Looking Back

on Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    It really is quite horrible looking back at my old writing.  Really.  It's not always because of the grammatical errors or the word choice.  Usually I read some old stuff and think, "I really thought this would make a good book?  What on earth was I thinking?!"  I first realized I wanted to write when I was 12.  With the very first book I started to write I knew it was a weird concept, but I was writing simply to say that I had written something.  It wasn't long before I had my second idea for a story, this time a fantasy (my favorite genre).  I thought I was inspired.
 I thought for sure this book would make my name.  I hand wrote everything in a series of three very trashed and torn up notebooks.  I brought them with me everywhere and at school my best friend would read through my writing and praise it.  I was disciplined in my writing because at this point I had a lot of free time.  I finished about a chapter a day and I felt so alive.  Then came high school and with it an overload of homework, an abundance of growth, and a sudden scarcity in free time.  I became lazy and easily exhausted, so writing got pushed to the back of my life.  I attributed that mainly to being tired and having homework, but really it was from choosing other activities in my free time (at this point my family had finally decided to pay for TV so the new distraction became prominent because I was "tired" from school).  I chose to procrastinate and push off the thing I still claimed to do.  I wanted to be a writer but I refused to write.  
    Then I went to college.  Finally I thought I would get to write.  I was so excited.  I declared my major: English.  I actually got to choose classes that sounded remotely interesting to me.  I signed up for my first creative writing class.  It sounds lame, but I feel like that was a pivotal moment in my life.  I felt like that was a deciding moment.  I was really going to do it.  I was going to be a writer.  I loved my creative writing classes so much because there were so many people exactly like me.  I was finally getting genuine feedback on my writing, both critiques and complements.  During that time I went through all my old notebooks and reread my writing.  I'd like to say it was a bad idea, but it was actually a good learning experience in a weird way.  It was painful and torturous.  It was also hilarious in an embarrassing way.  I think the only thing I liked when I looked back was my clever titles.  I still think they're funny.  I wanted to share some of my old writing, but it is so terrible that I'm embarrassed.  When I have more time to go through and read stuff I'll find some excerpts to share and the things that I learned from looking back.  It really did help me to reshape my writing style which has already evolved so much as I matured.
    For any aspiring artists or writers, never forget to look back. It really helps you see how far you've come, even if you feel like you haven't gone anywhere.  As my favorite Disney movie says, "The past can hurt, but you can either run from it or learn from it."  The most important thing I learned from looking back was that if I want to be a writer I have to keep writing.  The same thing goes for whatever you hope to achieve in your life.  If you want to be something, you have to keep working at it.  



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