L is for Looking Back

In the writing game, it’s super easy to get suck on meeting a deadline, getting that query letter out there, or finding the next writing “wrong” to “right.” Sometimes this forward focus leaves us wondering how much longer it will take before we land an agent, get a book deal, or finally be done revising a novel. It’s easy to get downtrodden and wonder: will I ever be GOOD ENOUGH?

In those moments, I challenge myself to LOOK BACK at where I started. LOOK BACK to those early days where adverbs ruled and backstory filled whole chapters. LOOK BACK to the paragraphs of passive writing and telling rather than showing.

And reflect on HOW FAR I’VE COME.

When I compare something I wrote 2+ years ago to something I’ve written recently, I’m startled by how good it is! Seriously! Okay, so I still need to improve, but my gosh, I’m a LOT better than before.

Realizing that helps me feel better. It helps me feel contentment even in a tumultuous journey. Even though I’m still waiting (sometimes anxiously so), I have 2+ years of experience under my belt, making me a lot further along than I was.

Thank goodness writing’s not a race, but it is like a marathon in a lot of ways. And I think I’m finding my pace.

How about you? What do you see when you look back? How does it make you feel about your writing now?


13 comments on “L is for Looking Back

  1. Ciara Knight says:

    I agree. I have to look back sometimes to keep going. Never compare yourself to another writer. Each of us has our own unique voice and style. Embrace it and you’ll finish the marathon. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post!

  2. vixter2010 says:

    It’s great to look back and see what you’ve accomplished and how you’ve grown. It is a long marathon this buisness but hopefully we’ll make it over the finish line one day ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Laura, thanks for the reminder. I was feeling overwhelmed a bit today about how nothing is happening with my writing.

    Like you, I started two plus years ago. Everything you mentioned about the beginning was true for me. I shook my head and laughed.

    I have improved greatly, too. I’ve learned so much and I want to learn more. As the name of my blog states, In Time …

  4. Great post. Looking back over our previous work definitely is a great booster. The hope of course, is that we’ve improved and usually writers do. What’s also great about looking back is remembering with bittersweet fondness the inception of our ideas and comparing them to where we’ve brought the story to. Since I’m currently in editing mode of all my stories, I get to look back at my mistakes all the time LOL.

  5. Aww, this made me feel all warm and fuzy inside. When I look back, like you, I often look at the overuse of adverbs, showing and not telling, inappropriate dialog (does not match the charachter and his/her style), passive voice, annd lack of suspense. I matter what happens, at least I can’t say that I’m not learning something.

    โค Gina Blechman

  6. Looking back I see that my writing has improved. Looking at the present, I see it needs more improvement. Looking forward I hope for further improvement. This doesn’t seem like anything too exciting. I’m glad that writing isn’t all there is to life. We have relationship. And don’t forget food! Now I can get excited about food. God. Fulfillment, whether I succeed at writing or not. Blessings to you, Laura…

  7. I love this post. I found something I wrote a couple years back last night and WOW! It’s BAD! It’s a whole scene of nothing but telling. Nothing happens. Nothing is moved forward. I’m so glad I found it because now I get to re-write it and make it much better ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Jessica Bell says:

    Sometimes I feel embarrassed I let people crit such bad writing! lol :o)

  9. Margo says:

    Okay, two years ago… probably not a lot of difference. But I did recently sneak a peak at work I did about 8 years ago (yeah! Talk about a marathon!) and that did make me smile. Big time improvement.

    What I’m struggling with right now is how slowly I write. It takes me YEARS to put together a novel because even with careful outlining I’m discovering it still goes through lots of evolution. I do admit to being a bit envious of people who can churn out words faster and even more so, revise faster. A lot of that is just discipline – but in chair. That’s what troubles me most, I guess. My lack of discipline. Sigh (tells herself AGAIN to get OFF the internet and back to chapter 23)

  10. Lynn Rush says:

    When I look back I see some of my mistakes, but now, I see someone who has learned from them (mostly—LOL)

    Writing is a fun, exciting, scary and frustrating journey. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

  11. You nailed it. There’s always something to learn about the craft which means there’s always something to improve. Looking back, I can see how much I’ve grown as a writer. It’s not always easy, but it’s been fun.

  12. Carol Riggs says:

    Hey, you are SO right. What a great perspective. When the goal is to improve as a writer, how can you go wrong? If you are growing and improving, you’re inevitably getting closer to publication, too! Have a great Friday!

  13. Akoss says:

    When I look back two years ago, I tell myself “Awesome, you’re better at catching your own tense switching now.” ๐Ÿ˜€

    It’s not much, but at least critters can focus on the story instead of be jarred by my writing going from present tense to past tense. Of course there are a lot more things that I learned about writing ever since.

    So compared to me, you’re sooooo close. Keep pushing, and don’t stop until you get your break through.

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