By Orders of Magnitude

white notebook and pen

Recently I’ve been digging through my writing archives to prepare a list of my best essays and articles to include in my upcoming essay collection. But when I read pieces that I wrote just three years ago, and edited extensively more recently than that, I find myself stunned at just how much my writing has evolved in just a few dozen months.

Reflecting on how the content of my website, The Phoenix Desertsong, has grown and evolved reveals a remarkable transformation of expression. So, I decided to examine the key aspects of my development as a writer over the past three dozen months (as of November 2023), and figure out just when things began to click for me.

Not to toot my own horn, but for quite some time, my writing has brimmed with innovative ideas. Often, I grapple with ways to overcome fundamental challenges in my life at the time. But the primary issues in conveying my ideas were twofold: structure and voice. While conceptually strong, my earlier works were often hampered by a lack of clear organization. Though compelling to me, my ideas were presented in a haphazard manner, making it difficult for readers to effectively follow and engage with my arguments. My constant struggle for clarity and authenticity has become an omnipresent bugaboo I haven’t quite been able to overcome.

Additionally, I continue to struggle with being consistent with my writing voice. In an effort to appeal to a broader, perhaps less informed, audience, my writing style began to lean towards oversimplification, especially during the pandemic years. While well-intentioned, this approach often diluted the essence of my messaging. 

In trying to be accessible, my language sometimes slipped into awkward phrasing. I began to worry more about how people would search for different topics on search engines than preserving the unique perspective and insight I was attempting to offer up. Ever since I started writing online in 2006, there has always been this conflict between my desire to be understood by a general audience and the need to maintain the integrity of my ideas and personal style.

Some time between 2021 and 2022, there was a major turning point in my writing direction. I decided to stop trying to write at a more general level and simply write to my strengths. The shift was gradual, but deliberate. I began to appreciate that complexity didn’t necessarily equate to inaccessibility. This realization was pivotal, leading to a more nuanced approach to writing. I no longer shied away from the intricacies of my thoughts. 

The turning point came when I decided to embrace my unique voice. My entire purpose in writing was to provide my knowledge and experience, but also relate actionable advice. I struggled with doing the latter half because I wasn’t focused on my end goal. I’d just ramble on, then move onto some other topic that was hot for me at that moment. I’d end up with plenty of pieces to publish, but a lot of them promised much and delivered little. 

Eventually, I realized that my perspective and style weren’t just add-ons, but integral to my writing. Accepting that I needed to just be true to my level of intelligence and the complexity of my ideation marked a significant shift in how I approached my work. I finally began to write in a manner true to myself. No longer would I mold my words to fit some perceived audience expectation.

Finally, I came to focus on a mastery of craft, paying special attention to structure, style, and voice. Just by writing almost every single day, I’ve noticed a noticeable improvement in the structure of my writing. My works have continued to exhibit a more coherent flow, with ideas logically and effectively interwoven with my narratives, and concluding with actionable concepts. This clarity in structure has enhanced the impact of my ideas. I find that my writing isn’t just more comprehensible, but also more compelling as its own storytelling vehicle.

In terms of style, I’ve witnessed a remarkable evolution. My writing has become more confident by orders of magnitude. This confidence allows me to explore more complex themes and ideas without losing my focus. My written language is no longer awkward, becoming significantly more fluid, dynamic, and engaging with each piece that I write.

Most importantly, my voice has become a prominent feature of my writing. It’s distinct, clear, and resonant, as much as it is often sarcastic, wry, and paradigm busting. My writing now reflects who I am, not just as a writer, but also as an independent thinker and individual. This authenticity has not only enriched my work, but has also given it a better shot of being more relatable and impactful for others.

Ever since I wrote my first proper story when I was seven years old, I’ve slowly but surely moved from a phase of struggling with structure and voice to this much more recent period of embracing complexity and authenticity. Today, my writing is much more structurally sound and stylistically mature, while also being uniquely mine. This lifelong writing journey of mine underscores the fact that writing isn’t just about conveying ideas, but also about finding and refining your own voice. 

Growth as a writer only comes when you truly come to appreciate the power of introspection, perseverance, and a continuous pursuit of self-improvement. As you watch your own writing improve just one percent every day, remember that after just three years of consistent, diligent refinement, you’re almost 1,100 percent better than you were just thirty six months ago. 

Whatever it is you’re best at, this approach works for anything. Do what you do as best as you can, and you can only get better. Continual growth leads to improvements that may not be noticed day to day, but after some time has passed, you’ll see that your skills have increased by orders of magnitude. It’s not magic; it’s the beauty of mastery.

~ Amelia Desertsong, November 2023

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
Back To Top