pieces, at least you’re writing, and that is always positive.I love the last one in your list. I was nodding with a huge smile on my face through that one (and the rest of the list actually).Keep writing!

  6. After reading your intro to this meme, I think I understand why you were absent for a day short of a month. One of the reasons, anyway. It seems like you were just in a…period of pause and reflection, and I very much understand why you were glad to be tagged for this!Off to do mine 🙂

  7. Thank you for this inspiring post. The five-strengths exercise seems like a great way to put things in perspective… I may have to try it out. This is my first time visiting your blog, but it won’t be the last.

  8. Thanks for the post. Brilliant, and mostly true. You are a fine writer and it is a great pity there aren’t more like you.I can’t accept the tag, unfortunately, that space in my brain which I used to keep free for things like this, has recently been completely overrun

  9. Cesar, thanks, friend. I have missed blogging; not just my own posts, but the entire deal–the leisurely stroll to savor the offerings across various blogs, the stimulating interactions via comments, the learning…everything. It’s always good to return. 🙂 Bob, that sounds like a good idea–two blogs per week. That’s what I aim for as well, but of late, I haven’t been able to squeeze even a small scrap of time for blogging. I really hope that’d change soon. Anil, thanks for dropping by. You have a most wonderful blog. I need to add it to my blogroll. 🙂 Sophie, welcome to my blog! Nice to see you dropping by, and I sure hope this isn’t your last visit. I liked your blog too. Will add it to my blogroll the next time I update it. 🙂 Bernita, glad to see you! To hear those kind words from YOU means the world to me. I have missed reading your blog and think about it often. 🙂 Vernon, so glad to see you stop by here. I am the one who is inspired by the good bloggers (pun intended) all around. Thanks for bringing them to us. 🙂 Oni, yes, doing this was positive, not just to return to blogging, but in the spirit of affirmations, almost. At the moment, my writing life is divided. During the day, I write for a living; in the evening, I write to live. 🙂 Jeff, that’s a very kind comment coming from a writer as talented as you. 🙂 Alicia! The only reason I have been away is lack of blogging time. Whatever little “free” time I get, I devote to my personal writing projects. ‘Really haven’t had much time for pause and reflection either. Things have been so tight. :P. I look forward to reading your responses! John, thanks for the visit. I can fully understand your reasons for not doing the meme. Thanks for your kind words; I truly appreciate them. 🙂

  10. Nice to pop in and see what you’re up to. Nice meme here. Yes, time is always against us … to visit all the blogs we want to. But I will try to come by more often.

  11. Dearest Bhas,I’ve been away for a long time. I’ve so enjoyed reading your meme that holds your quiet enthusiasm and humility as a writer. And to know that you’re still here. That was the best part of all. Bhas, you were to have published a book? Did that come about? with love

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