It can be really difficult to measure how much progress we’ve made with regards our writing. There’s no real right or wrong, even publishing can’t always tell us how much we’ve grown. The other day, however, I stumbled across a memory stick containing what was an attempt at writing from the beginning of last year. It’s not that long ago, and I can remember the story well, and the fact that at the time I thought it was rather good.
So, sitting down with a cup of coffee, I opened the doc and read, horrified that I had committed these words to the screen.
To say it was horrendous is a little harsh, but it wasn’t very good.
Overuse of adverbs; over-explaining everything; jumping from scene to scene without logic; awful dialogue… it was bad.
Now, I’m not saying I’m a great writer now, I wouldn’t even say that I’m a good writer, but I will say that I am better than I was. Much better. Why?
Since the beginning of last year I have written a lot. I have over ninety thousand words of a novel, plus countless short stories and pieces of flash fiction. I have read extensively from all genres and devoured blogs, books and other forms of writing advice. I’ve invested a lot of my time in my writing and it’s nice to see some sort of pay-off. All of those rejected stories filed away on my computer, the sleepless nights and the forcing myself through agonising writer’s block weren’t for nothing. With every piece I write, I’m honing my skills. It’s a never-ending learning curve, and though I’m still at the beginning, the work is paying off. It’s there to see in black and white.
How do you measure progress?