I had an interesting experience the other night....got myself all geared up about an old manuscript that I'd written five or so years ago, remembering how awesome the story was, how much praise I got (which was strangely a lot, and not just from friends and family), how much I missed the characters. So, I took a deep breath and forced open that big ol'trunk where the old manuscripts go to die, dusted it off and started reading...and editing.
I thought it was going to be a case of one quick read-through and then it would be fit for public consumption...hehehe...um, yeah, not so much.
It's funny what a handful of years, a couple of agents, a few published novellas and a lot of rewrites, edits and crits can do to your writing ability. The first few chapters flew by and my confidence was soaring, pumping that feeling of, "hell yes, this was the BEST idea ever!!!"
And then I got to chapter four.
That's when I realized that sometimes there's a reason why novels end up in the trunk, never to see the light of day. Somethings are just unfixable. Somethings are truly cringe-worthy. And I mean, CRINGE!
I actually felt embarrassed that I'd sent it out to publishers...like, BIG publishers. I couldn't understand how I'd even had a few near misses with it...or, gasp, how I got my first agent with it!
Maybe I'm looking at it too critically, and perhaps the story itself might be salvageable, but I gotta say, pulling out that trunked ms was one of the most profound experiences I've had in a while. I realized that although there are times that I feel like my writing career couldn't move any slower, in the time that I've spent honing my skills, I've actually accomplished something...growth.
So, by all means, pull that old ms out, dust it off, give it a read but don't let it get you down if it's so embarrassingly bad that you want to cry, cause really, the fact that you can recognize the flaws means that you've developed as a writer and that is a wonderful thing.