Written by
Laura Brennan
March 2012
Written by
Laura Brennan
March 2012

I was just interviewing short-story writer Colette Sartor for a post later this week and she was saying how hard it is to talk about her strengths as a writer.  Which is astounding to me, because she is such a lovely writer and so insightful; I would have no problem talking all afternoon about her strengths.  But as Colette pointed out, it's cultural.  Women are not supposed to brag, not supposed to put themselves forward. 

And if you don't believe me, check out the comments on my post, "Call it Style."

We chat comfortably about weaknesses.  Many posts start with a self-deprecating remark.  I must've read two-thirds of them before it dawned on me, hey, I never asked what you don't do well.  I only asked, what are you good at?  It is so ingrained that it seems perfectly natural to answer that question with its opposite.

This is hard.  We're writers, not salespeople.  But it's important.  You have to know what you do well as a writer because that will give you the confidence to speak about your work. 

So c'mon!  I double-dare you.  Tell me what you're good at as a writer - and NOTHING ELSE.



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  • Laura Brennan

    @Gloria and @Lynne: Isn't it funny how we kinda have to take a deep breath first?  Thanks for taking the plunge!

    I posted my interview last night with Colette Sartor, and we talked about exactly this.  So many doors open up to you when you're able to talk about your writing without hesitation or self-deprecation (is that a word?)  As someone who has a lot of clients of both genders, let me tell you: this is a woman thing.  I'm sure guys have their own issues, but self-effacement isn't one of them!

  • Gloria Getman Writing

    Okay. Here goes. I'm good at writing dialogue. I hear the people in my stories talking in my head, and I simply write it down.

  • Julie Golden

    Thank Laura, for the extra boost of a link. Your words are going into my "love" file. I hope you read the Free Peek on my site – it's from the beginning of the book.

    Great fun for you to propose this topic and let me go Toot! Toot!

  • Laura Brennan

    Wow, Julie - fascinating (and scary) stuff.  I love your website.  For some reason it didn't hotlink in your post; I'm reposting so people can just click and be there:

  • Julie Golden

    Thanks for asking...

    I am exceptionally good at writing entertaining, deeply emotional stories about the topics we hate. My novel published 2.29.2012, and titled Vagilantes, is about women who murder pedophiles and get away with it... or do they?

    I'm good at promoting my work:

  • Lynne Favreau

    Cringe worthy recognition for everyone! Curse those self-deprecating tendencies.

    I'm good at writing dialog.

  • Laura Brennan

    Andi: I KNOW!  Isn't it weird?

    Even I - and I am good at talking about my writing - tend to throw in references to what a sub-par cook I am.  What gives?  It's nuts.  Kudos for not giving in.

    LOVE the "essence of a feeling" by the way.  Gorgeous. 

  • Andi Cumbo

    Well, this certainly resonated with me. . . and this is hard.
    I'm good at capturing the essence of a feeling in language. 

    And yeah, I have to really resist qualifying that statement. Wow.

  • Laura Brennan

    Yay, Crysa! 

    Hey, I checked out your blog ( if others also want to check it out) and noticed congratulations are in order - you have a boatload of stories coming out in anthologies soon - how fun!  

    Thanks for sharing.  :)