Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Looking back

I loaded a post on Historical Fiction excerpts this morning and it made me realise how much time I've been on this writing game. I began in a very tentative way back in the seventies, when a typewriter and a bottle of sno-pak were the tools of the writers trade. Progress was slow, because I was working full-time, and leading a good social life most of the time. The pile of pages grew so very slowly!

Now, a writer's life is comparatively easy, thanks to computers. It is very easy to produce a page of immaculate typing, perfectly formatted on the page/screen, run it through the spell-and-grammar checker and be assured that it as correct as it is ever going to be. Even better, the internet makes finding facts easy if you are prepared to accept the first you find without cross-checking for accuracy.

But no matter how impressive a perfectly formatted and typed page seems, it is the content that is so vitally important. "Rubbish writing" can look equally as good as the most literary writing! Like most other skills, writing a story has to be learned skill. I doubt there's one writer in a thousand successful writers who made it with their first attempt. I know I look back on my earliest attempts and itch to get the red pen out and delete the repetitions, remove the unnecessary sentences. Maybe one day I will, if only for my own satisfaction. But looking back has made me realise how far I have come, and gives me an inkling of how far I have still to go. I suppose writing is a skill that just goes on growing until brain fade occurs.

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