Friday, November 25, 2011

Translating Innate Talents into Writing Success

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with good food, great company, and lots of laughter and good cheer! My Thanksgiving was fabulous. We spent it with some close friends (who are like family), rather than my huge extended family. It’s been a rough year for many and that includes both our friends and us. It was an excellent time to celebrate the good and important things we do have and most have little to do with material things. I came home this evening feeling content and well fed. 

Hope you did too!

My guest today is historical (set in the Georgian era)romance author, Emery Lee. Her discussion centers on being thankful for her writing career and the steps that lead up to it. She also includes a link for the Clifton Strengths Finder test and how she uses her strengths in her writing. 

My writing career has been a very roundabout path. In fact, even five years ago, I could have more easily imagined myself as a Jeopardy contestant than a published author. A writing career is something I could never have imagined in my wildest fantasies. How did it happen?

Since this blog is very much about writers’ journeys, I thought it would be interesting to share a very unique personal experience that served to guide my path as well as validating my decision to pursue a full time writing career.

Five years ago, as an initiative to more fully develop the potential of its workforce, my former employer required all management level employees to complete a talent assessment tool.
The stated purpose was to evaluate each managers’ natural talents in order to promote personal and career success. I was highly skeptical when I completed the on-line questionnaire, but upon receiving the results, I was stunned.

EMERY LEE’S FIVE KEY “THEMES” From Clifton StrengthsFinder
People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
People strong in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
People strong in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
People strong in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

Wow! What a wake-up call! These results implied I’d wasted twenty years of my life in a completely incompatible job! No wonder I was miserable!
But what did this REALLY mean?
While I had already begun writing my first novel at this time, as purely a creative outlet from my stifling job, these results served to validate that writing was the right path for me. This is how I translated my individual themes into my writing career:

·       Strategic means I have the ability to think a story through, to examine it from all angles – to plot with complexity.

·        Achievement means I have an innate need to always finish what I start or die trying.

·        Responsibility keeps me on deadline.

·      Input applies fabulously to historical fiction as this theme allows me to spend tireless hours researching even the smallest details for my stories.

·      Intellection – the love of thinking allows me to give myself over completely to my imagination

Realizing these individual strengths/themes has helped my writing career by enabling me to focus on what I do best, and in doing so, I have discovered more personal satisfaction that I have never known before. 

  • Whether you be a writer or not, what are some of your strengths and how do they help you to be successful?

FORTUNE'S SON available now in print and ebook.

Love is the ultimate gamble...

Seasoned gambler Philip Drake knows every trick and uses most of them. After years of infamy, he's ready to accept the mantle of respectability with his earldom-- until a devastating racing loss and the threat of debtors' prison force Philip right back into his gaming ways...

Susannah, Lady Messingham, is a woman with a past who refuses to belong to any man again. But Philip's skill catches her eye and she persuades him to teach her how to win at the tables. Their new partnership turns into an exhilarating high-stakes game that entangles them in terrifying risk and unimaginable rewards...

Immerse yourself in the risky side of Georgian England with a pair of lovers who aren't afraid to risk it all on a toss of the dice...


Emery Lee is a lifelong equestrienne and history buff 
who loves nothing more than a romantic story that also provides 
food for the intellect.

Her debut novel THE HIGHEST STAKES is an epic tale of star-cross 
lovers set in the high stakes world of 18th century horse racing. In 
FORTUNE’S SON, Emery spins a web of drama, passion, and deceit
deep in the world of high stakes gaming.

You can find Emery: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads 



~Sia McKye~ said...

Emery, welcome back to Over Coffee. Love the sound of your book. Georgian sounds fun after the surfeit of Regency.

Hilary said...

Hi Sia - delighted to read you had a Happy Thanksgiving .. just never got over to wish you one. Life is quite tough now for many .. and taking a gentle approach with good friends seems such a soul satisfying take on Thanksgiving time.

Emery's story is fascinating isn't it - and she's followed her dreams which have been so endorsed by her strengths .. realising her passion. Her books sound excellent reads ..

Thanks for sharing with us .. cheers Hilary

Tonya Kappes said...

Hi, everyone! I hope everyone did have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Emery I love your story. I love that you followed your dreams. So many times life gets in the way and our dreams falter.
I believe that I'm a good story teller. My weakness the entire editing process, but with a great editor I'm seeing my dreams come true.

Kat Sheridan said...

Sia, glad you had a great holiday. You needed the break. You already know how I spent mine (for everyone else, I broke my ankle on Monday and pretty much spent my time in hospitals and surgery. ICK. But from here on out, I'll just be getting better!)

Emery, the book sounds wonderful. What made you choose Georgian, which is refreshing to see! I'll be interested in seeing what the strength analyzer says about me. I THINK my strengths are just that I really love words. My weakness is that I'm easily distracted. LOL!

Emery Lee said...

Hi everyone!
It's sad how so many of us can go through life never knowing our true talents or realizing our dreams. While I was very skeptical about this "strengthsFinder" test, I have found it to be an amazing tool that I have also encouraged my teenage sons to use. In the end, life is too short to feel stifled and dissatified. Writing has freed me from that which I am so very thankful for.
Warmest regards,

Emery Lee said...

@ Kat-
How I love the Georges - let me count the ways...

My short answer about why I love the Georgian era has to be - the clothes! ;D
The much longer and complex answer is contained in the following blog post "Why I Love the Georges" :


~Sia McKye~ said...

Georgian was an interesting time period. I love the look of the clothes too, but by god, I'd not want to wear that much poundage. Good lord.

I looked at the test and thought of my teenage son, too, Emery.

Anonymous said...

I've never been good on what strengths or weaknesses I have, not that self analytical I guess. I guess at my age, I don't care that much any more LOL.

Glad you had a good Thanksgiving Sia, I always enjoyed Thanksgiving when I live in NC and miss not being there, for Christmas too, we had such fun.

Not quite sure what the difference between Georgian and Regency is, Prinny was part of the Georgian era after all.

Nancy said...

Emery, congratulations on your release! I'm also a writer, not yet published, but I'm persistent. That seems to be a strength, at least in this.