Back when I started going to critique groups and getting serious about this writing adventure, I didn't have a lot to offer. Like, I'd be sitting at a table with people who had published two, three, forty books, and all I had were a literature degree and a reputation for being really handy with commas. So before offering critique of any kind, I warned folks that they should take the comma edits as set science and all other notes with a cup or bucket of salt.
As I've adventured around in this crazy world since then, I've gotten a little more information crammed into my noggin, and though I will still defend the Oxford comma with my dying breath (looking at you, APA-style journalism people), there's one thing I do even better now:
I shake the pom-poms for you.
All those other people sitting around all those tables are all pretty incredible writers. Most have gone on to publish their brilliant stories, and I am so stuffed with pride for them I feel like exploding right now. In the best possible way, of course.
When it comes to all the obvious things--fame, fortune, personal satisfaction in a job well done--writing hasn't really been good to me. Where it shines, though, is shoving this awkward introvert into the faces of amazing people and giving them a reason to see her. Sometimes listen to her. Sometimes even share their friendship with her. So hell yeah, that's the thing I'm proudest of, the thing I do best, and the service I offer to anyone who needs it.
If you're at a crossroads--don't know whether you want to go indie or hang in there for trad? not sure if your shapeshifting flamingo story is urban fantasy, paranormal romance, or upbeat horror? have an offer of representation from an agent that no one has ever heard of and aren't sure if you ought to accept?--I'm here for you. To listen. To offer advice if you need or want it, to read your manuscript if you need it, but mostly to listen as you work your way through all the tangles and snarls of this profession.
No matter whether you've published zero books or a hundred, you did the thing, wrote the words, and we now have that in common. We are peers. I support you. This is the thing I do best as a writer.
As for what I do worst... hoo boy. Erm, everything? Do we really need to slice that putrid carcass open and observe its innards? You are of course welcome to go read my one-star reviews. Those should illuminate far better than I could. And I do promise I'm working on all those things.
From underneath this sparkly pile of pom-poms, of course.