A motivational word on skill development.
Sometimes I feel like my writing ability is barely edging forward—that if my skill is growing, it’s only doing so under the surface.
But then I look at the difference in the same basic scene I wrote in my first novel and in my fifth, and it’s breathtaking.
- In the first, a young woman discovers who she is in a little pop and a lot of thoughtful conversation.
- In the second, a young woman still discovers who she is, but this is a bang, this is denial and tension and the looking death in the face before admitting defeat.
Both come at about the same place in the story, and the rough drafts of both were written from the young woman’s perspective, and both discover secrets of equal inherent weight.
But one of them was written by a writer tottering on unsteady feet, trying to copy the adults, and the other by one who knows pacing and tension and emotion like the freckles of their hands and uses it to race a fresh path through hills no one has touched before.
Sometimes we feel like our skill isn’t building, just because it’s building beneath the surface.
But a huge tree will topple without its roots, while a strong root system will hold a trunk fast for a lifetime.