1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Does writing get harder with improvement?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, May 16, 2012.

    I feel as though the better I get at writing, and the more I learn about it, the harder it gets.

    When I was young, writing was easy, because I didn't recognize how bad my writing was. Now I try to analyze everything I write and wonder why I wrote it, and why it should go there, and how it adds to the story.

    Does writing get progressively harder for everyone else, too?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In a way, certainly. The more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. That is true in most professions, and writing is no exception.
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not only that, but the better you get, the more you demand from yourself.

    Writers are never satisfied...
     
  4. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Great...how nice it would be to suck again. Humbug.
     
  5. C.B Harrington
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    C.B Harrington Member

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    Writing gets easier for me. The more I write, the more established my voice becomes, and the easier it is to transition thoughts and feelings into character actions and theme. There does come a point that you need to be satisfied with your writing ability, and revel in the realizations of minor improvement without seeking them out constantly.

    It's a slippery slope of over analyzing that can actually lessen your skills in writing.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think writing gets harder the better you are at it. You become more aware of technique, and the effects you want to achieve. You become more aware of cliches and infodumps and so on, and you go out of your way to try to avoid those. If you don't care much how your work turns out, writing (like anything else) is easy. But if you want to do it well, you've got to really put serious effort into it.

    It's a little like playing chess. When you're a young kid playing against other young kids, you tend to just make any old move. Your opponent is as weak as you are. But if you want to play at grandmaster level, you have to study the game, know a ton about the game, and think your strategies out in deep detail. In other words, you work harder when you play at a higher level.

    Writing, too, is competitive. To get your story published, the editor or publisher has to believe that your manuscript is better than the other manuscripts he has on his desk. So you do your damnedest to write your story as well as you possibly can, and that takes a lot of serious work.
     
  7. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Harder, yes, but also more enjoyable. You sound like you don't enjoy writing anymore because you can now see all your flaws and may even think that you can never be a good/great writer. The good news is that all newbie writers have experienced that feeling, and like them you'll get past it at some point... when you start enjoying writing again despite the hard work you have to put in.
     
  8. NeedMoreRage
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    NeedMoreRage Member

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    I think one of the reasons it's getting harder for me is that I want to try some new things. When I was new to writing, I wrote stuff that was almost identical in style and plot, but now I'm trying new ways to write. Doing that forces me to stop and think far more often.
     
  9. Lazy
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    Lazy Banned

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    Wisdom right here.
     
  10. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    I feel like it depends on the day. I'm beyond frustrated right now and feel like chucking my computer across the room. But other days, when everything is flowing nicely, it's a breeze. I have a first draft and I'm trying to polish it and... GAH!!
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely, yes. I was too one of those who in my early years and teens wrote for pure pleasure without any thought of ever turning it into a novel. I didn't feel any pressure of it having to be good, which was probably right in that age. But now I feel like the more I learn, the more critical I get towards my own writing. And it makes it more difficult, of course, but it's also challenging, in a good way. Sometimes frustrating when the scenes doesn't come out as I see them in my head, when all the words I write sound lame, but in the end it's even more enjoyable now than when I was younger.
     
  12. Dryriver
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    Dryriver Senior Member

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    The more you push the quality of your writing, the more difficult the writing process gets.

    So yes.

    Bear in mind when you strain to write well that nothing great can be accomplished without there being a struggle of some description involved.
     
  13. GillySoose
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    GillySoose Member

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    I personally think re-writing gets harder because you start doing it more as you improve :p
     
  14. John Eff
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    John Eff Member

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    Call me Mr Thicky, but I'm not sure I understand this.

    Some people are saying that the more you learn about something, and the more experience you get, it gets more difficult?

    Is there not a danger of over-analysis overriding spontaneity?

    Yours,

    J. Thicky
     
  15. AMJ
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    AMJ Member

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    I was thinking the same thing. For me it seems that the craft gets more involved, but I wouldn't say any more difficult. I found it got much easier after I finished my first novel re-write, because I could see that the pain and the tears of creating it, all that uncertainty and self doubt, were worth it in the end. After that, it was like I was set free with the knowlege that I could achieve what I wanted.
     
  16. Lazy
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    Lazy Banned

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    It is perfectly explained in the first reply to this thread. The more you learn the more you discover how little you really know. The only other option is complacency.
     
  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    But the more difficult it gets, the more satisfaction you get at the end of the whole process - because you KNOW it is good. It's not just the natural pride of the author being in love with his work, but you know it's good. You worked for it, and here are the fruits, and they are sweet indeed.

    What I find helpful is, look back over old work that you've done. It needn't be really old like, "I did this when I was 10. Look at how I've improved!" I mean, there're times when that's good too, but I mean, look back over work that you did say, 3 months ago, or 6 months ago. I looked over my MS which I pounded out within 1.5 years and as I jump around the MS, I'm seeing how I've improved. And that gives me encouragement. And it's a realistic kind of view - it was improvement done over just 3 months, it's not like I thought in a greatly different way, was much less mature than now, had tonnes of time to improve. It's only 3 months, and I see a visible improvement! How can that not encourage?

    So, does it get more difficult? Yes and no. But I usually just go with my gut feeling - if I feel that it is good, I re-read it a few times and if I see nothing that needs changing right now, I move on. And when there's something good that you've written, re-read it and admire it. Those are the moments when you really believe in your skills as a writer - fuel up on those. We all need it. To an extent, you've got to 100% believe that you are indeed a brilliant writer. We all got to, or we would never write because, frankly, perfection is an unattainable standard.
     
  18. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I would say its a little bit of both, easier and harder. Your writing gets better as you become more fluent in the language you write in, even if it is your native tongue. As I delved into my work, I realized just how little I knew about a language I had been speaking all my life. So many words carelessly thrown around, so many ideas taken for granted, structural technicalities accepted, because spoken word is bogus. The only point of speaking is to achieve understanding with the person you are speaking to, and as long as they nod their head, youre gold.

    Ideas come out easier as your understanding for the language solidifies. You have a better understanding of sentence structure and your knowledge of the meaning of words broadens. You do not spend the time you used to writing a paragraph, trying to figure out which word should be used here and there and why not this one but that, because your ability to communicate has strengthened and you eventually start writing what you think, meaning what you mean. But, on the otherhand, it becomes harder, because now you have opened the door for more things. When you clear space, all you are doing is making room for something else that you did not really have the time for previously. Now that the clutter has been removed, it opens up an entire spectrum of bigger and better things to apply into your writing, and whole new paths to explore and learn.
     
  19. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    The way I think writing doesn't get harder, what we choose to write gets harder.

    My son had a piano recital this week; the piece of music he played was much more difficult than one that he played at a recital a few years ago. With practice his skill has improved and he has moved on to more challenging music. Was it more difficult to work up his most recent song than the song he played for the first recital he had when he was 6? Probably not, both took work but this time the expectations were much higher.

    I think what you're doing is like comparing the fun my son had making up songs on the piano before he ever started lessons with the effort he puts in daily now to practice and get better. Improvement takes practice. At some point you stopped being satisfied making up songs/stories for fun and decided to work at getting better. Yes, that automatically means it's going to be more work. Improvement takes work.
     
  20. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    For me, writing gets harder in the sense that I continually push myself to write better and better fiction, and the more I write the better understanding I have of what that is and the higher my standards are. Like other people have said. It's all in what you know and what you don't. When you're four, writing is easy, because you don't have a very high standard. You can't recognize the good and bad qualities of what you read and what you write. As the years pass you learn more, and you can write better things, but it's hard to write better things. As we all know.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for me, it just got easier, more natural... close to 'automatic' actually... the more i wrote, the less editing i had to do, getting it closer to 'right' as it 'flowed out'... at one point, essays started pouring out 3 or 4 in one sitting, already in polished form, needing virtually no editing at all... which was quite a shock, as i've been a nit-picky, virgo's virgo editor ever since i edited my hs newspaper...
     
  22. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    I think there are three stages:

    1. You think it's easy because you have no clue what you're doing.

    2. You gain the understanding necessary to judge quality, but your actual ability lags behind, so it seems hard.

    3. Your ability catches up to your perception and it becomes easy again.

    Then it repeats.

    This is true of writing, music, even martial arts.
     
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  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I also feel if an activity becomes too easy, whether it be writing, computer programming, or basket weaving, you are stagnating. That's the time to challenge yourself and enter a new learning phase.

    But perhaps that's just a reflection of my own personality.
     
  24. Tesoro
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    This! I totally agree. As long as we keep growing as writers there will always be things to learn and new techniques to discover.
     
  25. Kay Lesgo
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    Try to think of it in 2 pieces. When you write, just write and turn off the inner critic. This has helped me tremendously. I literally tell my right-brain (the perfectionist nag...you know what I mean) to shut up and wait it's turn. You can also try writing long-hand, with pen and paper as that is a left-brain, creative brain dominated activity and gets things moving.
     

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