How Has Your Writing Changed?

evolution of a writer

AFTER YEARS (or days?) of writing what have you realised about your craft? What has changed the more you wrote?

Previously I would be in consternation over a sentence, a word, struggling to move onwards with a story or essay, as if words had a power over me in a bad way, preventing me from being productive. I would leave raps, poems and stories half finished. If I didn’t finish them in one sitting I’d rarely go back to them. For some reason I froze when it came to editing. I hated rewriting and changing what I’d produced organically.

Well, those days are gone. Not long gone but gone. I still have loads of ideas and brain scratchings of embryonic stories that will maybe never come to fruition. But they are there. Maybe one day.

Now, I have no qualms about editing. It’s still painful sometimes, but I can select text and delete without too much thought. I recognise weak writing and can zoom out from my own headspace to critique my work without much issue. The arrogance of youth (in my 20’s), has gone, when I thought every word was a golden nugget.

(I forgot) Patience. Realising writing is a long term thing, was also a huge breakhtrough. There is no longer a need to rush my writing, I give it the time it needs.

Finishing projects: I rarely finished anything. Now, I write, leave the story to breathe, write some more then go back and finish the other story. Previously that was almost unthinkable. The feeling of actually finishing a piece of writing is a huge driver now. Because unless I finish something I started, there’s an unsettling feeling – I know it needs to be done!

In essence my discipline has improved. I’ll write even if ‘I’m not in the mood’. Regardless of time or day the mentality of getting things done is maybe something that only age could bring me. Having WordPress to inspire and drive me helps as well, in addition to all the great interactions, likes and comments from followers that make blogging so worthwhile.

21 Comments

  1. I think i’m pretty similar. I never used to finish things & that applied not only to stories, but also books I was reading and food I was eating! I’ve totally changed now. I’m now in the process of editing stories that I’d given up on and my next aim is to return to my NaNo story, which I’m determined to finish. It definitely helps to leave your work for a while though. It’s difficult to see the wood for the trees otherwise.

  2. This is how I feel. I have tons of unfinished stuff. My Life actually gets in my way. Not that I am complaining. But I do win some battles for now. I think soon, maybe, I will start winning the war!

  3. Interesting stuff. I was thinking about this the other day. I started writing my first ‘story’ twenty six years ago and gave up. I then started writing again two and a half years ago. The two weeks ago I found my first story in the loft. I hadn’t seen it for over twenty years. I hardly dare read it.

      1. I’ve only read the first bit. It was strange. When I was writing in 1989 I set it in the then future which is now, now (if that makes any sense at all). In other words I have an unfinished story, written in the past, set in an alternative present.

        Maybe I’ll finish it.

  4. I agree a lot with what’s been said. I think for most who are trying to make their writing ‘good’ and improve it’s a difficult balance between editing, drafting and redrafting, and knowing when to leave it alone. The best words of advice I’ve received when it comes to this, is to not let perfection get in the way of productivity. Eventually with practise, you might make something great! On this topic, I’d love to hear what advice you would give to young writers/bloggers who want to improve and get people talking about their work? Thanks!

    1. Well not many people talk about my work so I’m not exactly an expert.
      To a young writer I’d say read a lot and read widely – it expands your horizons and fuels the imagination and lets you know whats possible.
      Write how you write – don’t bother looking for 1 bajillion tips on how to be a better writer, just write and keep doing it, your style will form over time and evolve. And definitely don’t try to imitate. write what’s comfortable for you, how you feel. There’s only one you that can write like you can. Writing needs fresh perspective.
      Hope that helps! πŸ™‚

  5. Any thoughts I had during college about thinking my work didn’t need edited were shot down by my creative writing tutor. We’d meet after reading my stuff and he’d say “Do you want the truth or beautiful lies?”. I was taught to be tough on my work from then on and it helped greatly. As part of this process I developed a belief that any stories or scripts I write are not pristine sculptures only to be admired. They need to have feedback and, if needed, be rebuilt.

    I’ve also learned to chill the heck out. Many years ago I belted through stories at light speed, desperately cramming exposition in every corner. My stories now are a little more considered.

    1. I’ll take the truth over nutrasweet praise any day now but there was a time when I didn’t value other peoples opinions too.
      You make a good point about writing not being there to be admired. There’s always something to be worked on. And that’s unsettling in a way too, because no writing is ever 100% finished. Such is life!

  6. You know,my writing has changed since I went to law school. Now I can edit and shorten things without being too attached to what I’m getting rid of. That is somewhat powerful because I used to have problems letting go stuff. I don’t anymore.

  7. I hadn’t thought much about my writing until this post. When I was in high school, I was just trying to get from point A to B without too much thought. Now, I’m much more calculating, a better planner.

    This idea might be the same with any passion or hobby. Our way of doing things changes as we grow older and wiser. To me, actually finishing projects is the best part. Sooooo so satisfying.

  8. Like you, I don’t find editing to be the destruction of my thoughts anymore. What’s really changed though is I allow myself to admit some of the things I write are actually good. I no longer tear my work/myself apart anymore. If it sucks I acknowledge it and fix it. If it’s good I work to make it great. If it’s great I pat myself on the back and try to create more.

    1. Yeah it’s easy to get overly analytical and critical. It’s weird how one day, a piece of writing seems horrid, then with another days perspective, it’s good. The crazy mind and the things it does!

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