I think that sometimes, as writers, we tend to get down on ourselves and our writing. We can always improve, we can always fix something and write faster and try harder. Our prose can be better. Our plots tighter. Our characters more likable. Our premises more interesting.
I'm wracked with doubt every time I sit down to write. Doubt and hope. Doubt and hope. It's an endless cycle.
The other day I pulled out my first novel and read some of it. It's still a first draft, and I still love the premise, and I still think about going back to it one day, but...man, it's messy. And kind of scary. And pretty...bad.
But the funny thing is that I used to think it was awesome. (Ha ha ha!) And even though it sounds like I'm bashing myself, I'm not. This realization made me insanely happy, because I realized that I've grown SO MUCH as a writer since that first novel. All that angsting over the keyboard with the new novel has not been in vain. My writing is stronger than it used to be. (And will get stronger still!)
Not only that, but my first novel took me almost two years to write. Just the first draft. I'd write a page or two and think that was impressive for one day. (And hey, at the time, it totally was for me. We do what we can, and I finished the draft that way.) But now? I usually set a goal of at least 1,000 words a day. I never thought I'd be able to do that.
Somehow, during all that writing, even while I was doubting and getting down on myself, I was growing. And I didn't even realize it.
So today, I'd like to encourage all of you who might be doubting your work or getting down on yourselves. Everything you write--EVERYTHING--is helping you grow as a writer. Even that crap scene that you just cut. Even that piece of dialogue that made you cringe. Even that cliche that your CP nailed you for. It's all worth it and helping in some way.
So tell me, lovely friends: in what ways have you grown since you first started writing? What are you most proud of? For me, it's my word count, and the flow of my writing. It's not as choppy as it used to be. It's not perfect by ANY MEANS, but it's better. Definitely better.