Improving As A Writer

This past week, I decided to read my second draft of The Water Weaver and after doing so, I almost wanted to cry. After two years and a rewrite from absolute scratch, it still wasn’t good enough. I wonder whether I will ever be able to love my writing, but I hope that it will one day be good enough for me to put to rest.

What happens between each draft is that my writing improves. It’s a good thing, even though it means an endless cycle of rewrites from page one.

So, how have I been improving as a writer?

Of course, through writing and through reading book/articles on craft. But while both are important, I think the most important one often gets overlooked. We need to read – a lot. And I don’t mean wattpad books or self published Amazon books. We need to be reading that top, fully edited and polished quality so that we can learn from them.

I remember reading “Wintersong” towards the end of my second draft of The Water Weaver and I loved the lush writing style. I know it made the world of a difference to my writing, and my readers pointed out the improvement in the last few chapters. Recently, I read “Uprooted” and I loved how the writing flowed. So, I started rewriting my story and tried to write it in the same way Uprooted was written, and I love the result. A few thousand words in, I grew comfortable enough with this new writing style to make it part of my fingerprint as an author.

I’ve heard other authors say this, but I wanted to talk about how reading analytically has helped me. It really works! Even on a subconscious level, reading widely helps but I think figuring out what you specifically loved is when the magic happens. And that’s how we learn. Like Stephen King said, if you don’t have time to read then you don’t have time to write either.

Honestly, I feel I haven’t read enough in 2017, so my new year’s resolution is going to read a book a week – in between my rewrites. Actually, full rewrites have also been a massive help in improving, because it’s made me figure out what I don’t like, and find a way to fix those problem areas.

Oh, and I also found a super interesting article over here that I really want to share:
https://thefriendlyeditor.com/2015/06/16/rowling-writing-harry-potter/
It’s about J.K. Rowling’s writing journey as she wrote the seven Harry Potter books. Of course it was through many rewrites and plenty of tears, and reading that article made me feel much more determined to rewrite this story until I’m finally happy (enough) with it. I hope that you also find inspiration and motivation through that article too 🙂

8 thoughts on “Improving As A Writer

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  1. Hi Holly,

    You are so right. When I took a vacation in Canada without reliable Internet, I read six novels in three weeks. It did me so much good to a) unplug a bit and b) see how published writers hone their craft.

    It is natural for writers to criticise their work. Assessing our skills helps us improve.

    I feel the same way you do about my first novel. Finally, I came to the realization that part of the learning process is accepting work you’ve done and moving on. See it as part of a growing portfolio of work that shows just what a steep learning curve writing is.

    You have won awards for your work, which shows that you did a fantastic job. When you write your next work, you can use that new writing style you have and play with it.

    I’ll take my new skills and write another book with the wisdom and knowledge I now have. That might be much less stressful than reworking a book for the fourth time.

    Of course, I respect whatever choice you make and would love to read it when it’s ready.

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  2. I agree with this post. Reading makes you so much better and practice also improves you. I don’t think that any point, we can be perfect but we can get to the point where we feel good about our work and can say that we gave it all we got. Its been a pleasant day and I wish you a happy new year in advance.

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  3. I totally agree! Reading books with good writing styles helps me grow as a writer. Along with that, learning how to analyze text in general gas tremendously helped.

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  4. Everything you said is true. Finding time to read real books improves your writing and your imagination to be honest. Just like how we need food and water to survive, we also need to read so our brains can be nourished and write so it can exercise. I really hope I’ll be able to read/write a lot in 2018 since I couldn’t do much in 2017. And I hope you’ll achieve what you set out to do, Holly! 😊

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  5. I have no doubt that all of your hard work will pay off. When (not if) you make it big just remember to stay true to yourself and do what makes you happy despite what others may say or think. I’ve read your writing and, like so many people, fallen in love with your stories and characters. Great things will happen to you and when you feel like giving up just know that this reader has been rooting for you the whole time.

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  6. I have no doubt in my mind that you’ll end up where you want to be. I’ve read your stories and, like so many others, fallen head over heels in love with your characters. With the amount of work you’re putting into your writing and the unfiltered passion you have for it only great things are bound to happen. Everything will present itself at the right time, but stay true to yourself and your writing. When you feel like giving up, just remember that this reader (and so so so many more) has been rooting for you the whole time. And honestly, write for yourself. Create your happiness for yourself.

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    1. Well looks like my first post went through after all. I hit refresh and thought it didn’t so I retyped it. If you could delete that one and keep this so it isn’t redundent I’d appreciate it. Or keep both if they make you feel happy while read them!

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  7. I’ve been through this myself and I’m still going through it. Even though I tried making my books like someone else’s I eventually figured out that I had a writing style of my own and while it wasn’t the best, I knew it was my style.
    And I’ll check that article out. 🙂

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