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Becoming Familiar With Writing Weaknesses

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This year has been a year of revisions for me. In part, I blame my revision obsession with my frustration on the number of rejections I've received. Unable to accept there's nothing I can do about it, I've gone over my stories with a fine tooth comb.

Through the process of rejection, revision, and critiques, I've learned about a few of my writing weaknesses. 

It filled me with a sense of dread.

Nope, that isn't how I felt about discovering my weaknesses. That sentence is one of my weaknesses.

I can't tell you how many times I've spotted that in my stories now that I'm aware of it. Unfortunately, it took an editor who bluntly told me that I mentioned that phrase twice within the same half page of a story I submitted for me to realize how often I use it. 

To solve that, I downloaded a book on Kindle Unlimited called The Writer's Guide to Expressions and Emotions. While not a perfect guide, it did help me to uncover the way we all nonverbally and verbally express our feelings. I'm still working on improving the skill of nonverbal communication in writing, but this was a helpful start. Another book I picked up was The Emotion Thesaurus

All of these have become tools I use in the revision process, especially when I keep saying a word repeatedly.

This brings me to my new weakness. 

Now, I'll share another weakness I discovered.

Did you see what I did there? Repetition is my other weakness. Another tidbit I picked up from a rejection (see? Not all rejections are bad).

I'm rewriting another story of mine that's a personal favorite that I was convinced didn't need to come under my revision obsession knife. Except that it did. Why? Good ole repetition. I often will catch a word or phrasing I've used more than once and search for how many times it occurs throughout the story. Based on my findings, I'll go back and tweak a sentence or remove it completely if it's unnecessary.

It's hard to uncover every weakness in writing, but for the sake of ongoing improvement, it's essential.

What are your writing weaknesses? How do you address them in your writing process?

Nicole Pyles is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. When she's not hunting down the right word, she's talking to God, reviewing books on her writing blog, watching movies, hanging out with family, and daydreaming. Her work has been featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not, WOW! Women on Writing, The Voices Project, and Sky Island Journal. Read her musings at WorldofMyImagination.com.

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