Writers are vain, no? That’s gotta be common knowledge or something. We’re all very sensitive when it comes to our writing, we immediately feel defensive when someone criticizes us, even if they do have a point, we cringe when we see our mistakes or read stories we wrote in the past… but at one point nearly five years ago, I was too vain and I did something terrible.
Something I still regret to this very day.
I got rid of my old stories.
Yes, you heard me right. One day I sat down to tidy up my files and notebooks, and in a rash and stupid moment, I threw out six notebooks filled with stories I wrote when I was still 12 – 14 years old. I was embarrassed by my writing; it felt too stupid and childish, and I wanted nothing to do with it. I thought that these stories were below me, and I couldn’t even look at them. I dumped them unceremoniously into the trash can and only looked back when it was too late.
They weren’t masterpieces by any means, and they weren’t that long either. But there were around 24 stories, and each one was nearly 20 pages long, and they were so sappy, so filled with clichés that would make you cringe and laugh… but they were my stories. Stories that I spent hours on end writing by hand, arguing about them with my mother whenever she took my notebooks away so I would study, sharing them eagerly with everyone who could read… and about 3 or 4 years later I went and chucked them.
My stories weren’t stupid (or maybe they were, but that’s beside the point), but I was foolish for throwing them out. In my opinion, the worst thing you could do as a writer is dispose of your old work. No matter how much it might make you cringe, it’s still makes a part of who you are as a writer.
I can remember some of them, like the girl who discovered she was a mermaid one day, and another who’d discovered she was from a different planet, and a story which resembled Thundercats to some extent, and one story about a girl who lost her family in a car accident and got amnesia…
Siiiiiiiigh. I would do anything to be able to read them right now. =[
Has anyone done this before? Do you save your old stories, throw them or hide them in the back of a cupboard where they will never see the light of the day? If you still have them, I encourage you to go and read them. Have a laugh at yourself, and give yourself a pat on the back for coming so far.