Here’s one of the upsides of seeing one’s style change with maturity and experience: because some tough things in life got in the way and this year’s Write-a-thon didn’t work out as I’d planned, I thought that coming back to my current WIP (the one I’d intended to try to complete in the past six weeks) might be difficult. But I was pleasantly surprised that when I looked at it immediately after working on the earlier manuscript, it was clear that all that experience is showing; it was actually uplifting to see how much of the first draft material is quite strong already.
I could probably say I was raised to be a ‘lit snob’. As a small child I’d look at the books my parents were reading — by authors like Virginia Woolf and Loren Eiseley — and think that that’s what you aim for: that’s how real, classy adults write. Though I was used to almost everything I wrote receiving high praise from teachers and other adults, it was frustrating when I could see for myself that my own writing just wasn’t that sophisticated — and I really wanted to be sophisticated.
So it gives me a warm, solid feeling to have reached a level in my craft where the words that come to me naturally sound ‘grown-up’ — even by my admittedly high standards. There may always be times when getting a particular passage to capture exactly what I’m trying to convey is a challenge — that’s part of the fun of it, after all — but there’s no doubt in my mind that I have all the tools now. I know how to do what I’m trying to do, and as long as I put the time in, I can get it done.
Of course I’ll never stop pushing myself to write better and better. But even if my writing isn’t as brilliant (yet!) as the work of the authors I most admire, I doubt anyone would consider me delusional for comparing myself to them. If I’m not quite in the same league, I’ve definitely made it into the ballpark, and the work I’m producing appears to come from a writer who’s pretty skilled — perhaps even a bit sophisticated. 😉