Writing—A Progression of Skill
I queried an editor this summer about a self-help book I wrote several years ago. It’s a manuscript filled with positive thinking skills and techniques to reduce anxiety and depression.
When the editor asked to see the first 35 pages, I had no problem getting them ready. But when he asked to see the entire 300 pages manuscript, I had a big editing task in front of me.
I’ve written a lot in the past five years, and I wasn’t aware that my skills had improved until I went back through the manuscript and found sentences and paragraphs full of ‘was’ and ‘that’ and ‘of’. Many of my verbs were weak, and I repeated myself over and over again.
I have struggled the past few weeks to get the manuscript up to speed. I’m sure it could be better, but it’s much improved. Even though it’s been a lot of work, I’ve enjoyed using the expertise I’ve gained through my reading, from my fellow writers in my critique group, and the conferences I have attended.
This process has helped me put things in perspective. My skill level is getting better, and I can communicate my thoughts and feelings through the written word with more ability than I could before.
I’m grateful for the opportunity of seeing into the window of my past.
Do the same experiment yourself. Look at some of the pieces you wrote a few years ago. Has your writing level improved? What’s changed for you?
“God gives us skill. But He could not make Antonio Stradivaris violins with Antonio.” George Elliott