Story Craft: My Personal Strengths As A Writer

Jul 05, 2024 by S. R. Watts

As accomplished as I am now, it may be hard to imagine me ever having any difficulties as a writer. However, my academic history may come as a shock to many who may only be familiar with the kind of content I have recently produced and have no knowledge of what it took to get me to this point in my career.

Back when I was in high school, I was placed in resource English due to my delayed performance on several reading and writing standardized tests. Though I loved creating my own stories, I had proven to my teachers that I lacked many of the technical skills that my peers had already mastered regarding grammar, punctuation, and spelling in the English language, which led to a number of communication deficiencies on my part. Having to be put in a class for students who were classified as delayed or having a developmental disability left me feeling there was something wrong with me and that I would never be able to achieve my dreams of becoming a best-selling author.

My English Teacher, on the other hand, could see my potential as a writer through the stories I wrote for certain in-class assignments and thus set out to prove to me that I could be successful. She set up a test for me to take that she said would measure every aptitude that was known to exist in my brain and that the school psychiatrist would administer it over the course of several days. So I agreed to take it, and after two and a half weeks of anxiety-inducing exams, I was presented with the results.

My teacher invited my parents to the meeting where the psychiatrist would read the test results. As I sat in the classroom with my mother and father on either side of me, I listened as each aptitude score was read, with 1 being the score given if you performed a certain skill at a first-grade level and 12 being if you performed it at a twelfth-grade level. Most of the aptitudes came back just as I had expected them to: the math and science areas were mostly 6s and 7s, indicating that I performed STEM Field subjects at a middle school level. The areas measuring my performance in the social sciences came back in the 10s and 11s, which was good to hear since I felt I was pretty conscious of social issues for my age. By the time we got to the Language Arts, my heart sank to see that my technical writing skills ranked at a 6.3, which was nowhere near what it needed to be if I wanted to succeed as a writer.

However, the Aptitude test that measured my storytelling abilities scored 16.8, which, according to the school psychiatrist, put my skills as an author right up there with those of someone working to earn their Ph.D. in Creative Writing. Hearing this gave me goosebumps as I began to imagine just how advanced my brain really was when it came to telling great stories. My teacher had indeed proven that I was someone who had a great deal of potential to succeed as an author, even though I hadn’t even penned a best-selling novel at that point in my life. It was there in that classroom with my parents sitting beside me that I vowed I would do whatever it took to make my dreams come true and that I wouldn’t let my lack of technical writing skills keep me from achieving the impossible.

So, twenty years later, and with one bachelor’s degree in creative writing under my belt, I have successfully written my first novel, which I edited and proofread all on my own. The book has gone on to receive high praise from all those who have read it, giving me a great deal of satisfaction to know that I did have something wonderful to contribute to society. My ongoing journey toward literary success is proof that anything is possible if you have enough passion for what you are working toward. You have people in your life who can see your potential even when you can’t see it in yourself. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a little raw talent on your side, even though it is, by itself, no substitute for hard work and perseverance.