How about you? Does it ever happen that an essay, an article, a story, a chapter, even a whole novel turns out to be pure, unadulterated garbage? No? Well, You’re lucky. Happens to me all the time.
What do you do when you find out you’re written something that is embarrassing? How does that even happen? We’re all fairly bright, rather well-read, in other words, not methane-breathers, right?
Realistically, we don’t put our work out there in the world if we think it’s bad, now do we? So how does it happen?
Sadly—and perhaps gladly as well—it happens because we grow. The work we published as teenagers, or later in life didn’t seem that bad at the time, did it?Of course not. We just outgrew it.
How about the things we wrote and, say, put up on a blog 6 or 7 months ago? How bad could that be? Sometimes we can judge, sometimes we can’t, but hindsight is golden, isn’t it? Those old blog posts might have been a little clunky, but the spirit was good, and (see above) we aren’t idiots. We just kind of outgrew what we wrote earlier.
In most cases when you write something and post it on the Internet, you’ve started it. “…like a snowball rollin’ down the side of a snow-covered hill. It’s growin’…”
Chances are it’s out of your control then, even if you can go back and change what is on your blog, others have looked, read, perhaps even copied. Once it gets out there, it’s hard to control.
A few days ago I wrote about John Fowles, and the struggle he had getting his first novel, “The Magus” to light of day. He wrote the book twice, and made a big hit with it both times. His problem? He didn’t think it was ready after all, even after it had critical success.
What’s the point? Well, perhaps it is time for us to make deals with ourselves. Perhaps it is time to say, “unless I stop growing, my writing will get stronger every time. I may always find faults with my older work, but seeing the difference between then and now only affirms that I am growing.”
I think it’s worth a shot.
Now, I wonder how stupid this is going to sound to me in six months?