Writing Lessons From My Yoga Mat, Pt. 3: Strengths and Weaknesses

yogawriterOne of the things I love most about yoga is that it challenges every part of you. You need flexibility to get into poses, and strength to be able to hold them. You need balance. Patience. Mindfulness. Whatever you walk into that studio with, you will use.

Whatever you don’t have, you’ll gain.

It’s a lesson in humility for everyone.

For example, I was able to touch my toes before I tried my first pose. But within three seconds of holding downward-facing dog, my shoulder muscles were screaming. My more athletic friend had all the musculature he could want, but he was hamstrung by his, well, tight hamstrings.

Essentially, my observation has been that everyone has something they’re good at in yoga, and everyone has something they need to work to improve. You figure out your strengths. You focus on your weaknesses. And you know that your individual strengths and weaknesses are unique to your own body and your own mind. No one else will approach a pose exactly the same way you do.

But in the end, you’re all trying to get to the same place.

In writing, I’ve found the same principle to be true. Becoming a successful writer requires a command of language and story structure, untold imagination, a distinctive voice, discipline, and a host of other skills.

Personally, I think I came to the profession with a good sense of my own voice and a pretty decent grasp of English language mechanics. I had a long way to go with plotting and discipline, so over the years, those have been the things I’ve focused on.

I look for advice in online articles and blogs like this one. I read books. I seek out the input of my critique partners, who tend to have complimentary skill sets. I try to keep a healthy perspective on it all.

Sometimes, it’s tempting to look at someone else’s writing / career and envy the things that make them great. To the best of my ability, I try to keep in mind that they’ve most likely had their own trials and tribulations, and their own problem spots they’ve had to work on. Chances are, they’ve only gotten where they are because they’ve put a lot of energy into overcoming their particular weaknesses.

We all bring what we have to the table. We work together to try and gain the things we don’t.

Hopefully, eventually, we all end up at the same place.

 

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