Monday, January 31, 2022

Back to the Clifton Strengths...

This is the "DNA" strand that represents my Strengths. The 34 Strengths are divided into four groups, each represented by a color.

As you can see I'm bottom heavy in a certain groups of Strengths. We'll talk about those next time.


Back in the fall of 2020, I read a book called “Dear Writer, You’re Doing it Wrong” by Becca Syme. In it, Becca challenges a lot of the notions handed to newbie writers as they join the ranks of writers’ organizations.

Some of the most popular are:

  • You have to be everywhere on social media.
  • You have to have a newsletter.
  • You have to plot /outline.

I’ve balked at many of the things I was taught I “must” do. For a long time, it didn’t matter much. I was nowhere near ready to publish. But as I moved forward in my writing journey, not only did I learn more about both the business and craft of writing, but I matured in my writing self.

I watched as those around me put things into practice and I drew lines for myself. I definitely felt out of synch with many of my writing acquaintances. When getting to know other authors, I’m often met with metaphorical raised eyebrows because I don’t send out a newsletter. Blech. Boring. I blog twice a week, why do I need a monthly newsletter?


In the above-mentioned book, Becca questioned every premise. And then she went on to explain why not every author has to do every thing or may not be successful at certain things.

It all routes back to Gallup’s Clifton Strengths. Becca is a Certified Strengths coach and, as she is also an author, she found a way to use the CliftonStrenths to help authors write better faster or explain why they struggle with certain things.

The case for anyone to really be successful, not just authors, is to lean on your top five to ten strengths. Those bottom fifteen strengths—don’t worry so much about them. You want to lean into the strengths you’re already using and are good at.

In the book, of course she references the Strengths. Between her premise that no, I didn’t have to do everything and that it was okay not to, and that Strengths have something to do with why I do the things I do, I was intrigued. I took the test in November of 2020 and learned what my thirty-four Strengths are in order.

Most of them made sense to me. I scratched my head at couple of them being so high, but as 2021 chugged along I’ve had some epiphanies about them.

I had planned on talking about my top ten Strengths last year, but I just couldn’t seem to make it happen.

I’m being a little more pro-active in terms of blog topics and posting for 2022, so I’m actively working on topics and will be researching when necessary and pre-writing when necessary. So look for posts about my Strengths throughout 2022.

These days, when someone says “you should do this” or “you should try that,” I have now trained myself to ask, “But should I?”

I took a class geared toward writers back in November of 2021, and I really felt at odds with the instructor because she kept making the assumption that everyone could do this thing she was telling us to do. I tried to phrase my answers to homework in such a way that the others would understand, without me calling out the instructor directly, that not everyone works the way she’s saying and that it’s okay if you don’t or can’t.

And I’m done with taking classes for a while. While refreshers are a good thing, I haven’t learned anything new from a class in a while. Not only that, but I have two years’ worth of conference presentations at my disposal as well as a folder full of emails from a writer whose teaching resonates with me. I’ve coughed up enough money for the time being.

So the first post on one of my Strengths will be forthcoming. Sometime in the month of February. Even if it’s the last day. Those posts will take a little more thought and research.

Anyway, we survived January. Here’s to a good February.

Take care friends and have a great week.

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