I was going to do an April Fool's Day entry and say I was quitting writing forever, but I didn't think anyone would believe it.
The truth is, things have been going really well for me in the writing world. I have two plots as close to done as they can get, and I'm more than a little happy to say that, considering how many things I've tried to plot that just haven't worked out. The third plot is something I once thought might be too damn strange to actually write. To my utter surprise, sitting down and just writing what I saw happening without worrying about whether or not it made sense worked, and when I went back to the finished plot a few days later, I found that it made as much sense as it needed to.
What? It's a story based in dream logic. That's what I was aiming for.
To say the absolute least, I'm glad to be able to say all this. I don't think there's a writer out there who doesn't know the struggle and self-doubt that comes with the job. It's far, far too easy to look at everything you've done, summarize it all with "I suck at this", select everything and hit the delete button.
Good stories seem like magic and wonder when we're reading, so we tend to forget how much work goes into making them. Most people don't talk about that when you first start writing, do they? I wish someone had told me. If someone had said, when I hammered out my first book after working on it for three years back in college, that nothing would ever come of that story and it would take many more years until I actually had something that was worth publishing...
Okay, I wouldn't have believed them. I was twenty-one and still young enough to think I knew everything and was destined for awesomeness. But at least I'd be able to look back, see that person was right, and adjust my dreams accordingly.
I've been writing regularly since I was thirteen. I have a baker's dozen of trunked novels. And now, four months away from turning thirty-six, I feel like I'm finally getting good at this writing thing. It seems like a long time. I've always thought I was good, and often been told I was good. But maybe I needed all that time to actually get good.
This is why I say, don't stop. Don't delete everything. Hell, don't delete anything, even if it means shoving all your old stories into a folder labeled "THE HORROR, THE HORROR" and never looking at them again. Because that's another thing most people don't tell you: writing is, in fact, like any other skill. There's magic in what we do, yes, but there's blood and sweat and hard work in it too. And like any other skill, the only way to get better at it is to keep doing it.
So no matter where you are, no matter how you feel about what you're doing, keep going. Keep practicing. Keep writing.
You'll get better.