Every writer has a weakness. For fiction writers, it could be lackluster dialogue or flat character descriptions. For memoirists, it could be fuzzy chronology. My poetic weakness is syllables.
Ever since I was a speck of a child, words entranced me. I loved the sounds, the meaning, the look of certain words. My mom says I never just said ONE word, I had to say two… minimum. Some chalk it up to being a female (which is a stereotype), but it’s just because I love language.
I can’t count a word’s different parts. Maybe it’s my innate dislike for mathematics, but syllables trip me up unless it’s the easiest word in creation (and even then, don’t bet on it). I add more syllables than there should be to almost all of them.
Take the word “dropped”. One syllable. My brain sees it as two: Dropp-ed. I tend to stay away from sonnets and other forms of poetry that require syllable-counts because this strange linguistic addition always leads me to the wrong amount needed for correct compositions. It’s frustrating.
I tend to use syllable-calculators (yes, they exist) when I feel the need to create something with metered lines. It makes me feel like a bit of a fraud, to be honest. I’m mostly compelled to write free-verse poems, so it isn’t that much of an issue. Over the years, I have made a type of uneasy peace with my incompetence. (Just as a side note: I have tried every device out there taught in elementary schools, it doesn’t help. I will add extra claps regardless, by Gods!)
What is your writing weakness? How do you compensate?