Monday, 25 March 2013

How Far Have You Come?

I had an email from one of my students over the weekend. He was pleased because he'd noticed that one particular magazine had a new editor, so he'd submitted an article (that a previous editor of the same publication had rejected) and was delighted when the new editor had accepted it.

This made him realise that it might be worth going back and resubmitting some of his other articles that the previous editor had rejected. (Definitely a good move, in my opinion.)

However, as he read through some of his older work, he suddenly realised how his writing style had changed. Some of those early sentences were clunky, difficult to read and poorly punctuated. Admittedly, some pieces were now almost five years old, but he set about rewriting and updating them.

It wasn't until he came to re-read his edited version that he realised how far on his writing journey he'd travelled. Suddenly, the words he had in front of him illustrated how much he had learned from the craft of writing over the past five years.

A craftsman is always learning, honing and improving their skills, which is exactly what a writer should be doing. I always feel as though I'm on a never-ending journey, where, hopefully, each new piece is better than the one before.

So go on - why not have a look yourself? Go and find a piece of writing from a time when you had just begun your writing journey. It doesn't matter whether it was a year ago, or ten years ago. Try and find an old piece from those early days and read through it. And if you find yourself cringing, don't be embarrassed. Instead, take comfort from the fact that this proves you've developed as a writer. Isn't that something to be proud of? (And perhaps you can rewrite it and find a new market for that piece today!)

Good luck.


  1. I read the first story I sent to a magazine (about a year ago)recently and can see now how wrong it was - no wonder it wasn't accepted. My second story, howerver, I still liked so I resubmitted with a few changes and it was bought.I do think my writing now is a lot better than it was though.

    1. Well done for resubmitting that other story!

      I was reviewing something I wrote nearly ten years ago and I was amazed at how my writing style has changed. It just goes to show we don't always see the little steps that we take, but we can see the longer journey more easily.

  2. Having re-read some of my earliest work, I can see just how much my writing has improved. Illness did, and still continues to slow my progress, but along the way I've made many good friends. And writing has led me to delve into other forms of creativity.
    For me the question is, 'where would I be now if I hadn't taken the initial plunge to begin my career? Answer - still in the same place, wishing my life away.