The craft of writing – Always a learning process

I love to write. I always have. In the first grade, I wrote a story about a princess tiger who takes a cloud train back to the zoo. The concept was a little strange, to say the least, and the illustration, was, uh, imaginative. But if nothing else, I like to look at the homemade book to remind myself of one thing:

I have always wanted to be a writer.

And I became one. From a news journalist to fiction author, the range of my writing runs the gamut. But like any human, I am always growing, learning  and changing as a writer, striving to get better at what I do. I will never be perfect, but I can always improve.

My early stuff is really fun, but my newer stuff is better, and in a few years, I hope to be able to continue to say that. I think of it like my ice skating performances from long ago. One of the first programs I ever competed with was an up-tempo classical number from The Marriage of Figaro, in which I wore an ivory dress with gold and green sequence. Yikes, I know, but it was the nineties. The program was simple, but I performed it with much gusto. My most difficult jump at the time was a single Axel, nothing Olympic-level, but the routine is still so much fun to watch on video.

Years later, I skated at the junior level at the National Collegiate Figure Skating Championships. In this program I landed a double Axel as well as several difficult jump combinations. My spins were centered, fast, and complicated. I skated to the haunting waltz from Khachaturian’s Masquerade, outfitted  in a beautiful periwinkle dress with small crystals inlaid in the sleeves and bodice.

These were very different points in my skating career, and obviously, my skating (and fashion sense) had matured and improved by the time I reached the collegiate Nationals. But both performances have merit, both won me a gold medal, and both were enjoyed by the audience.

All that to say this: writing is the same. Our early stuff, whatever level we start at, will always be new and exciting. Sometimes it will need a great deal of work to get published, sometimes not, but even if it could be improved, it doesn’t lessen the value of it. Any writer–all writers–should realize they have room to grow. No one is an expert in this business, and while some may have extensive knowledge to share, approaching the table with humility and an open mind, no matter the level of expertise or success, is a must in my book.

So, until next time, write on.

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