The Writer’s Journey

I remember the first thing I wrote. It was when I was about six years old. I wrote a poem about people slipping on banana peels and oil slicks. It was called “Slick Move” and it launched my writing career.

I’ve written all my life. With everything I was doing throughout my life, I was always a writer first. Throughout middle high and high school, I wrote short stories and poems. I tried writing a book, but it was a short story at best. My attention span couldn’t last long enough to write a complete three hundred page novel.

When I joined the Marine Corps right after high school, I wrote the entire time. I made general observations of different sights I saw. I kept snap shots of my life in the Marine Corps and they’re still lying around somewhere waiting to be put together in some kind of fashion.

By the time I was discharged, I thought I was a stellar writer and I put myself through college for a degree in English. The things I had to read broadened my experiences. But, writing really opened my eyes. I wrote my papers so fast and always was awarded good grades. I kept every paper. I look back on them now and I can easily see how amateur they are.

That’s the journey of a writer. College for me ended years ago. But, even things I’ve written since then seem amateur to me. I can look back on something I wrote only two years ago and just rip right through it, shred it from end to end to make it better.

Yes, I can see the value in each work. I can see a potential that some day, all of the little things I’ve written can be put together for a greater piece of work. But, I can also see a growing. It’s almost like taking quantum leaps. But, it’s not just in the quality of the work.

Years ago when I first started freelancing, I could write an article rather fast. It was just like writing an essay in college. If I had a topic, I had a paper. But, requirements are rather demanding. You can’t make a living off of just one article. You have to keep writing.

Some clients who had hired me wanted two or three articles a week. It was hard for me to manage, especially after several weeks. I was running out of topics. I felt like I was saying the same things over and over. I was hitting a brick wall and I was getting my work in at the last minute instead of ahead of time like I prefer to do.

I remember my first book. It made me sweat a little. I had the topic and the outline. All I had to do was follow the outline and fill in the gaps with viable information. But, it was a grueling project. It took a year for me to compile the research and write the book. That’s how much time I was given and that’s how much time I took.

But now, I can write a book in a week no problem. I can’t guarantee the quality of the book after just one week. But, I would have about two hundred to three hundred pages no problem. Put the book up for a few days and then go back to edit the work. It would turn out just fine.

I can write an article in an hour. When I really want to put some backbone and elbow grease into it, writing an article can take about three to four hours. But when I have all the information I need and I sit down to write, I don’t even need an hour to put it all together. I’ve been known to write an article in about twenty minutes before.

I know this comes off as one big brag session or resume, but it has a purpose. The more I wrote, the better I became. Writing is just like anything else. The more you do something, the easier it gets or at least the better you get at doing it.

The first house you’ll ever have to frame overwhelms you and makes you feel as if it’s impossible. You frame your first house and you think of all the work that is involved. It was tough. It was tricky at times. You’re not ready for your next one yet because you’re thinking of all the work that was involved.

But, two or three years passes and you’ve framed ten to fifteen houses. It’s easy now. You can do it without a problem. You’ve grown.

In writing, the only way to get better is to put your pen to the paper. Write and write. Never stop writing. You’ll see the changes. The amount of work a client gives you might seem overwhelming at first, but years later you can do it with your eyes closed. You might think you’ll never meet a deadline and years later you’re wondering why your clients are giving you so much time.

Your papers are getting red marks all over them. Years later, you are perfect. You can correct yourself. You can pick up on your own strengths and weaknesses. You have taken the writer’s journey. You’ll be just fine.