I've come to a realisation.
My writing has definitely improved! Yay!
How do I know? Well...
It all began about a month ago when I realised that I have a good number (about ten) short stories that have been published and/or won prizes over the course of the last... ahem... eighteen years that very few people would have ever read. This is because they were published in very small press magazines, or they won prizes but weren't published, or they won prizes and were published in little more than commemorative booklets.
So, I thought I'd gather them together and ebook them. Easy, I thought, they've already been published so I won't need to do much to them. And in some cases that's true - some of them don't need anything more than a little updating (I've got at least two stories where the characters are queuing to use a phone box!).
In others... oh dear...
You might remember me mentioning one particular story where I dreamt the opening lines, woke up, wrote the story without stopping, barely re-wrote and had it published within the year. I've spoken about it on this blog, I've mentioned it in my comments on other blogs...
Yep - that story is awful! Okay, not awful, but not very well done. The prose is clunky and repetitive, and there's a lot of telling and not showing; some of the sentences make no sense. And yet it was published - I earned the grand total of £12 for it!
The premise is brilliant - I still love the idea, and the characters, but it needs some serious red-pen intervention before I'll let anyone else read it. I've already gone through it once, cutting and adding, and moving and slashing - and now it's in a folder waiting for me to be strong enough to go through it again.
So, this month's insecurity is that as a writer I have never been as good as I'm going to be, and yet those stories I think are not so good will always exist. Someone, somewhere might have a copy of the magazine - as I do - because their story is also featured. Which means one day, they might find it and flick through it and find my story before their own, and possibly even read it... and I have no control over that.
My advice: always be as good as you can possibly be, and then maybe you won't have an oh dear moment of your own!
It's been a while since I included the list of IWSG participants, so here they are. If you want to know more, please follow this link to Alex J Cavanaugh's blog.