As I've been analyzing my writing life these past few months, now with the first quarter of 2013 coming to a close, I have realized what I stink at.
First, let's do a brief summary of the "business of writing."
Think of your body as your company, your corporation so to speak.
Your head is the Research and Development division. This is where ideas are stored, where you read (for both pleasure and to learn new things), what learning tools you're listening to. Without research, all companies will fail due to their lack of innovation. They will remain in the Stone Age and will wither away. For your writing business, you need to read both fiction and nonfiction, ever expanding your storehouse of ideas to make your writng more alive.
Your torso and arms are the production division. Here is where things are produced. This is where you write. Put in your 10,000 hours as Malcolm Gladwell says. Mur Lafferty says this is where you can suck at while you're learning your craft.
Your legs are the sales division. This is where you submit your work for the outside world to criticize and give you feedback. Send the query to an agent. Send the short story off to a publication. Self-publish something. Put something for free on your website/blog and ask for comments.
Now I'll get personal. Where do I stink at? The last one: the legs portion. Yes, I have sent hundreds of queries over the last seventeen years. But it wasn't enough. Some of the Research and Development section may have been lacking too, but an event in September 2011, as you can read on a blog post, helped to increase my knowledge about the publishing industry: the day we got high-speed internet instead of that dinosaurish dial-up.
Why do I say I stink at the selling section? Well, frankly, I stunk at the production and selling side, but mostly selling. Which is odd, because I work in the sales department of the company I work for. But for me, most of my writing stayed on my computer and I never put them out there. I have five completed novels, all of which have been edited several times. Two have never seen the insides of a literary agent's office. Short stories? I never knew where to submit them, despite many hours trying to learn. I did send a few to websites like Bewildering Stories and even got some great feedback from their editors, but I somehow never went anywhere with it.
So, of all the pieces of the writing business, I stunk (notice the tense change?) at the selling part most. Production a close second. That, too, I have been turning around lately, producing more and more content. This blog has helped in that regard as well.
Where do your weaknessess lie?
Then, once you have identified the enemy, how are you going to correct it?