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Not too long ago, I received another lovely e-mail from one of you wonderful readers, and in it was mentioned a fear that I suspect most writers know all too well.
Sometimes, when we write something that we’re particularly proud of, whether it’s a paragraph, scene, chapter, short story, poem, or book, we get this little nagging voice that says this is the best you’ll ever do.
Sometimes, when we struggle after that great story or whatever it is, the voice says, you’ve plateaued. Might as well settle for mediocrity, because you’re not going to get better than this.
Sometimes, when the struggle continues, the voice says, you’ll never write as well as that passage again. It’s over.
And let’s be honest. Sometimes, we’re tempted to listen to that voice.
Don’t do it.
The wonderful thing about writing is that it’s a skill that we can always improve. There’s always more to learn, more ways to develop and hone our craft, more techniques and tips that even the top earners of the field are still taking in. There isn’t a final master level and we never plateau.
The thing I love about writing is that much of the learning is subconscious. We learn every time we read a new book, every time we read a tip that resonates with us, every time we sit down and start writing. We learn with every edit we incorporate, every manuscript we evaluate, every tear we shed (figurative or literal) over revisions or getting that line just right.
So whenever you reach a point when you start to think you’ll never write as well as that sentence/paragraph/passage/book/whatever, I want you to stop and tell that voice to shut up.
Because not only will you write as well as that passage—you’ll write better. One day you’ll look back at what you thought was your best and you’ll realize just how much you’ve improved because your work now? It makes that fabulous passage look average.
As long as you keep reading and writing and pushing to improve, I promise you you’ll get better. It may not feel like it, and you may not even realize it at first, but with every scene you write and book you read and sentence you edit, you are improving. You are learning.
You are writing better than ever before.
Have you ever heard the nagging voice? What did you do to overcome it?
Have you ever worried that you'll never write as well as you have before? Here's why you shouldn't. (Click to tweet)
Worried that your writing skill may have plateaued? You don't need to, and this is why. (Click to tweet)