I began to write fiction in 2010. As a retired trial lawyer with three decades of experience, I knew how to write. Didn't I? Legal arguments, opening and closing statements for trial, correspondence, memorandums, briefs and on and on. How hard could it be to write good fiction?
Turns out, I had no idea how difficult writing fiction would be. I bought the books. I tried my hand at a few stories, concocted some scenes. Even wrote a poem or two. Stuff you can't throw away fast enough for fear someone might read it.
When I look back at that early writing--the stuff I forgot to delete--I am aghast at the poor quality. Embarrassing stuff, filled with adverbs and telling, point of view all over the place, misplaced modifiers and overwritten passages that did little else but call attention to itself.
After three years of study and effort, I am still deleting some but saving some. I have reached the conclusion that writing fiction is beyond mastery for anyone, the greats included. Which is why writing is such a wonderful thing. You can never become good enough at it to quit. You can never say, with honesty, that you have mastered the craft of writing, not wholly, literally, utterly. Can't be done. They say golf is hard to master. I've played golf. It's not even close.
The muses, after all, are quite fickle maidens. You just keep working, editing and rewriting, with the hope that eventually something will sing.