Earlier this week while going through some of my files, folders and the like, I came across a notebook I’d actually forgotten I had. In it however, was one of the earliest attempts I’d made at writing, from somewhere around age thirteen or fourteen.
Yes, it was bad. Even though I’d only gotten fifteen pages into actually writing the story it already had a massive plot hole and some questionable character motivations. (I’ll note here that this is of course, not touching on the grammatical
malfunctions inconsistencies that might or might not have been a result of my messy handwriting.) I cringed and promptly remembered that I had in fact, shoved it in among the rest of the boring documents I don’t go through very often to forget it existed.
Obviously that tactic had worked, so it’s now back in among the odd receipts from printing a few too many pages off at the copy center and the random worksheet I have on color theory.
The good news is however, it did highlight something: I have grown as a writer. It’s not often that fact is so starkly presented, but it is something that happens for every writer. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and go back to some of your favorite authors. Reread their early works and really look at it. Then come back to the newer pieces and see how much their style has changed and improved with time and practice.
If you’re feeling really brave, look back at your early writing too. Look at one of your early drafts compared to a newer one. Notice the differences and how much stronger it’s gotten as you’ve edited, written and rewritten. Every word you put on the page is helping you grow.