The great thing about re-reading your past works is that you come to know yourself. However, knowing yourself is not the same thing as being proud of yourself. Example: I just re-read a short story of mine that was published just over a year ago. Reaction: I am blushing. Blushing!
The short story in question (that will remain untitled to forgo and further embarrassment, you can die from that I hear), was something I slaved over. I believe I even took a low grade on a midterm assignment to get it polished for that “I’m a good writer” shine. Wrong. I must have been using the wrong polish, because all I succeeded to get was a dull gleam, and that is debatable. Honestly, I was convinced, by the power of Thoth, Egyptian god of writing, I had been blessed to write this piece of literature. The evidence of any sort of blessed authorship is absent here, in fact there are very clear signs that point to cursed and damned. My muse, I am convinced hates me. At the moment of my slavery over this I’m sure she was off with the other eight girls cavorting in some pool of mysterious delight. See? More evidence that this was not my best work, or even something close to acceptable writing. The truly sad thing is I received an A in the class because of this piece of drivel.
Thoth, Egyptian God of Writing
There’s a timeline involved in this. A year ago I loved what I wrote; today I’m appalled and disappointed. There is a reason. As a striving author I can’t believe some publisher/editor anywhere thought that had merit. This past week another short story of mine got published. On this one, I spent a handful of hours on the project and there was absolutely no slaving, more like skipping. I know this is not my best work, I came up with the idea the day I wrote it, which coincidentally is the day submissions were due. See the issue here? Well, that got published. I went back and re-read it, a day before the book came out, and I impressed myself.
It didn’t matter that I wrote that in seven hours and never re-read it. It mattered because somehow between last year’s piece of no nothing authorship and now I can recognize how much I’ve grown. This writing thing obviously has started to make sense. The tricks and tools that I struggle with and slaved over are now ingrained and automatic. It makes me feel as if my toiling in front of my computer night after night is not for the amusement of my muse, but is actually doing some good.