I once heard an acquaintance of mine remark that “writing is one of those skills, you either use or lose it”. In the past week I’ve found out that he’s right.
I’m currently in the process of working up a thousand word sample for a site I want to write for. It’s not going well. My first draft was filled with redundancies and terribly written. My next draft was tighter but boring as hell. I’m in the process of a third draft, that is a bit more entertaining, but it still doesn’t “pop” or “kick the reader right in the ballsack” as a friend of mine put it.
I started to wonder whether it had always been this way. I never remembered struggling so much with a piece before. Looking at the current draft, I think it’s a lot better, but I’ve never struggled with a piece so much. I started to wonder if my previous writings that had been so easy in comparison were as terrible as my first draft of my current piece. So, I hit Google and dug up some of my older stuff, and it was better... a lot better.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. At least it means I didn’t suck as much in the past, on the other hand it does mean that over time I’ve lost the ability to write cogent copy. I guess I just have to take my acquaintance’s advice “use it” more.
On a related not I found out that this piece I wrote for Gamasutra was a hit in Japan. There were no less than three separate Japanese translations of it. I also found the piece singled out as an example of Gamasutra being “remarquable”. That’s something at least.