I am attacking the last bastion of UnTidied Stuff–I cleared out my storage to sort through at home, which was at this last point all mementos, old manuscripts, and journals.
This has been a trip. Oh, and a trip down memory lane as well.
One thing that stood out to me is that my writing used to be terrible.
It didn’t FEEL terrible. It felt easy, natural. I knew what I wanted on the page and assumed it was there. I wasn’t really sure what happened when I lost interest in a novel before finishing it, and it bothered me, but… I was ready to work on the next thing. (I finished the bulk of my novel projects, so the few unfinished ones really did get on my nerves.)
It is also good to be reminded that my spelling was not good even so late as my mid-teens. :humble pie:
The really constructive thing is definitely seeing that I’ve been learning. At times it’s easy to feel that you’ve been just going around in circles, relearning all the same things. Dialogue doesn’t feel as easy anymore because it wasn’t that great back when I was so confident of it.
I knew this about my childhood stuff.
But even as recently as 7, 5, 3 years ago (when I thought I was ready to be a pro) I wasn’t writing with the knowledge I have now. I have to believe right now that I’m doing well, but could do better.
That’s what kept me writing for the last 18, after all. (Not counting baby journals.)
I don’t regret any of them. But some I’m ready to let go of as keepsakes, because your first few novels are cute. Keeping them all may verge on a mania.