A Writer's Objectives

I Wrote THAT?

Recently I discovered a stack of 3 1/2″ floppy disks. Completely old school when it comes to tech, I know.  I used to save all of my stories and poems on those wretched things. The stack I found had several disks with pictures on them, images I used as references for characters back then (I say back then, it was only sometime between 2003-2006). Some of the other disks actually had writing on them. My roommate borrowed a floppy drive from the college campus and I eventually transferred all the stuff on the disks to my portable hard-drive (which is where I keep all my writing these days).

The fun part of this was reading all of the writing that was on the disks. I like to think that, since high school (I graduated in 2005), I’ve improved vastly as a writer. And when reading the stories I found on those disks, that was definitely confirmed for me. Not only was it very clear how little practice and how little I had learned at that point in my writing career, it was also very obvious how young I was at the time I had been writing those stories. Now, in high school, I was told that my writing exceeded the skills I should ‘normally’ have at my age. It had been that way since I began writing stories and poems. And I suppose that is a fantastic compliment, but looking at that stuff now, after I’ve had college classes to help improve my writing and worked at it tirelessly until I sometimes don’t recognize my own writing as being mine, the material on those disks was just silly.

I finished reading the first attempt at a novel, and laughed. I thought “Dear Gods, I wrote that?” It was clear I was basing my style after the authors I was obsessed with at the time, but I was so young that things like sex, violence and love was watered-down koolaid next to my deep, rich wine of today. It’s a nice ‘blast-from-the-past’ but it also makes you so proud of how far you’ve come.

How often have you found some of your old writing, read through it, and had the same reaction I did? Share your experiences.

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Comments on: "I Wrote THAT?" (6)

  1. Oh yes, I have done that so many times. Most notably: When I was 14 and living in Houston I had to share a computer with my brother, and wasn’t able to get on it very much. After my grandfather passed away I took one of the old type-writers from his house and set it up on my little wicker desk and started pounding away. I typed up a Star Wars Fan Fiction and saved the pages in a big 3 Ring binder. I’m surprised my family didn’t kill me with all the tic-tic-ticking. Divorce and moving and all the excitement that comes along with a big upheaval in family life put the story on hold.

    One day a few years later I found the binder in my closet and started reading it… And it was the most horrendously written story I had ever read. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Mary-Sue” to describe a character. The main character couldn’t have been a bigger Mary-Sue had I tried. Everything in the story was cliche and over the top… I had thought about trying to rescue the story, but it would have been impossible to do so.

    I had planned to keep the binder, it was, after all, a story I had put so much time into. It was close to my heart, even though it was too embarrassing to show to people. Sadly, the humidity of the region caused mildew to grow on the pages and I had to throw it away.

    • That’s a fantastic story! It reminds me of the last time I read through the first half of my first Harry Potter fanfiction. You can tell I started it back in High School then finished it was in college haha.

  2. Guilty! I have a few poems that I will probably never be able to rescue from the over dramatic nature of high school.

    • Oh don’t get me started on poems, haha. Luckily, I have no idea where the binder that had over 300 poems I wrote in HS went to. I think I would have to hide it somewhere dark if I did still have it, haha.

  3. Proof positive that writers can always improve their craft. The stuff I wrote in high school, while “advanced” for a high school student, would never be publishable unless I pretty much rewrote it from scratch. The stuff I wrote 4-6 years ago, which is being published, needs a heck of a lot of revision because I’ve learned a huge amount about writing since then. I still have some of my high school efforts, and I can’t believe I thought they were good when I wrote them…

    • That’s what I was thinking when I was reading through my first attempt at Chronicle Sangra. I just stared at the screen trying to figure out how not only I had thought it to be good, but how my mentors (cough cough) and teachers thought it was so good. I suppose the fact that I was 16 when I wrote it and it was fairly advanced writing was the biggest reason, but still!

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