All around us we see stuff about improving as writers. I’ve even said vague things about “can improve writing” or whatnot in various things that I’ve written.
But what does this even mean?
I’ll be the first to admit I have a hard time separating my writing into it’s individual parts. These individual parts are important in being able to do things like: be able to tell what the problem is. Pinpoint specific areas that need improvement. Actually figure out how to improve.
I’ve always just been told that I’m a good writer, and have always succeeded in classes – and maybe that’s to my disadvantage. I haven’t learned how to improve; or more accurately, I’ve never learned how to deliberately improve. I’ve improved over time but I’m not sure how I did it.
So maybe it’s just my issue. But really, what are the signs of improving writing?
I realized the other day that the sentences in my current manuscript have become increasingly short and clear. Supposedly that’s a thing, though I worry I’m going the other direction. I’ve also been noticing superfluous filter words and have started to realize when I write them (I’m also seeing them in other works and have started editing a bit in my head, while is only slightly distracting), but am a little worried I’m losing style. Yesterday I noticed a few parts in my manuscript that didn’t seem to fit with the character’s personality and tweaked it to sound more like her, which I figure is pretty important. I’m noticing certain scenes that seem to be slowing down the pace of my novel and perhaps aren’t necessary.
This whole thought process started because I was researching more about author platforms and query letters. I got caught up and how awesome some people are able to write: clear, concise, engaging. And it just makes me feel a little hopeless that I’m never going to write like that, and don’t know how to improve to get there. I have a 118k word manuscript that could be utter crap for all I know, and every time I think I’m ready to start on the publishing road, something else catches my attention that needs to be fixed.
There’s a very good chance that self-doubt is the real thing stopping me. Lord knows we all suffer from that.
Anyway, that was a bunch of whining, now let’s all move on with our day.
Has anybody else encountered this problem? What areas have you pinpointed improvements in your writing? And what do you think helped the most?