Last week I finished the latest Jodi Piccoult novel, The Story Teller. What an amazing book on so many levels. There were several main characters who each had their story to tell, with each story relating to the other characters. The details must have been thoroughly researched, each character had their own voice when they spoke, the settings were clear, and I stayed up late many nights because I had to find out what happened next.
Having read several of her novels, this was by far my favorite. What made it so great is that her writing was incredible. Each of her books has been fantastic, but the level of her writing ability has improved with each book. I don't say this with the audacity to believe that I am yet at her level of expertise, but with an appreciation that, like her, the more I write, the better I will become.
Oh, and that is good to know!
My first young adult novel, Red Nectar, was the best that I could write when I wrote it. Now, a year and a half after starting that one, I am half way through with its sequel, Black Licorice. And my writing is much better! That is exciting and motivating for me! I don't have to look at better authors and think that I will never be that good, I can know that I am moving toward being that good. Yey!
Every profession, art, and talent must be like this. There is a local independent rock station in San Diego that plays 'The Bottom Top Forty' songs every morning. Because, as they say, every band had to start somewhere. My dad used to watch The Rolling Stones play for free in Golden Gate park in San Francisco decades ago. Yes, free. They aren't doing that any more.
So it is a lovely, motivating thought to keep in mind that in doing what you enjoy, you will also be getting better at it.
Disclaimer: there are exceptions. I've never learned to whistle no matter how hard I've tried and you don't ever want to hear me sing, and I practice karaoke loudly in my car every day. So this getting better thing doesn't always work.
Following authors on their career paths and observing their upward growth helps me to accept that I am also getting better. Someday, I may even write something half as good as Charlotte's Web.
Write better daily,