Do You Have A Writing Superpower (and Why You Shouldn't)

Do You Have a Writing Superpower? (And Why You Shouldn’t)

Do You Have A Writing Superpower (and Why You Shouldn't)

There’s a refrain I often hear in popular writing advice–and I hate it. Basically, it runs like this: All writers are naturally better at one part of writing over another. It’s kind of like having a very unbalanced writing superpower.

On the surface, this idea is as true as it gets. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. We all have aspects of the craft we’re good at–and others we’re still working on. But the gist of this refrain is that there are certain things about writing that all writers are naturally going to stink at.

Tell me if you’ve heard any of these before:

All writers are going to be better at either plotting or pantsing.

All writers are going to be better at either characters or plot.

All writers are going to be better at either ideas or execution.

All writers are going to be better at either dialogue or narrative.

I’m sure you can probably come up with some more examples of your own. (Share them in the comments!)

If you haven’t already figured out where I’m going here, I’ll tell you: this is horseradish.

You Are Not “All” Writers

yoda-sith-lord-memeThe first and most obvious problem with these statements is their absolute nature. Consider characters versus plot. True, one or the other may come more easily to many writers, but I’ve always tripped over the idea that I supposedly had to be more naturally inclined to one or the other. I’ve always found them equally easy–or equally hard, depending on the day.

Universal statements are inevitable, but they’re only useful insofar as they’re true. If you find yourself squirming when you’re told you’re naturally good at only half of writing (and therefore naturally bad at the other half), stop squirming–because, very likely, it’s not true at all.

Are You Naturally Better at One Thing Over Another?

Short answer: probably. As Hemingway said:

We are all apprentices in a craft no one ever masters.

Now, note that by “naturally,” we’re talking about being suited “by nature” for certain things over others. In other words, we’re talking about aspects of the writing craft that your brain is specifically wired to be good at. This comes down to personality as much as anything.

Outlining Your Novel 500

Outlining Your Novel (Amazon affiliate link)

Plotting versus pantsing is a good example of this. Outlining is something that comes naturally and easily to me. Pantsing? Not so much. And I know many of you can attest to the opposite.

It’s important to understand yourself, both as a person and a writer. The better you understand how your brain and your personality work–and why they work–the more effectively you can hack your life and your process to reach maximum effectiveness with minimum effort.

But the thing I dislike so much about these “all writers are naturally better at this or that” statements is that they carry this inherent whisper that it’s okay to be less-than-good at one part of the process or another.

Got a Writing Superpower? Probably Means You’re Carrying Kryptonite

We all know that a protagonist’s greatest weakness is almost always inherent in his greatest strength. Superman? Yeah, he’s invincible because he’s from the planet Krypton. But guess what? The very origin of his strength is also his downfall: Kryptonite.

Like Superman, your character's greatest weakness is found in his greatest strength.

Sometimes the source of your writing superpower can be causing your weakness as well. (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016, Warner Bros.)

That can easily become a problem with this either/or issue for writers. At this moment, maybe your writing superpower is coming up with great ideas, rather than executing them well in story form on the page. If so, congrats on your awesome imagination. However, taken as a whole, this is not a good scenario.

The word “versus” is your Kryptonite. Throw it out the window right now, because it’s killing you. It’s not enough to be good at any one thing in writing. Even if you’re downright brilliant at that one thing, you’ll never reach full potential if you rest on that laurel.

As a writer, you gotta be good at everything.

How to Be Good at Everything

Let’s consider the four examples I offered at the beginning of the post. Perhaps one of them made you wince. No worries. Kick the “either” out of those statements and replace it with a more empowering reality.

1. How to Be Good at Both Plotting and Pantsing

Outlining Your Novel Workbook 200

Outlining Your Novel Workbook (Amazon affiliate link)

This is one is a little different from the others since it’s about your personal process rather than an actual aspect of the craft. First, let’s get rid of the idea that you have to do one or the other if you’re going to be a “good” writer. Many great writers outline their stories. Many great writers pants their stories. Simple as that. The ultimate choice is up to you and which process best hacks your personality.

However, almost all authors–even adamant outliners such as myself–ultimately use a mix of the two approaches. We plot some parts and we pants others. Both are necessary skills. Think of plotting as a logical left-brain activity and pantsing as a creative right-brain activity. If you’re going to write a great book, you’re going to need both sides of your brain.

Here’s one of the most important things you can possibly learn about being a writer: Do not stuff yourself into someone else’s pigeonhole. Find the balance that works for you and use it to write your best stories.

How to Get Better at Plotting:

How to Get Better at Pantsing:

2. How to Be Good at Both Plot and Character

The plot vs. character idea is arguably the most destructive in my book. Why? Because you absolutely cannot write a good story without both of these elements being in top form. Plot and character must work together so seamlessly that even you, as the writer, can hardly decipher where one ends and the other begins.

Plot is character–and character is plot. That sounds like a riddle, but it’s not. Once you understand story structure (aka plot) and how it’s really all about structuring the character arc, you realize they’re like twining DNA strands.

What this means that if you’re struggling with one, you’re really struggling with both. That’s the bad news. The good news is that if you improve one, you necessarily improve the other.

How to Get Better at Plot:

How to Get Better at Character:

3. How to Be Good at Both Ideas and Execution

Raise your right hand if you’ve picked up a book that had an awesome premise, only to be disappointed because the author totally failed to take advantage of it. Raise your left hand if you’ve picked up a book that was well-written from beginning to end but utterly forgettable because the idea was so blasé and overdone.

Of the two, execution is by far the easier to learn. After all, that’s what all of us are learning every single day we study the craft: how to better execute our ideas on the page. But it’s worth the reminder that a great idea, on its own, does not make a great story. The Hero’s Journey is pretty much the same story told over and over again. When a particular book or movie takes that formula and rises above the pack it’s because of its execution of that storyline.

Now, what if you’re great at execution but struggle with ideas? Can you learn to come up with great ideas? I believe you can. It’s all about digging deep into the heart of yourself and your passions, sweeping aside the inclination to follow other writers’ well-worn paths, and learning how to combine interesting elements until you reach the juxtaposition of something unique and exciting.

How to Get Better at Execution:

How to Get Better at Ideas:

4. How to Be Good at Both Dialogue and Narrative

No way around it: both narrative and dialogue are essential to artful stories. Put them together, and they’re the whole of the story. When I’m deciding whether or not to buy a book, I consider both. Is the dialogue punchy and subtext-laden? Or is it flat and on-the-nose? Is the narrative lively, with an engaging voice? Or does it sound like Mr. Monotone from the the eye-drop commercials–telling me everything straight-up as though I was a three-year-old?

Both narrative and dialogue present their own challenges, but they’re also similar in a lot of ways. They both boil down to the same basic principles:

Dialogue, of course, has the added burden of mimicking real life and creating interaction between characters. Narrative bears its own responsibility of showing the characters’ interior lives, sharing important information without boring readers, and managing the overall ebb and flow of pacing in the story. If either is lacking, readers will notice, and the story will suffer.

How to Get Better at Dialogue:

How to Get Better at Narrative:

Ditch the Cape–and the Kryptonite–and Strive for Balance

Recognize your writing superpower and super-weakness for exactly what they are: indications of the areas in your writing that need more balance. If you’re already great at dialogue, that’s fantastic! Now, make sure your narrative is also up to speed. If you’re a wild panster, see if a little structure might not help you build a better story. And by the same token, if you’re a rigid plotter, see where a little unplanned creativity might lead you today.

Don’t rest on the laurels of your strengths, and, just as importantly, never be discouraged by the idea that you’ll never be able to improve your weaknesses because you’re “naturally” bad at them. Maybe it’s true you’re wired to be weaker in some areas than others, but probably not. And even if you are, most strengths end up all the stronger when they don’t come easily in the beginning.

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion? Do you have a writing superpower? Do you have a writing weakness to go along with it–and how are you working to improve it? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Awesome post! I love how you link to other articles so readers can go into further detail if they like.

    I think you hit it on the head with this one. I’m an odd ball because I’m on even ground with most things. I find that I really like to have a structured plot written out in great detail, but I often disregard it if I need to.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      It’s a good way to be! If we can balance structure *with* flexibility, we have all the tools we need to succeed.

  2. Thank you for once again knowing my mind, and knowing what I was struggling with. You are truly a wise and powerful Jedi Master! I now have a ton of sources to reference for all of my immediate questions all in one place!

  3. This post is an all you can eat buffet! It’ll take me all week to digest this one 🙂 Kate’s Grill, all you can eat.

    “As a writer, you gotta be good at everything.”

    I’m really liking this one. Makes perfect sense that we need to be good and balanced in everything. I also love that we don’t have to be locked into one category, plotter or panster, letting that define and limit our writing process. Why not utilize both? I find that both will suit me just fine. Thanks for all the references.

    • I pants the heck out of my plot summary because I just write whatever comes to my mind. Once I get it all out, and I have something I feel is workable and strong, I begin plotting everything out and use my notes to structure my plot line. I love Katie’s take on everything and how she puts it in the perspective that we don’t have to be superheroes.

      • Yeah, I’m no super hero. Not sure what my “superpower” may be. But I do know I’ll need work in all areas.

        I think Kate mentions in one of her books that she challenges herself in areas that may not be so easy. I think if you do that, eventually you’ll be more of a balanced writer instead of sticking to what we know.

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          Yes! I’m all about rooting out weaknesses and challenging myself to overcome them. It’s the only way we grow. Works for superheroes too. 😉

          • I want to be like you when I grow up. I admire your ferociousness, that you can hunt down your weaknesses and make them your slave. I’m not as bold just yet.

            In high school getting into the water was the hardest part. I’d dab my big toe in several times. The quickest way was to immerse myself by diving in! But I’m still dabbing my big toe into writing. I need to dive in!

            Keep your game face on.

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            Hah. If you read this post, then you know that ferocity has a definite downside sometimes. 😉

    • By the time one reads all the links this post is practically a book unto itself.

      I have a general outline, hitting the major plot points, but pretty much pants all the details.

      When I started rewriting my first draft, I yanked out so much “telling”, but had left my one page preface alone. Last week I beautifully visualized the preface, which leads into the rest being a flash back, and it left me in tears.

      I had a three hour drive facing me, so I turned off the radio and was intent on visualizing the rest of the second act chapter I was working on. Instead, I reworked huge parts of the yet to be written third act, in response to a few sentences in the preface. “This is what must have happened in 1979 for people to say those things in 2014.”

      Imagining the third act made me cry some more. I really need to finish this ting!

      • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

        Pantsing vs. plotting has really become a divided camp kind of a thing: #TeamPantsing vs. #TeamOutlining. But there’s no reason it has to be that way. It’s counterproductive, in some ways even. Personally, I find it incredibly helpful to label things and put them in their own little categories (it’s just how my brain works). But there’s definitely a point where all the categorizing leads us to a rigidity that’s not helpful. I think perhaps the Pantsing/Outlining question has crossed that divide.

        • I agree with this. As a shorthand way of distinguishing techniques, plotting versus pantsing is useful, but it’s really a gradation, not a sharp divide.

          And what’s more, it’s not the only divide — I think there is just as important of a tension between linear plot development (start with a scenario and examine the consequences chronologically) and more big-picture intuitive plot development (start with a vague idea for the shape of a story and gradually clarify the parts). In other words, from small-to-big or from big-to-small. But, even if people gravitate toward one or the other, I don’t know if anyone could write a story without doing both.

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            Yes, that’s a good way to describe it. I find so much value in being open to new ideas and processes. Even if I end up deciding that the vast majority aren’t right for me, being open for that next new idea–no matter where it may come from–keeps me from missing out on a lot of good ideas and processes that I might otherwise reject out of hand.

          • Definitely! It is so helpful to learn about other people’s processes. Not just because it gives me ideas for improving, but also because it gives me insight into how other people’s minds work, which is awesome. One of the things I enjoy most about this blog is that your advice comes from a perspective that is the optimal level of similarity and difference from my own. In particular, I struggle with feeling that it’s okay to make decisions about the story as opposed to “discovering” it. This blog has so much readily applicable advice on why I can and should make these decisions.

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            Personally, I find it really valuable to reject the tongue-in-cheek idea that the characters are in control of the story. What that really means is that our subconscious is in control. It’s tremendously important to give our unbridled creativity the space to be creative and control the story, but only to a certain extent. There comes a point where our logical brains have to make decisions about organizing plot, etc. For all their wild creativity, stories are such sensible creatures, and if we *don’t* make sensible decisions at certain stages of the process, then the stories just don’t work, despite all the juicy creativity.

          • This makes so much sense! And the stories I most admire are those that are precisely constructed — not the ones that are highly creative but out of control. I guess there must always be interplay between conscious shaping and aesthetic surveying, but I appreciate your advice that the writer has to be aware of being in control.

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            This is one of the things I appreciate so much about writing: it lets us use *both* our creative and logical brains, without endangering either. They work together to create something greater than either of them could create by itself!

          • To Katie on the creative/logical blend:

            As I spent the weekend writing database code, I thought of how the process was similar to plot construction.

            I started with a pile of data downloaded from the internet. I had to arrange it and tie everything together to produce the final reports in formats the clients are familiar with. I knew the start and knew the end, but at each step I was reminded of something that needed to be created in the middle. Everything relied on what came before.

            The week before I was thinking about my third act. I conceptualized the story in the middle, a guy and a girl together. How did they get started, how does it end. I decided on their flaws first. Most recently I changed the preface before the flashback to have a lot more showing. That set in motion a whole stream of interactions. How do these two women get off on the wrong foot? How did they meet? Is he too wrapped up in himself and not seeing her pain?

            These are several of the new pieces of the puzzle that need to be arranged to get to a logical conclusion.

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            Yes, it’s kind of like our creative brains create the pieces–and then our logical brains have to fit them into the puzzle.

  4. Ingrid Bouldin says

    I think I have “plantser” tendencies.
    I try to focus on one style or the other only to find they’ll both creep in anyway and insist on participating in my plans together whether I like it or not.

    I love the great links! Without a doubt I’ll be keeping them handy to refer back to. I appreciate your grouping them in this yin yang way since a lot of what I need to re enforce depends on what I’m currently working on. If I get stuck, sometimes just seeing both sides of the issue will give me much more clarity than if I focus too much on one aspect.

    Fantastic read here! Thank you once again, Ms. Weiland!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Personally, I have to hesitate before calling myself a “plantser”–given my black-thumb tendencies with my house plants. 😉

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Lots to chew over in this post. I balk at statements of craft that use the words ‘never’ and ‘always’, when really phrases like ‘mostly’ or ‘some of the time’ are more appropriate.
    Re. architects and gardners (plotters and pantsers), you’re so right this one. I don’t know if I’m unique in this aspect but I outline heavily for novels and pants on the short stories. If the flash fiction starts to break out of its straight jacket and demand that it becomes a novellette or larger, then I start to produce a sketch outline just so I have some signposts to keep me on track. I won’t say I’m adept at either skill but I certainly enjoy slipping on the different shoes when the occasion arises.
    Another idea you touched on is how we are all perpetually learning, and (hopefully), getting better at our craft. I’m a firm believer in the power of learning and practice. We may not have the same cards dealt to us, but by judiciously playing those cards and picking up better ones from the pile, it’s possible to improve dramatically. There’s a parallel with learning to sing. I don’t have a naturally strong voice, but with the advice of my daughter (she’s an opera singer) I’ve been able to improve by learning how to breathe properly, use my diaphragm and adopt the correct posture (amongst others).
    One thing I’ll correct you on – don’t worry, it doesn’t alter the impact of your post – is the belief that there are left and right brain thinkers. Modern neurological techniques and uses of MRI scanning have shown that artistic and creative thinking is not restricted to the right of the brain (or ice versa). Rather, certain locations of the brain (on both left and right) are active in a predictable way when certain tasks are carried out. But hey, that’s another constraint removed that would otherwise seek to limit our potential!
    Thanks, as usual, for a great post.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Hah. Yeah, I knew somebody was going to call me out on the left brain/right brain thing. 😉 I realize it’s not “scientific,” but personally I still find the designation really helpful in categorizing certain parts of the writing process.

  6. Characters come to me incredibly easily, but it’s a nightmare when it comes to plotting out stories. I’ve got such a dreamy sense of writing that my brain scatters when it comes to sitting down and brainstorming. I’m trying to balance the two so I can get to a point where I don’t freak out when I think of plotting, but also be careful so I don’t lose the sense of mystery by doing some outlining or what have you. It’s definitely a balancing act, and I’m not in the middle yet.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      My stories always start with characters. I get a dreamy sense of one or two people doing things. In the early stages, in the years before I start putting the story on paper, I just do what I call “dreamzoning.” Basically, I’m just going deep into my imagination and watching my characters. There’s no plotting involved. I’m just seeing what happens. From this, I get very vivid snippets of scenes.

      Then, when I *am* ready to start plotting, I sit down and make a list of all these scene snippets. I start figuring out how the puzzle pieces fit together–and how they best fit within story structure. After that, I can start consciously connecting the dots between them. That’s where I get plot.

      • I’ll think about this. Maybe I’m rushing things a little too much when it comes to plotting my stories. I get these characters and I have these amazing scene ideas for them, or snippets, as you said, and I think I have to start capturing it. But maybe I should start letting it sit and not feel so pressured to start writing, and just enjoy it. Thanks!

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          This is just me, so I’m not saying it’s *the* way to put stories together, but: I rarely write an idea until it’s “brewed” for at least three years in my brain. That’s not a set deadline. It’s just how it works out, since I’m busy finishing other projects. But I find that long period of “brewing” time is incredibly valuable. It lets me really bring stories to fruition within my creative subconscious, so that there’s enough good stuff there to sustain the poking and prodding that has to happen later on when my logical brain starts figuring out how to make the pot and structure work. I talk about this a little in this post.

          • I’ll keep this in mind. I think I may have rushed my current work in progress, so I need to step back and let it stew some more. I just need more time to work out exactly what I want to do. Thanks again!

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            You bet!

  7. Starts right at the beginning: I’m a terrible pantser.

    I still have the manuscript. I wrote like 30k words before I realized I could never write this story until the end and edit it to my liking before my great-grandchildren would get off their last day at work into retirement. It only worked out because I turned off my brain for these 30k words and just wrote. Embarassment fills my facial expression whenever I attempt to read it. Nothing adds up, there is no lasting joy when I read it.
    That’s my very own quality ensurance. It works out everywhere else. Whenever I FEEL something is right it turns out to be good. (exams, projects, programs… whatever you are tasked with in engineering) When I don’t feel it’s right it’s mostly a failure or at least a mediocre result.
    Now I have outlined my lastest novel and I feel it. I feel that things come together. I feel that within an acceptable time I can finish this thing! I would have NEVER had that feeling by pantsing and just spewing words onto my keyboard.

    The other three examples, I feel like they are on a less abstract level.
    Character and Plot: neglect one column and the other fails to hold the construction.
    Ideas and Execution: No ideas, nothing to execute (except for plagiarism). No execution is like having tons of iron ore and not knowing how to make steel.
    Dialogue and Narrative: You can have a chat but then you will be standing in blank space without a body. Words come as they go and without anything to contain them it’s a waste of energy. A wonderful narrative can describe you the most wonderful of places, or the most terrifying nooks if you prefer. Without anybody experiencing it and commenting on it those places remain unseen, uninhabited. It’s like heaven: We know how it is supposed to be like, but I have yet to interview somebody who has experienced it for reals. Until then that place remains irrelevant and unreal.

    While I agree that you shouldn’t stop learning the actual TOOLS of your craft and say “Well I’m good at X but I suck at Y. Now both go into the same category so if I become extremely good at X, that will carry me through the whole category”, there is nothing wrong with focussing on one PHILOSOPHY of doing said craft. There is also nothing wrong with combining both philosophies and that’s probably the better way, but human life is limited and we can only become expert in so many things. While the egg-connoisseur should know hundreds of ways to prepare eggs it really doesn’t matter if he is a big-endian or a little-endian in the matter of cracking it open. In the end he’s gotta get that bloody peel off the egg.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      No argument here. Story theory is kinda like Truth–it’s a huge, infinite concept that’s a little beyond our grasp all at once. We can only hold onto one corner at a time. It’s good to contemplate the concept as a whole, but when it comes down to applicability, we all have to just take it one step at a time–hold onto whatever corner presents itself at the moment.

  8. Love it! As you showed in the character arc series, the plot versus character dichotomy is false. In my experience, the kernel of an idea is always a character in a particular situation; I have never had an idea that started with a character who wasn’t embedded in some context that, if not exactly a plot itself, at least had the ingredients of a plot.

    I don’t even understand how narrative and dialogue are supposedly opposed to each other! There’s no guarantee that either will come naturally (whatever that means) or that only one will come naturally. Either way, if we start with that spark of desire to write a good story, we can learn to use the tools.

    In the meantime, I suck at both plotting and pantsing! 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’ll sometimes get ideas for *either* a character or a situation/plot. But there’s never enough there for me to really chew on, so I’ll just stick the idea into the back of my brain. Once another idea comes along, and I can juxtapose it with the initial idea, that’s when things really start to get interesting and I can start considering whether or not I actually have a story on my hands.

      • I very much relate to this. I start getting excited when ideas fit together. I think I read somewhere that you should go ahead and use all your best ideas now, because there will be more! I like that advice.

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          Yep, I know I’ve got something good once two or three totally different ideas come together in an interesting way.

          • I’m certainly very, very excited about Regency era combined with superhero…

          • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

            Thanks! It’s rapidly becoming one of my favorites of anything I’ve written. 🙂

  9. Maybe you should rename your blog:
    Kate’s Blazin’ Buffet: ALL YOU CAN EAT

    Enjoyed this even more the second time around. I’m slowly digesting the text and links. Sounds like sausage links. YUM. Maybe this is a buffet! I’ll have you know, that I’m a bonified life-time member of the CPC. The clean plate club. I ALWAYS clean my plate.

    I think this one is one of the top ten 2016 posts. You have my vote for it.

  10. Great post with so much info to help us in ou writing. I also want to thank you for your podcasts, I love listening to them when I am hacking away my gym sessions. I’m still fumbling along with my writing, learning each day. My muse is very kind at the moment and I have many ideas to add to my story. I’m just struggling with one issue where my protagonists mother has just released a proverbial bomb and I need to find a reason why she only told her daughter now after so many years – as in decades! So, I’ll have to dig deep…..

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Glad you’re enjoying the podcast! What I recommend doing when brainstorming causal problems like this is to sit down and start asking yourself lots of questions. Find the logical links that would lead up to the event you need to have happen.

  11. First q, still not sure. I am in-between both plotting and pantsing but still searching for a sweet spot.
    Plot and characters kind of come intertwined in my mind. I try the exercise of plucking one character out and see how the story works, but they are usually so inherent that it doesn’t. And my stories are all fully executed plots in my mind….okay, just the premise and a basic idea with no way of knowing how the good guy will be able to beat this huge bad guy. But still.
    Ideas or execution. Definitely ideas. My brain is an idea turning factory these days. Especially ever since I had bribed myself to either be a great writer before that, or go to a med school. (it worked) But I need tons of work in execution department. Which I am doing. 😀
    Dialogue or narrative? Sucker at both. But I am these days practicing writing poetry or just “essays on feels”. They are the worst. But makes me realize how I can improve my word-smithry. Or wordplay 😉

    • Hi Kinza! I’m in the same boat as you. Looking for that sweet spot. I’m also an idea generator. But I think execution only comes through much pratice. Mucha practica, as they say in spanish. Meaning lots of practice. Would love to see your poetry.

      • Trust me when I say you don’t want to. But who knows, I might just share it someday in my blog. I actually liked my today’s poem. 😀

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Practicing poetry is a habit I really want to start making time for. It’s such a great way to practice prose and wordplay, and can really bring a lot to the table in your fiction writing.

  12. R. R. Willica says

    When I finally realized stories were about the characters vs. characters merely being props to the plot was when my writing improved to a whole new level. Excellent post!

    Also I’m a pantsy plotter. Just because I never write down my outline doesn’t mean I don’t build it in my head.

  13. I, too, dislike the phrasing of “naturally good” at something, because the immediate response is that you are “naturally BAD” at the opposite. I prefer to think of it as “naturally BETTER” at something. For instance, if I am naturally better at plot than character, that doesn’t immediately mean I am BAD at character. I could be GOOD at character and still be BETTER at plot. Which would still mean I need to work on my character skills, but it’s not nearly as negative a mindset. Instead of a stark good vs. bad, it becomes a sliding scale of good, better, best.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I like that analysis. It puts more emphasis on improvement rather than an oh-well-guess-this-is-as-good-as-it-gets mentality.

  14. Jeffrey Barlow says

    Allowing your pro to enable your cons appears not only in any industry, but in every day life. Everybody should always be looking to improve their faults rather than assuming their good qualities will sweep them under the rug.

    Excellent post Katie.

  15. Hi I’m just commenting so I can be notified of new posts

  16. Whew! This post is jam packed with riches and I’m still wading through all the links (sausage).

  17. I don’t have a superpower. Writing has changed history, yes, but for me, it’s just a gift. Not a superpower.

  18. Love it!

    I’ve always been of the position that when someone says “you’re bad at X” I hear, “you need to improve X.” Or, as someone said, the solution is out there. There’s always a way to improve.

    When it comes to the “All writers” statements. Makes me think of mind traps in CBT. Any sentence containing the words Everybody (or in this case All), Nobody, Always or Never are mind traps. They are wrong, and will only limit your thinking.


  1. […] You Have a Writing Superpower? (And Why You […]

  2. […] writers have a flare for certain elements of craft—almost like a superpower. K.M Weiland asks if you have a writing superpower—and explains why you shouldn’t. Michael Dirda shares Farnsworth’s Classical English Metaphor to help with your imagery, and […]

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