I can't believe how much I've learned writing-wise in 3 years. (In other things, too, but let's stick with writing.)
Just recently I read over In the Shadows, my Civil War novella. Coming in at 10,838 words it's one of the shorter stories I've done. It's also one of the weakest. I know what happened, it fell into the category of the write until the end and be done with it.
Since then, I've learned 2 very valuable things: Plot out your stories to the finest scene. (If that isn't your way #2 is even more important). Know your characters.
The end of In the Shadows is much stronger than the beginning. Why? I know who Jack & Marion were by the end. In the beginning, not so much and it reflects my lack of knowledge.
I'll be spending the next 2 weeks adding to this story, both in content and character development. When it's finished, I know it'll read so much better!