Like most of the members of our Today’s Author community, I’ve been writing since I was very young. Stories, poems, plays, diary entries (all on paper, since I’m a relic from the days before computers and blogs existed)… whatever it was, I wrote a lot as a young boy and as a teen. And as you would expect, some of what I wrote was very good, some was very bad and some was very average. I kept it all, though, in folders and files. Over the years, I typed much of it into the computer so that I could stop lugging reams of paper around all the time, but I didn’t edit or modify as I did so, I just typed it in.
There are days when I pull up one of these old stories or the old file of poetry and read through them. Some of it is downright embarrassing to read — either because of the quality of the work or because of the memory of the teenaged emotions that fueled the work in the first place. But some of it is actually good, potentially-useable stuff. But I am often torn about what to do with this old stuff. At the time I wrote it, it was “done” and fine. But now, with the wisdom of my many, many years, there are times when I look at these old stories and think I can rewrite them now and they would be so much better than they were when I wrote them at 13 years old. Then, as I think about the rewrite, I overthink it and decide that there is no way I could actually end up with something better… it would just be different. I am strongly considering doing this with a couple of the stories I wrote in high school that were very popular among my friends… though I keep hesitating because I have this memory of how popular the stories were at the time and I don’t want to damage that memory either.
So, today I’m doing a little bit of a poll of our readership, to try to gauge your thoughts on this. Assuming you have kept the stories you wrote as a child or as a teen… do you ever go back and re-read it? What do you think of your efforts from back then? Have you considered taking one of your old works and rewriting it now from your more mature point of view?