Your Old Articles Have More To Teach You Than You Could Ever Know

An antique camera
There’s a lesson in every story you’ve written.

Photo by Jonathan Talbert on Unsplash

Before sitting down to write this I went through some of my old articles. Which is something I never do. I don’t like reading my work after I hit publish. I belong to the crop of authors who write, send it out into the world, and then hope everything goes well. We move on fast.

I am not saying that we do not agonize over our writing. I am just saying that we try not to think about it too much. Before it would kill us and stop us from moving on.

While reading these articles I realized that I cringed much less than I thought I would have. Some of my articles from a year ago are raw and vulnerable. There were also some that sounded like the ramblings of a self-assured person without regard for her readers.

The weird thing is that I started out, looking for mistakes and all the things I did wrong. I wanted something to be horribly wrong with what I have written but I realize it could be better yes, but it is not all that bad.

Going back to our former words is important. Even for us that publish and run. Writing is a continuous journey. It is dependent on improvement. How do you know what you need to get better at if you’re not taking note of where you suck.

You might be tempted to take down work that embarrasses you. I took down one post I wrote about dating during the pandemic. That article wasn’t about my readers. It is just me trying to find myself. I knew I wanted to write about tech but I also knew I did not know enough about the technical side. So I started writing about the effect of tech on humans during the pandemic. I had a whole series planned.

I wrote only three of them and only one of them is still live. But that one represents something important to me, a point where I was trying to find myself.

But not all your past work will horrify youWhen you come across your first story that got featured in a big (or small) publication, it will warm your heart. Or when you find that one post that took weeks to research and write, you’ll appreciate your strength. You’ll be glad you pushed past those hurdles.

Writing not only exists to help us express ourselves but to also let us go back in time and reflect on our journies.

Most professional writers who started out as bloggers can relate to the time they talked about everything under the sun (I once wrote about cashew juice exploding in my face). They are then able to trace the lines to when things became more defined and clear.

It is also good for new writers too. To see that your heroes and the pros you look up to are human.

If you’re like me, a person who avoids her old blog posts and articles, you could benefit from taking a step back once in a while and reviewing what you’ve been doing. Ask yourself hard questions; what should I have done better? Cringe when you need to but never stop learning and appreciating how far you’ve come.

This article was originally published on Medium.

Stella Inabo

Poet. Budding story writer. Aspiring spoken word artiste.

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