Monday, July 9, 2012

When I Grow Up...

My friend Chi (AKA Elizabeth Isaacs) was on Goodreads the other day, searching out new books from her favorite historical-romance author, Lisa Kleypas. She came across a work she didn't know had even been published and realized it was the Kleypas' first novel.

Naturally, Chi was interested to see what people had to say about it, but was somewhat upset to find someone had made a comment along the lines of, "It shows this is Kleypas' early work."

This got me to thinking about writing in general. We all know that more writing makes for better writing. It's a learning process and a skill that has to be honed over time. I'm sure Kleypas, like all of us, looked at her first published novel with stars in her eyes. I'm also sure she, like all of us, has grown over time and shudders when she reads her earlier work.

She's grown.

Growth is what happens when you dedicate yourself to improving your craft. Where you once struggled with showing versus telling, now you can spot that problem a mile away. Or maybe you had a problem with dialog, but you studied authors who have mastered it, and now you know how to fix those problems ... or better yet, how to avoid them altogether.

I can see even in a year's time how I've grown as a writer. My first drafts are better the first time around, so there's less to clean up. The things I battled in the past are getting a little easier now. I still have a mound of issues I'm working through, and I have a long way to go, but I can also see how far I've come.

So, I both dread and eagerly await the day when someone says,"You can tell it's her earlier work." Because to me, that means I've accomplished what I set out to do: become a better writer!

Happy writing.


  1. I couldn't agree more! So often creativity is stifled by the fear of sharing ones work with the world. What people fail to recognize is there is beauty in flaws. For me, it's inspiring to read a writer's entire work, appreciating their growth over time. A young Ray Bradbury is a much different read than his later works, much like Picasso's cubist period looks nothing like his neoclassic phase. I guess my point is that had Kleypas never published her first works, she wouldn't have grown into the writer that penned the Wallflower series, and that would just be wrong.

  2. I couldn't agree more. I can even tell now when I look back on something I wrote last year and see the change in my writing. I feel a mixture of excitement and embarrassment all at the same time:)