Writers: Remember How Far You’ve Come

Progress isn’t easy to see or hear or detect. We’re not always, as ironic as it is, qualified to judge the improvement (or lack thereof?) of our own writing over time.

Even though this blog will continue posting as normal about the usual topics during this time, I just want you to know that no matter who you are, even if I don’t know you, you matter to me. I’m doing everything I can to amplify the voices that need to be heard right now on the appropriate platforms. Stay safe. Keep going. And take care of yourself.

And please consider being part of the solution.

For many people, writing is the one thing that calms the mind, cleanses the soul, and warms the heart. Even for those who aren’t necessarily interested in turning their writing hobby into a career, feeling as though you aren’t getting any better at what you’re doing — even when you are — is a common and frustrating occurrence.

That’s one of the toughest things about writing for many of us. Progress isn’t easy to see or hear or detect. We’re not always, as ironic as it is, qualified to judge the improvement (or lack thereof?) of our own writing over time. That’s often not a great feeling.

There are a lot — A LOT — of things to be discouraged about as a writer. This is a tough business. It’s not always inclusive, it’s not always fair or simple or even fun. It can take years of nonstop hard work, rejection, and small, seemingly insignificant wins to get you to a place where success is possible.

But that doesn’t mean writing through your disappointment isn’t worth it. It doesn’t mean there aren’t good parts, or that you’ll always be miserable doing what you so desperately want to do.

You really have to put in the effort, in all this, to find and hold onto the positives. One way to do that is to reflect not only on where you want to go, but also where you’ve been.

In all honesty, many of us are afraid to reflect deeply enough to realize we really are better off than where we started. Searching your own soul like that can feel intimidating because you don’t always know what you’re going to find when you open yourself up to that kind of analysis.

Which is exactly why you should do it anyway.

Being a writer is a rewarding, fulfilling, absolutely worthwhile hobby and profession (or both? Yeah, let’s go with both!). Anyone who wants to write can and should write. There should be no restrictions. You should be allowed to progress at your own pace whenever and however is most convenient for you.

But that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have those all-too-familiar moments of: “Am I even good at this?”

These moments are common not because there’s something wrong with us, but instead due to the fact that creators are born to question the world around us. It’s how we make things out of nothing. You question your worth and the value of your skills because you want to do better. Sometimes the only way to do better is to look back.

Don’t be afraid. This is one of many ways we learn, and change, and grow.

No matter how far you go, no matter how discouraged you might feel, never forget how far you’ve really come since your journey began.

It may not seem like much. It may not be much in comparison to other people you know (and many you don’t).

But progress is still progress. You’re still amazing. Look! Look at all you’ve accomplished.

Be proud.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

2 thoughts on “Writers: Remember How Far You’ve Come

  1. I hear you about not knowing how exactly we’re improving. Sometimes I even look back at the things I wrote a decade ago and don’t see much improvement, so it can be pretty discouraging, especially since I do it for a living. Anyway, I loved this. Thanks for sharing!

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