I sold my first short story in 2008. Since then I’ve placed approximately forty short stories with various Internet publishers, and six novels with small, traditional publishers. I thought writing would be easier by now. It’s not – it’s actually gotten harder.

Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t practice and experience make something easier? I was a little nervous and tentative when I first started driving at the age of fifteen. Now it’s easy. I was afraid I would slice off my toes when I first began mowing my yard as an adolescent. Now I think nothing of it. I used to be awkward around girls when I was in high school. Now…okay that last one is a bad example.

So, why has writing become harder for me? I have a theory. I think it’s a sign of professional growth. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m a better writer today than I was ten, five, or even two years ago. That’s not just a subjective opinion. My writing today is tighter, the dialogue is better, my voice is stronger, and the pace and plotting are smoother by most any objective standard. The work has more weight and depth than my writing in years past. That kind of improvement is hard, whether it involves writing a better novel, running a faster marathon time, or becoming a better man.

I’m fourteen thousand words into my current work in progress, Pieces of January. I’m happy with the work so far, but it hasn’t been easy. I think that’s a good thing.